RAE2001 logo



RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy

The culture of research in the Faculty of Art & Design at Edinburgh College of Art has undergone a transformation since RAE 1996. Specific objectives set out five years ago have been achieved, and much Faculty research now operates at national and international levels. Our vision includes, but extends beyond, the academic context, in the belief that visual arts research should aspire to enrich culture in its widest sense. In this regard, our staff have been invited to work with many leading public and state institutions, amongst which we would cite The Tate Gallery, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, and The Gothenburg Museum of Art. Important networks have evolved through the organic growth of traditionally strong areas, such as Fine Art (Research Group A) and Design, Applied Arts and Lens-Based Media (Research Group B), and through new areas of endeavour characterised by Edinburgh Projects, the protoacademy and the Centre for Visual and Cultural Studies (Research Group C). Establishing key strands and frameworks has generated a spirit of staff ownership of research, expressed in the cross-fertilisation of ideas between intellectual territories and individual practitioners. We would cite:

a) the fusion of new technologies with traditional practices (evident throughout, but particularly in Research Group B, and most significantly in the large AHRB project run by Shillito);
b) new developments in curating and theory (particularly through international curatorial work, evidenced by Esche who is also Artistic Director of the Rooseum, Malmo);
c) interlinking art, architecture and landscape (undertaken predominantly in Research Group A);
d) cross-disciplinary research, especially between the visual arts and sciences (progressed through specific projects and an ambitious conference/visitors programme). Ventures have been instigated with academic and gallery partners from all parts of Europe, North America, Japan, and Australia.

Regarding other Units of Assessment, all areas of Faculty of Art & Design research are contained within UoA64.
EDINBURGH PROJECTS. This is a new initiative established in 1998, with the aim of enhancing the general research culture of the Faculty through the contribution of individuals and projects of national and international standing, with a special focus on inter-disciplinarity. The work of research fellows
(Connearn, Esche, Franks, Gooding, Hood, Mukaide, Nelson¸ Reeves, Shillito, Wright) is carefully integrated into Faculty research areas. Edinburgh Projects extends its work through the journal 292: Essays in Visual Culture (see below) and an international conference programme, which promotes dialogue between the Faculty and our national and international peers. The primary aim of all events is to ensure integration of research within the Faculty and the wider academic community. Staff are active contributors in all events, many of which were recorded for wider dissemination. The following interdisciplinary conferences are the most prominent among an extensive programme:

1) The First Typosophic Circuit (19 February 1998). This international first followed Documenta X (Kassel) where two of the participants, artists Richard Hamilton and Ecke Bonk (Austria), exhibited their major collaborative project on the typo-translation of Marcel Duchamp’s ‘White Box’; speakers were Hamilton, Bonk, Sarat Maharaj, and Rita Donagh. Organised by Griffith.

2) Artificial Intelligence, Creativity and Creative Applications (6-9 April 1999). This 3-day event brought together experts in visual arts, music, and artificial intelligence. Invited speakers included Margaret Boden; Ian Cross; Mark Turner (Maryland); Harold Cohen (San Diego). All ten sessions had published papers with ISBNs. Organised by Patrizio with the University of Edinburgh and the Association for Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour.

3) The End of Outsider Art? (23-26 November 2000). A major conference on outsider art and its future in aesthetic, social and commercial terms. Invited speakers included John M MacGregor (San Francisco); Roger Cardinal; Arnulf Rainer (Vienna); Phyllis Kind (New York); Anthony Storr. Organised by Patrizio in collaboration with the Scottish Art Extraordinary Trust, Queen Margaret College and the Visual Arts Research Institute, Edinburgh. Selected papers are being published by VARIE: ISBN: 0-9539863-2-2.

In addition, Edinburgh Projects has hosted lectures by numerous distinguished creative practitioners including filmmaker Peter Greenaway, installation artists Tomoko Takahashi and Cornelia Parker, and artist/writer Timothy Hyman.

