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Another UoA

Section III: Panelsí Criteria and Working Methods

3.55 Art and Design, UoA 64

UoA Descriptor

3.55.1 The UoA includes the following: Painting, Public Art, Sculpture, Performance, Installation, Time-based Art, Printmaking, Photography, Screen Productions, Virtual Reality, Multimedia, Digital and Interactive Art and Design, Software Design for Digital Artefacts, Animation, Illustration, Graphic and Communication Design, Art and Design in the Landscape, Environmental and Interior Design, Theatre Design, Exhibition and Events Design, Fashion, Textiles, Jewellery and Metalwork, Ceramics, Glass, Automotive Design, Product and Furniture Design, Art and Design Management, Pedagogy in Art and Design, Cultural, Theoretical and Historical Studies, where this is principally contextual to contemporary practice and culture within art and design.

Treatment of Evidence

3.55.2 The Panel is conscious of the coherent, integrative nature of many specialist areas within art and design which comprise very few researchers. The Panel seeks to ensure that the cohesion and the institutional context of research in these areas is maintained. To assist the assessment of research within its relevant context, institutions are requested to use research groups consistently throughout RA1 and RA2.

3.55.3 In the absence of any request from the institution for cross-referral to another unit of assessment, those submissions wherein the content spans more than one unit of assessment will be referred to other relevant panels or specialist advisers. Final decisions will rest with the Panel for Art and Design and will be reached against the criteria identified by UoA 64.

3.55.4 The Panel is conscious of the huge diversity of specialist provision within art and design. Consequently, the Panel anticipates the need for specialist advice in a wide range of areas which are likely to include, for example, pedagogy in art and design or ecology related issues.

3.55.5 The Panel will be guided by Circular RAE 1/99 on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research and by the advice obtained from other relevant units of assessment. It is the Panel's view that interdisciplinarity is fundamental to Art and Design. The Panel's awareness of the interaction and interrelationship of multiple subjects and specialisms within the discipline will inform its assessment of interdisciplinary research. Institutions are requested to flag interdisciplinary research outputs within the RA2 other relevant details field.

3.55.6 All research outputs, including those falling within the RAE overlap period, will be treated equitably. Should a large proportion of the submission fall within this overlap period however, or if a number of individuals submit less than four research outputs, the institution may wish to identify any underlying circumstances within RA6.

3.55.7 A joint submission from two or more institutions will be assessed as one. In considering the quality of research therein, the Panel will take account of the research plans and environment of the institutions from the 1996 RAE, the rationale for the joint submission and its consistency with the strategy and research of each institution.

3.55.8 The Panel recognises the importance of professional practice to the research cultures of many departments and individual researchers. Practical output which demonstrably embodies original research in art and design will be treated equitably with other research outputs. It is the Panel's view that professional practice in art and design qualifies as research when it can be shown to be firmly located within a research context, to be subject to interrogation and critical review and to impact on or influence the work of peers, policy and practice, thereby meeting the definition of research as defined for the purposes of the RAE. Evidence cited in support of this should be clearly independent of the institution.

3.55.9 To assist the assessment process in instances where it is difficult to identify the precise nature of the research output, individuals are requested to provide within the RA2 other relevant details field, a succinct statement of not more than 300 words, which should clarify the content of the research output against the departmental or institutional context and of research conducted within that field. The following aspects might be addressed: focus of the research output; aims and objectives; methods and processes; dissemination and significance of the research output and any other relevant information such as specific awards, etc. It is anticipated that this facility will be utilised as and where appropriate and that 300 words will not necessarily be required.

3.55.10 The prime focus of assessment will be the quality of cited research output. The Panel will also take account of the following:

  1. Evidence of a research culture within the department
  2. Evidence of external recognition, impact and peer esteem
  3. Postgraduate research activity, including research degree cohorts
  4. Evidence of external research funding

3.55.11 All evidence will be considered on a uniform basis across all submissions. The Panel will base its assessment on the quality of research evidenced in the research output itself and not on the specific means of dissemination.

Research Output (RA2)

3.55.12 All Panel members will have had access to and will be studying in detail a range of research outputs throughout the period of assessment. All Panel members will review all submissions. In order to form a reliable judgement, the Panel will examine in detail as many individual research outputs as required. It is envisaged that, as a minimum requirement only, the Panel will collectively examine in detail 10% of the individual research outputs submitted.

3.55.13 Institutions should note that the Panel may request appropriate documentation in the form of exhibition catalogues, trade papers, letters of commission etc.

