School of Arts and Cultures

Our Research

Practice-led and theoretical research

in fine art, art history, curatorship & digital cultures

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Excellent, Significant and Impactful Research

We are proud of the international profiles of our staff - our projects have been acclaimed in Britain, across Europe, Asia and America. Our permanent staff have been joined by many artist-fellows, including Lipman Trust Resident Artists and Bartlett Fellows. This has brought leading artists from across the world to our department.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, 83% of our research was judged to be 3* and 4*. This placed us in the top 10 of all UK Fine Art departments for research.

Research in Fine Art at Newcastle includes practice-based and theoretical research in Fine Art, Art History, Curatorship and Digital Cultures. Researchers in the unit are based at the centre of the University campus, which provides excellent facilities and resources to support the full spectrum of our work, including Culture Lab - the university’s focal point for research in human-computer interaction and digitally-based creative practice.

Research areas

Our reputation is built on world-leading research, disseminated in the form of publications, exhibitions, installations and interventions. Our research strategy is fundamentally rooted in evolving Fine Art practice. Building on our distinguished history of studio-based activity, (the first British works of Pop Art were made in our studios by Richard Hamilton) today we respect equally the value, importance and distinctiveness of individual practices as well as collaborative and interdisciplinary work. Alongside work in painting, sculpture and printmaking we actively promote visual art generated at the nexus of established and new practices, technologies and methodologies as well as cross-disciplinary collaboration. To this end, both the Newcastle Institute for Creative Arts Practice (NICAP) promotes and supports creative arts practice across the University, and Connecting Principle is an art-centred international multi-disciplinary research forum aimed instigating a dialogue between art and other disciplines. 

Externally-funded Research Projects /Current Research Projects

Staff in Fine Art have been awarded AHRC funding for numerous projects, including 'Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience, which is an interdisciplinary research project that critically examines the role and practice of temporary visual art commissioning within heritage properties in Britain today. Mapping the current landscape and exploring the impact of this activity on its producers and audiences, it approaches this subject from multiple perspectives, bringing together the knowledge and experience of scholars, artists, heritage professionals, volunteers and visitors. This is a three-year research project (2017-19) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and is delivered in collaboration with UK heritage partners The National Trust and The Churches Conservation Trust.

Expanded Interiors is an interdisciplinary research project that draws site-specific contemporary fine art practice into a unique dialogue with ancient Roman wall paintings and architectural remains at the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Herculaneum and Pompeii. For the first time it brings together the practice-led research of visual artist, Catrin Huber, with the disciplinary perspectives and expertise of archaeologists, art historians, and digital technologists. The project is delivered in partnership with the Soprintendenza Pompei and the Herculaneum Conservation Project. With 2.5 million annual visitors to Pompeii alone, this collaboration offers an amazing opportunity to bring site-specific fine art practice and interdisciplinary archaeological research to a large and international public audience.

Fine Art at Newcastle’s research strategy also involves inviting researchers into the unit to work alongside us – artist-fellows and other researchers on short term projects, facilitating their research. To this end, we have a firm commitment to supporting research around the full range of traditional, contemporary and emerging studio-based art practices, along with the associated theoretical and historical discourses. This commitment matches our long-standing pluralistic philosophy around UG and PG teaching, where we have a well-established four-year UG Fine Art BA and two-year MFA programme.

We are partners in large RCUK-funded collaborative and multidisciplinary projects – and we are aligned with the University’s research institutes and initiatives, NISR and NICAP – the Newcastle Institutes for Social Renewal and for Creative Arts Practice, which now provides an ambitious new framework for research and doctoral training for creative practitioners across the university.

Research Students

Our research students complete this international profile. They're engaged in a wide range of exciting projects and exhibit their work internationally. We support our students in seeking external funding for their study. Many currently hold awards from the AHRC and ESRC.