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RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy

1. Introduction

1.1 APU first entered the RAE in 1996. The money gained by the Department of Art and Design has
been entirely used to develop the research infrastructure and support the work of staff.There has
been no University top-slice.This submission demonstates clear continuity in relation to previous
work,a steady growth in output,and evidence of planning for the future. Significant achievements
include:

· the establishment of a substantially enhanced research infrastructure;
· the provision of specialist facilities appropriate to research;
· the production of published/exhibited items of quality research;
· the appointment and development of new research active staff;
· a clear strategy for developng research for the future.

1.2 The Field of Graphic Arts in the Department of Art and Design at Anglia Polytechnic University is a specialist provider of four distinct degree pathways with a current enrolment of approximately 217 students. The four pathways are Illustration, Printmaking, Graphic Design and Photographic and Digital Media. The department offers a stimulating environment within which an active research culture is pursued and developed. The APU Field of Graphic Arts first entered the RAE in 1996 with an established research tradition. The research structure and environment within the Department has developed considerably since then and many positive developments can be observed over the past five years.

1.3 New appointments have considerably strengthened the work of the department. Wendy Coates-Smith [0.4] joined the staff team in 1996, and in 1999 a new member of staff, Heather McDonough [1.0] was appointed as Pathway Leader for Photographic and Digital Media with a view to enhancing research in this area. She brought with her a team of high profile research active part-time staff including Syed and Reich. A full-time research active member of staff became seriously ill in 1998, was unable to work for a full academic year and finally retired due to ill health in November 2000 [seeRA6]. He was replaced by Nick Devison[0.6], who joined the department in January 2001, as Pathway Leader in Printmaking and Jane Human[0.5] who joined as Lecturer in Illustration in February 2001. Both are young, research active lecturers. The Department has a core teaching group supplemented by a large number of regularly employed part-time staff and visiting speakers who make an invaluable contribution towards a vigorous and stimulating research atmosphere. There has been a marked increase in research active practitioners working within the department since 1996.

2. Research Structures

2.1 At University level, research is managed through the APU Graduate School whose Dean is responsible for overall policy. This development has significantly enhanced the effectiveness and standing of research work across the University. The Graduate School holds regular meetings between the various Directors of Research in the Schools and publishes a quarterly bulletin. There is also a University Research Development Fund (RDF), worth £50,000 per annum, that promotes and funds new staff new to research and collaborative projects.

2.2 The Department of Art and Design is located in the School of Arts and Letters which also houses the Departments of English, Communication Studies and Music. Research is managed in the School by Professor Rick Rylance who is Dean of School and Director of Research. He attends all Departmental Research Committee meetings.The Faculty Research Group holds regular interdisciplinary seminars which are open to all staff and post-graduate students.

2.3 It is, however, at Departmental level that the most significant developments have occurred in the research structure. A Departmental Research Committee (DRC) was established to promote and manage research activity. It meets regularly to consider policy and make decisions about the allocation of research money for the support of staff research, equipment investment, travel, conference attendance and general research expenses. The work of the DRC is monitored by direct report to the Department and Graduate School, and, at University level, through the Department`s Annual Report. The DRC has enhanced the research culture considerably by giving a clear policy direction, a developed organisation and administrative structure and clear and consistent support to be channelled to research activity. The Department also initiated an annual Research Discussion Day in June 1999.

3. Staffing Policy.

3.1 This submission includes eight full time and fractional appointments who are research active. The proportion of research active staff to non-research active staff within the department has thus increased considerably since 1996 and this process will continue. Research achievement and potential is a major criterion in making new appointments. New staff have been supported in identical ways to established researchers (see 2.3) and four have received support to date.

3.2 Staff Departures

Although there have been staff departures since 1996, the research profile of the Department is now stronger. New, research-active staff have been integrated successfully into a supportive and developing research culture.

Since 1996 the department has lost five members of staff. It is indicative of the strength of the Department that members of staff who have left for reasons other than retirement have moved into prestigious areas. Andrea Bassil left teaching to become a successful freelance children’s book author and illustrator. Peter Black left to take up a full-time post as Curator of Prints at the Hunterian Library at the University of Glasgow. Thomas Newbolt regularly exhibits his paintings and drawings at Browse and Darby in London and various prestigious European and North America galleries. Charlie Martinez is now a freelance video maker and photographer. Arvon Wellen was an active researcher in 1996 who took early retirement in November 2000 after a long illness.