3.55.14 In its assessment, the Panel will consider criteria appropriate to each type of research output. In general, the Panel will give credit to those outputs which demonstrate quality, impact and longevity. In order to support its assessment of cited outputs, the Panel wishes additional details as listed below to be entered into the RA2 other relevant details field. See paragraph 3.55.9 for details of the textual statement to be provided where appropriate within the RA2 other relevant details field. No ranking or weighting should be inferred from the order in which the following types of research output are listed.

a. Art/artefacts, exhibited or otherwise presented within the public domain Title; collaborators; brief description including media; name of galleries/venues (up to three); locations; opening and closing dates; number of pieces exhibited; scale of the project and/or dimensions of the exhibits; co-exhibitors (total number and up to three names); where applicable, catalogue ISBN/ISSN/URL.
b. Design of exhibitions or events Title; collaborators; brief description including media; name of galleries/venues (up to three); locations; opening and closing dates; commissioning bodies; source of funding/sponsorship; scale of the project; where applicable, catalogue ISBN/ISSN/URL.
c. Editorships and curation1 Title; collaborators; brief description including media; name of publication and publisher/commissioning body/ galleries/venues (up to three); locations; opening and closing dates; scale of the project; catalogue ISBN/ISSN/URL.
d. Public commissions Title; collaborators; brief description including media; name of client/commissioning body; location; date commission completed/available to the public; process of commission (invitation, tender, competition etc).

Media presentations including performance, installations and catwalk presentations

Title; collaborators; brief description including media/ process/format; dates; names of galleries/venues (up to three); locations; documentation details, e.g. ISBN, ISSN, URL, Video, CD ROM.
f. Mass production Title or brief description including media/format; collaborators; scale of production; name of client/commissioning body; date to market; market and distribution.
g. Patents and registered designs Title or brief description; collaborators; date; patent/design registration number; location.
h. New processes and materials Title or brief description of principles, materials and processes involved; collaborators; date; format/means and location of dissemination.
i. New devices including software Title or brief description of principles; materials/media involved; collaborators; date; format/means and location of dissemination.
j. Reports Title; collaborators; brief description including media; name of client/commissioning body; location; date report completed; process of commission (invitation, tender, competitive bid, etc.).
k. Other non-textual research output Title or brief description including media; collaborators; date; format/means and location of dissemination.
l. Authored books As detailed in Guidance for Submissions.
m. Authored chapters in books As detailed in Guidance for Submissions.
n. Authored articles in journals As detailed in Guidance for Submissions.
o. Papers and posters presented As detailed in Guidance for Submissions.

3.55.15 In assessing the quality of cited research outputs, the Panel will assess the significance of each to the relevant discipline. In so doing, the Panel will refer to evidence of the following wherever appropriate: level of innovation; contribution to knowledge; appropriateness of publisher, sponsoring or commissioning body/client, venues, locations; appropriateness of means of dissemination; level and frequency of circulation or dissemination and accessibility to future generations; quality of associated media, documentation, catalogue or reviews; translations made; citations in press or year books; source of funding or sponsorship; scale of competition; prizes or awards received.

Research Students and Research Studentships (RA3)

3.55.16 The Panel is cognisant both of the strengths of postgraduate provision and of the transitional nature of research studentships within art and design. All such postgraduate activity, including research degree registrations and completions, will be considered as indicators of the vitality of the research culture within a department, but will not be the prime focus of the Panel's overall assessment. The Panel will seek to ensure that the research student body is consistent with the research strategy and infrastructure identified in RA5.

3.55.17 The Panel will acknowledge both research studentships substantively funded by the institution and those funded externally, where evidence of review process or competitive bid is demonstrated.

External Research Income (RA4)

3.55.18 While the total volume of external research income will not form the primary focus of overall assessment, the Panel is cognisant of the advent of the AHRB and the increasing range of other funding bodies. A portfolio of competitive external funding will be considered by the Panel to be indicative of a vigorous research culture within a department rather than necessarily a high level of income attached to any particular individual.

3.55.19 The Panel is also very conscious of the diversity of established funding modes and sponsorships pertaining to art and design, including government agencies, industry and commerce, teaching company schemes and so forth. Many of these are rigorously peer reviewed, but are operated directly through individuals rather than through the formal financial procedures of the institution. The Panel requests that this particular competitive funding or sponsorship be highlighted in RA6.


3.55.20 To assist the Panel in assessing the research activity of an institution and the intellectual territories developed through its research, the Panel invites institutions to address the following headings:

Research Structure and Environment

  1. In common with much of the humanities, the Panel recognises that the majority of researchers within art and design are engaged in individual, stand-alone research activities. Where there are research groups or research centres, these might be defined, e.g. their focus and primary activities, who belongs to them, how they operate and what their main achievements are.
  2. Other units of assessment to which related work has been submitted and details of any difficulties of fit between departmental structure and the unit of assessment framework.
  3. Policies, mechanisms and practices for promoting research and sustaining and developing an active and vital research culture, for example structure of research committee and forums for debate, seminars, visiting fellows etc.
  4. The nature and quality of the research infrastructure (physical, staff and cultural) and facilities, including provision for research students, level of technical support, research assistants and research fellows.
  5. The level of national/international collaboration and any arrangements that are in place for supporting interdisciplinary or collaborative research.
  6. Information on relationships with industry, commerce and the wider community and, where appropriate, on the account taken of Government policy initiatives and objectives.