The Protoacademy. Initiated in 1998, the protoacademy is a unique fine art research project in the UK, led by Esche. Its aim is to offer advanced independent study to artists, exploring new ways of working that are self-critical and based on the interdisciplinary skills of its participants. It includes independent artists and writers, Faculty staff, and post-graduate students. Summer sessions were held in Edinburgh (1998 & 1999) and Stuttgart (2000), with participation in Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Foundation at Biella, Italy in 1999. Twenty-five artists and writers including Tom Lawson, Bill Furlong/Audio Arts, Superflex, Otto Bercham, Iliana Nedkova, Gordana Novakovic, Jane Simpson and Mare Tralla visted from Bulgaria, Canada, England, Estonia, Germany, Serbia, Switzerland and USA. Protoacademy participants themselves originate from the UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The protoacademy has public presentations of ongoing work within the Faculty, including ‘basecamp’ in 1999. A critical reading group is led by Steiner. In 2000, a dedicated website was launched at www.protoacademy.org.

The initiatives from the Fine Art research group have provided a strong developmental base since the last RAE, expanding dynamic individual practice and new models of interdisciplinary exchange which focus creative and intellectual agendas at an international level of dialogue. Researchers: Adamson, Bevan, Brennan, Brettle, Brotherston, Carter, Clark, Connearn, Dagg, Docherty, Farquhar, Forbes Visser, Frew, Furneaux, Ganter, Griffith, Harvey, Hodge, Hood, Hosie, R Hunter, M Hunter, J Hunter, S Hunter, Johnston, Keir, Kondracki, Lawrence, Mach, Mathison, McNiven, Montgomery, Moore, Mowatt, Nelson, Ogawa, E Ogilvie, Onwin, Paolozzi, I Patterson, Read, Scott, Soroka, Stiven, Todd, Walker, Wright.

Principal strands include:
1) Japan. A series of Japanese projects have been completed, many involving art/architecture collaboration. Evidence of this includes the Contemporary Art and Architecture Academy at Akiyoshidai - a programme of international interdisciplinarity between teams and individual artists and architects. This is a laboratory for cross-cultural dialogue between East and West. Japanese residencies and collaborative projects at Akiyoshidai have been undertaken by Hood, Johnston (in collaboration with Ogawa, Visiting Professor of Architecture) and Baines and Hooftmann (landscape architects submitted in UoA33). Sculptors Brotherston, Harvey, Hunter, and Moore had one-person exhibitions, residencies, and public art commissions in the extensive Iwate Art Festival, under the umbrella of the Japan Festival UK ’99. Other research residencies, exchanges, and solo exhibitions have been completed by Furneaux, Johnston, Mathison, Mowatt, and Todd, with reputable city and national institutions in Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, such as the ArtEx programme with the Osaka Prefectural Government. Part-funded by The British Council, this prestigious exchange programme between Japan, France, Belgium, Germany has led to a strong representation by the Faculty in the Japan 2001 UK programme including projects at The Royal Museum of Scotland and Yamaguchi Centre of Contemporary Art.

2) Switzerland. Beginning in 1998, this exchange programme with the International Ateliers Austauschdienst Region Basel (IAAB) was inititated for major artist residencies, as a new model for visual and cultural discourse. The programme is juried and run in collaboration with the prestigious Christoph Merian Foundation, Basel. The Faculty has invested in extended residencies for Bevan, Todd, Johnston, Keir, Lawrence and Mowatt.

3) Poland. Building on established connections in Eastern Europe there is a programme of dialogue on contemporary art practice through the Galeria BN Awangarda, Wroclaw, Poland. The ‘Dialog’ series, organised by I Patterson and Docherty, includes elements of joint activity through exhibition and interaction of staff and students.

4) Germany. Artistic and academic connections have been established with the Krefeld/Viersen/Dusseldorf region of Germany, most recently evidenced in the exhibition of 12 fine art researchers at the Sudbahnhof, Krefeld. The project was co-curated by Scott with Peter Kastner and funded by Krefeld State and the Foundation for Art and Culture, Nordrhein-Westfalen.