3.3 Visiting and Hourly Paid Staff

The Department has a number of distinguished visiting or hourly-paid staff. While they are not submitted to this Exercise, their contribution to the research culture is significant and enables strong contacts with the wider world of art practice and research:

Anne Bjergehansen is a video artist; David Blamey lectures at the RCA; Rob Clifford is an advertisingphotographer; Sian Cook lectures in Graphic Design at Ravensbourne College of Art and, is co-founder of the Women`s Design Research Unit; David Driver is Head of Design and Assistant Editor of The Times; Rachel Fermi is a photographer of international standing whose work has been exhibited at the Trustman Art Gallery, Boston MA, the Paley Design Centre, Philadelphia, the Lincoln Centre, New York, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London; Mark George is a photographic agent; Jim Hamlyn is an artist, sculptor and photographer; Jonny Hannah is a recent BAFTA award-winner (see RA6); John Holder make regular visits to the Department; Diedre Kelly, curator of the Hardware Gallery, is a specialist in artists’ books; Roger Law (of Fluck and Law, and an aluminus of the Department) Rob Mason is a Senior Lecturer in Illustration at Norwich School of Art and Design; Rod Morris, documentary photographer, is widely published nationally and internationally; Stuart Smith is a designer and publisher with Phaidon books.

4. The research infrastructure and facilities

4.1 The University has invested significantly in the creation of a research infrastructure to achieve the aims set out in the 1996 RAE submission. Within the department, Dale Tomlinson has been employed as a [0.5] research assistant in typography. He provides support for research projects in this area which have included compiling an annotated classification and contextualisation of typographic material held by the department. He has been invaluable in providing general and technical support in the origination, sourcing and transfer of visual material. In addition he has expertise in sourcing specimen material, critical reference sources and information on points of specialised technical detail. He provides visual material for the journal ‘LINE’.

4.2 All researchers in the Department have access to specialist equipment for their work and appropriate studio space. In addition to desktop machines, the Department has its own computer suite established for visual work. Trained and experienced technicians service this as well as specialist facilities in Printmaking and Photography. The School has a continuing resource development programme. Of note is a new £60,000 colour development suite for Photography opened in 2000. Researchers have ready access not only to the APU library but also the Cambridge University Library and special collections. The city of Cambridge has a thriving artistic culture and community to which the Department contributes in the tradition of the long-established ‘Cambridge School of Art’.

4.3 The University presently proposes to build a new £10 million Centre for the Arts on the Cambridge campus that will incorporate new and enhanced facilities for the visual arts and gallery space. This will foster an environment in which research in art and design can flourish, and through which the strong connections between the Department and the local and national art communities can expand.

5. The level of national/international collaboration and arrangements in place for supporting interdisciplinary or collaborative research.

5.1 Over the past five years Department staff have been involved in a wide variety of international and collaborative research projects. This work has been supported by a combination of RAE monies, internal University funds and, in some cases, external funding. The DRC also reviews developments and the Graduate School offers specialised support for those applying for external funding.

5.2 Aarons was invited to lecture as guest speaker for the ‘Conversations’ Series of talks at the Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in New Jersey, USA in April 2000. He discussed his work on the Holocaust and considered the ethical question of making art out of the suffering of humanity. An exhibition of his Holocaust drawings and prints was hung in Newnham College, Cambridge University in 2000. He visited Israel in September 2000 at the invitation of Dr Chaim Hames, a medieval Christian historian at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev. They are now collaborating on a publication of images and text relating to the route taken from France to Jerusalem by the First Crusade army led by Robert of Normandy in 1098. This is part of his `Landscapes of War` series that has been ongoing for the last five years. He is also co-authoring a book of poetry and prose combined with his holocaust drawings and prints in collaboration with Dr.Jane Liddell-King (University of Cambridge, English Department) with a foreword by Daniel Libeskind.


· In 2000 Coates-Smith visited New York to discuss the work of various New York artists and illustrators and to research the work of Robert Weaver. The visit also included interviews with Steven Heller at the New York Times, Marshall Arisman at the School of Visual Arts, and the British artist and illustrator Sue Coe and her dealers at Galerie St Etienne.

· In April 2000 McDonough was selected by an eminent international panel of judges for inclusion in the exhibition `Places of Life – European Photographic Award`. The exhibition was held in Vaiano, in Italy. Costs were met from RAE funds and University RDF funding. This work was then developed and extended and, as an ongoing project, was exhibited in January 2001 at the University of Texas at Dallas as part of an international group show featuring twelve artists entitled `Daze`.

· Kennedy exhibits annually at the print exhibition, the Salon L’Amistat at Cadaques in Spain and also the Galeria Taller Fort, Espana, an international miniprint exhibition.

· In 1999 Jeal was awarded a sponsorship research budget from Barlo International Plastics, Belgium to continue his work with colour, light and movement. He has since worked on a series of installations on calligraphic images in sculpture, namely Callitactil and Escrito de Campo which were shown in Barcelona and London. He also made an installation series entitled ‘Famine, Shelter and Lonelines’ for the Trade Union Congress in London and gave papers on the subject at Trinity College, Dublin and Santa Rosa College, California. He taught sculpture as a Fulbright Scholar at Sonama State University California USA in 1995. He is a visiting lecturer on the Post Graduate Degree at the Royal College of Art.

· Smith, Syed and Reich regularly exhibit in Europe and the USA [see RA6].

6. Relationships with industry, commerce and the wider community. Awareness of Government policy, initiatives and objectives.

6.1 The Illustration pathway works closely with industry as a matter of course in delivering its programme. This involves seminars with practitioners, artists’ agents, publishers, etc. Other links have recently been developed. One is a joint application for Arts Council funding with the publisher Lutterworth Press for a grant to fund the setting up of a children’s educational magazine provisionally entitled ‘Eureka’. It will provide opportunities for the outcomes of research related to the visual and textual communication of information for younger readers. If successful, this project will involve a unique collaboration between the Department and the publisher. A second project is an arrangement between the Illustration pathway and Orchard Books (the children’s division of Franklin Watts Publishing). The publisher is sponsoring awards for excellence in children’s book illustration at both undergraduate and graduate levels. This initiative was instigated by the publisher as a result of their experience of working successfully with so many of the department’s author/illustrators. Relatedly, Salisbury gave a paper entitled `Art School and the Children`s Book Illustrator` to the `Art, Narrative and Childhood` Conference, Homerton College, Cambridge University in September 2000.

6.2 The Graphic Design pathway is working with the Cambridge Business Link (a DTI funded initiative promoting design in the region) and the consultancy Forum21, to develop awareness of commercial practice in the commissioning and implementing of design services. The work has been funded by the Design Council of Great Britain. Human is an established artist/designer whose work is used to promote many products in the form of food packaging (eg.Whittards of Chelsea, Marks and Spencer, Shipton Milland, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.) She also designs book jackets for imprints such as Heinemann Educational, the Everyman Poetry Series of J.M.Dent, and Random Century. She was commissioned to produce a painting [ 4.5m x 2.0m] for the Cunard QE2 flagship liner in1994. Human is involved in prestigious, commercially-related business and publishing research but also exhibits her own work as a painter/illustrator.

6.3 McDonough has been involved in various publicly-funded exhibitions including a show at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, and `Circular Breathing` at North Tyneside Metro Station, which formed part of the Newcastle ‘Visual Arts Festival 1996’. Over 125,000 visitors saw this piece of work. She also contributed to the `Places of Life` exhibition in Italy (see para. 5.2)

6.4 The Department is currently exploring the potential of a collaboration with Curwen Fine Art Press based in near-by Chilford. The collaboration will offer a number of research opportunities. Most immediately, Booth will produce a limited edition of eight colour lithographs with the Curwen Press in 2001.

6.5 Jeal has established a permanent community sculpture facility at Cambridge Parkside Community College.

6.6 Various members of staff were involved in the production of experimental graphic music scores performed by Sharp Edge, the new music ensemble of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Almeida International Music Festival of Contemporary Music in 2000. A video of the performance was screened at the Cambridge Arts Picture House as part of the Sonimation Project. The scores were also professionally performed at Kettle’s Yard Gallery, Cambridge.

7.1 Support for Staff Research

Staff research is supported through the mechanisms described in 2.3 above. Forms of support include remission from teaching, which is structured to support research, support for travel, facilities, equipment, conference attendance, exhibitions and published catalogues. For example, Salisbury will take teaching remission to visit Croatia to provide material for an exhibition at the Croation Embassy in London. The Ruskin Press (see 8.2 below) will produce an accompanying limited edition book. A research assistant has also been employed (see para. 4.1).

7.2 Support for new Researchers

There is a mentoring policy for new staff and their work is supported on the same basis as that of established staff. McDonough’s research into traditional and digital photography has been supported by teaching remission, grants towards travel and the purchase of new equipment by both the Department and the University RDF. (The University has also opened a new colour development suite – see para. 4.2.) Devison joined the Department very recently but his `Palimpsest` project is already being supported. This will take the form of an artist`s book in a limited edition of 50 and is a continuation of his printmaking research over a three year period. These are two examples of the sort of support extended to all new researchers.

8. Other Significant Developments

8.1. The Department supports a new specialist journal in Illustration entitled ‘LINE’ edited by Salisbury and Coates-Smith. The first issue was published in 2000; the second will appear in May 2001. The journal aims to become an international forum for research and reflection on Illustration that reflects and enhances the growing reputation of this aspect of the Department’s work. The next issue will include articles and interviews with Lane Smith (New York), Kveta Pacovska (Prague), John Lawrence (UK), Andre Francois (France) and Susan Einzig (UK).

8.2. The Department has recently established the Ruskin Press (the Cambridge School of Art, an ancestor body of the university, was founded in the 1860s by John Ruskin). The Department has awarded development funds to the project, including the purchase of necessary equipment to enhance existing facilities and the employment of the BAFTA Award-winner Jonny Hannah (see RA6) to begin the work. The Press will allow researchers, artists and illustrators to publish their own work to a high quality. Hannah describes it as ‘putting quality before profit, in the footsteps of John Ruskin.’ It will provide a significant outlet for the outcomes of research work in art and design.

Users of this website should note that the information is not intended to be a complete record of all research centres in the UK

Copyright 2002 - HEFCE, SHEFC, ELWa, DEL

Last updated 17 October 2003

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