Staffing Policy

  1. Arrangements for the development and support of the research work of staff, for example sabbaticals, mentoring, teaching remission.
  2. Arrangements which are in place for developing the research of younger and/or new researchers and for integrating them into a wider, supportive research culture.
  3. Where appropriate, explanation of the role, contribution and fit within the overall research plans of category A* staff who have joined the department.
  4. Where appropriate, comments on how the departure of staff in categories A*, B and D may have affected the strength, coherence and research culture of the department at the census date and any evidence of subsequent replacements.
  5. Where appropriate, description of the contribution of visiting or hourly paid staff to the research of the department.

Additional Observations

  1. Description of the level of postgraduate taught activity in the department and of the links between taught programmes and the development of research.
  2. Description of the level of activity across the department for securing external funding of research contracts.

Research Strategy

  1. Statement about the main objectives and activities over the next five years. The Panel's attention should be drawn to ongoing research work that will not necessarily produce immediate visible outcomes.
  2. Evaluation of the implementation of, or divergence from, research plans put forward in the 1996 RAE.

Self Assessment

3.55.21 A self-assessment of performance in relation to the issues detailed above, summarising the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in relation to the RAE 1996 research plans and strategy for 2001 onwards. An honest, self-critical and constructive analysis will help inform the Panel's judgement of the rigour and objectivity of the institution's research review and strategic planning mechanisms and therefore enable the Panel to assess the viability of current strategy.


3.55.22 The Panel invites institutions to address the following:

Evidence of Esteem

3.55.23 Indicators of peer esteem which relate to the staff submitted. For example, leadership at national/international level as demonstrated by publications, venues, clients, commissioning bodies, scholarships, residences, editorships; appointments to learned, professional and advisory bodies; collaboration and engagement with important organisations/institutes in the UK and abroad; a well-established network; evidence of innovation; level of national/ international citation and review; sponsorships and funding.

Individual Staff Circumstances

3.55.24 Note any individual staff circumstances which have significantly affected their contribution to the submission (e.g. periods of sick leave, career breaks, engagement on long term projects etc.).

Contributions by Non Research-active Staff

3.55.25 Institutions may also wish to discuss the relative contribution made to research by staff who have not been returned as research active.

Working Methods

3.55.26 The Panel members will read all submissions received. The factors identified above will inform and assist their qualitative assessment of the evidence presented in submissions.

3.55.27 All criteria will be applied uniformly across all submissions to ensure consistent and equitable treatment. The iterative process adopted by the Panel during all stages of assessment will ensure that every submission is allocated equitable discussion time during the first provisional round of assessment and on all subsequent occasions. This will ensure consistent application of judgement at all stages of the exercise.

3.55.28 During discussion, each member of the Panel will provide an holistic judgement of each submission and detailed advice on research outputs that match their individual subject expertise, setting this against a proforma. Specialist advice will be drawn on where appropriate.

3.55.29 Only when the whole of the submission has been considered will the Panel members' judgements be finalised and translated into a point on the rating scale.

3.55.30 The Panel will arrive at its overall decision on each submission by charting each member's rating of the submission against the criteria. Where differences from the average score are substantial, further discourse will be deployed until a consensus is reached. The Panel will employ the vote as a resolution process where necessary.

3.55.31 In positioning of submissions within the rating scale, the Panel will take account of all criteria identified above. For the award of the highest ratings of 5 or 5*, the Panel will expect to find evidence of the specified levels of international excellence within the research outputs, a significant level of research activity, a strong research culture and infrastructure for the support of research, a strong postgraduate research community, a substantive range or level of research income, international leadership, networking and peer esteem.

3.55.32 For the purposes of the RAE, international excellence refers to work which is comparable in quality to the best work conducted in that field at a global level, irrespective of its specific geographical location. In assessing whether the work is of international or national excellence, the Panel will use its professional judgement. For awards in recognition of international excellence, the Panel will take account of the extent to which the work advances the subject. The research must demonstrate a significant contribution to original thought and new knowledge in the field internationally. This is normally evidenced in the level of international dissemination, review and peer esteem. National excellence is defined as a quality of research which clearly demonstrates a substantial contribution to existing paradigms within the field.

3.55.33 Before awarding a 5 or 5* rating, the Panel will seek corroboration from a small group of non-UK based experts, who will be given the complete submissions of all prospective 5 and 5* ratings, together with a sample drawn from other submissions.

1curation is taken to imply substantive researh, explicitly bringing new knowledge or insights to the public domain.

Last updated 17 April 2000

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