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Art and Design

Our research in art and design has a well-established record of outwardly-facing practice-led research, based on the principles of Thinking through MakingEach individual researcher is encouraged to develop and expand their own research methodology in ways that are sympathetic to their work and respects our belief that significance, rigour and originality can reside within the artefact as well as written word.

Our research embraces collaborative and cross-disciplinary practice, as demonstrated by staff sharing their ideas and research through workshops and seminars. We work in partnership with the Northern Bridge Consortium – an AHRC funded CDT, which supports PhD scholarships for research students across seven northern universities (University of Northumbria, Newcastle University, Teesside University, Durham University, Belfast University, Queen’s University and University of Sunderland). Staff undertake research work across two campuses and have access to excellent facilities and technical support.

Our research across Art and Design covers two main themes:

Art, Design and Society

Research in art and design which explores and contributes to, challenges, reflects and shapes our communities and the wider world. Included in this theme is work that could be described as extending the vocabularies of art and design; researchers who often explore the territory between different disciplines, sometimes in a collaborative and participatory way - for example artists and designers working with the sciences, film, dance, music, curation, health and wellbeing and performance, as well as examining issues around sustainability, climate emergency and site-specificity.

Materials, Materiality and Media

Research in art and design which encompasses the exploration of ideas specifically through the use of materials (painting, drawing, the photographic image etc) and making; and research in art and design which explores new/digital media and the networked image including the impact digital media has on the presentation and interpretation of culture in museum collections. This may include the interplay between digital and physical materials as well as experimentation with print and materials. For example, as a result of Covid-19, cultural audiences must now encounter the materiality of physical art, design and craft-based outputs through virtual, often networked experiences.

Art, Design and Society research sub themes

We conduct further research in the following areas: