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Fine Art Research

Our reputation is built on world-leading practice and research in Fine Art in the form of exhibitions, installations, interventions, books and other publications.

Fine Art Research at Newcastle

Fine Art at Newcastle University has a culture of world-leading research that stretches over seventy years and a record of ground-breaking innovations in art practice led by key figures in British art such as Richard Hamilton, Susan Hiller, and Jane and Louise Wilson.

Today, we are recognised as one of the ten most influential art departments in the UK.  Our research explores themes as diverse as the impact of wall painting in ancient Pompeii on contemporary art, to the way memes are transforming society. Our projects are truly global, ranging from video installations in the New York Met to collaborations with street artists in Kampala’s most deprived settlements.

Our community of scholarly and creative researchers includes artists, art historians, broadcasters, heritage and digital specialists. Our work harnesses technologies from VR to centuries-old intaglio printing presses. Our excellent studios, labs and workshops are equipped for the fusing of diverse media that characterises art today, including sound installation, performance, green screen, 3D printing working alongside architectural ceramics, painting and drawing. Fusing the historic with the contemporary is a core part of our ethos. 

We are committed to dialogue with academics and professionals in other disciplines to generate new discourses and discoveries. Our interdisciplinary work spans continents and our collaborators include experts in entrepreneurship in developing countries, NATO defence strategists, upcyclers in India, neuroscientists and electronic engineers.

Since 2014, we have won over £3m in grant capture for projects which expand the boundaries of contemporary art and creative practice. The vitality of our research environment stems from the diversity of our research projects and our community. We embrace artists working alone in their studio as well as those involved in long-term, multi-dimensional projects developed in partnership with colleagues from Britain, Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Most of all, our research is about engaging our broad community of stakeholders and users with vivid, exciting and demanding experiences that challenge and inspire them. We work to co-create research that profoundly changes the way we understand and value the place of fine art and creative practice in wider society

Our research strengths sit within six categories:

As well as taking our research out into the world, we actively support researchers to come and work with us in Newcastle. The Hatton Gallery and other exhibition spaces on our campus provide superb public spaces for academics to showcase their research. We regularly provide opportunities for artists-in-residence and visiting researchers, for example welcoming early career artists from India, visiting the UK for the first time, supported by the Charles Wallace Trust. Visiting Professors and exchange scholars have also joined us from North America and China, as well as from many European countries.

Whilst our artworks and publications make an impact globally, we are keenly aware of our civic responsibility to contribute to the local cultural economy. Our work within the North East is grounded in partnerships with all the major organisations working in the visual arts sector in the region, as well as studio collectives, artist-run galleries and other stakeholders vital to a thriving visual art ecology, including local schools, heritage organisations and community groups.

Our long-running Visiting Speaker Programme brings a dynamic range of international artists, curators, and writers to our campus every week. Our public events programme has included our flagship in-conversation series The Producers, a collaboration with Art Monthly. The current series of research seminars can be found here.

We regularly host major conferences, most recently Mapping Contemporary Art in Heritage.  In spring 2020, we were set to host the annual Association for Art History international conference, in collaboration with Northumbria University.  

Our research culture is enlivened and enriched by the presence of around 25 practice-based PhD research students who have established art practices of their own, along with innovative and interdisciplinary Art History PhD researchers. The PhD cohort, many of whom are funded through the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership, also include students working on CDA and CDP projects conducted with various external partner organisations.

We are also aligned with the University’s research institutes and initiatives, for example the Institute for Creative Arts Practice, which provides a framework and small-scale funding for developing and supporting cross-disciplinary practice-led research for all creative practitioners across the University. The new Centre for Heritage is a focus for heritage experts working across the University to which we are contributing our unique strengths in creative practice in heritage.