5) Inter-disciplinary activity in art, architecture and landscape architecture. Johnston has completed stage one of a project of wall drawings working with Diener and Diener Architects, Basel. Onwin has completed the first phase of a major land-reclamation, environmental art project in Aberdeenshire. Art within the landscape is a primary concern of E Ogilvie in curating The British Art Show at Odapark Foundation, among the largest sculpture parks in the Netherlands. The project space ‘sleeper’ in Edinburgh is a joint initiative between the School of Drawing and Painting and the architects Reiach and Hall to develop commissions in art and architecture at an international level. A series of advanced research seminars by critic Joseph Masheck (University of New York) were held on ‘Asymmetry in Art and Architecture’.

6) Tapestry is unique within the UK in being a Fine Art area of research. Largely through a series of group exhibitions, the innovative approaches of Tapestry within the Faculty have been promoted widely abroad. Its standing was recognised nationally with Hodge invited to co-curate 'The Woven Image' (Barbican, London) in 1998.

7) Drawing. Building on Fine Art’s historical strength in drawing, two research fellows - Connearn and Hood – have been appointed. They respectively represent diverse practices of traditional and digital drawing, and both have prominent reputations in their field.

8) Visitors. Fine Art benefits from two regular visiting professors in sculpture - Paolozzi and Mach, as well as a series of distinguished international practitioners and researchers including:

James Turrell (USA)
Michael Landy
Rodney Glick (Australia)
Norbert Tadeusz (Braunschweig)
Mark Dion (USA)
Charles Carpenter (New York)
Martin Kemp
Gertrude Sandqvist (Malmö)
Carl Andre (USA)

This wide-ranging area demonstrates an exceptional level of individual creative research, with particular strengths in ceramics, glass, jewellery and photography. Researchers: Bevan Baker, Chapman, Cross, Dingwall, Dodds, Flavell, Franks, Grant, Hogg, MacGregor, McConachie, C Mitchell, L Mitchell, Mukaide, S Ogilvie, Z Patterson, Ramsenthaler, Reeves, Selwood, Shillito, Stewart, Williams.

Significant projects include:
1) Tacitus (2000-2004). This is among the largest single art & design project funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Board (£337k). Headed by Shillito, the project is collaborative with Edinburgh University Virtual Environment Centre, and whose aim is to evolve practitioner-centred 3-D haptic and multi-sensory computer applications for applied artists and designers. Two full-time research assistants are recruited to this project. Preparatory ground was established with the conference Reach-Up: Digital Developments in Three-Dimensional Applications (1999), organised by Shillito. Speakers included: Tim and David Poston; Jane Harris; Keith Brown; Bruce Davies.

2) Jewellery Moves (August 1998). A major exhibition co-curated by Hogg at the Royal Museum of Scotland showcasing the best national and international contemporary jewellery. An associated international conference with proceedings was organised by the Faculty. Alongside the exhibition and conference, the Faculty hosted two international masterclasses by Giovanni Corvaja (Padua) and Onno Boekhoudt (Netherlands).

3) Edinburgh Makers (August 2000). A large interdisciplinary exhibition of applied arts by Faculty members at The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto was curated by Franks with catalogue and associated lectures by Cross and Franks given to groups of applied artists. The Japanese connection with applied arts have been further strengthened through Mukaide’s collaborative glass installation at Mackintosh’s Hillhouse, working with Tokyo-based landscape architect Tokiko Furuuchi, for which she won a Creative Scotland award (£25k).

4) Exhibition Interpretation. Within the area of visual communication, there have been new developments in production and exhibition of artifacts and interpretative tools, led by MacGregor. Artifact production is followed by dissemination through conference papers and journal articles.

5) AHRB Research Fellow in the Creative Arts. The established artist/filmmaker Reeves was among the first in the AHRB scheme. He utilises high-end digital tools in the production of paintings and plasma-screen work. Through his appointment, other researchers in the field have been introduced to the creative processes and technology involved.

6) Visitors. Distinguished international practitioners lecturing or leading master-classes include:

Bente Hansen (Copenhagen) Diana Hobson (California) Yasuki Hiramatsu (Tokyo) William Klein (Paris) Esther Knobel (Israel) Tatsusuke Kuriki (Kyoto)
Jean Lagarrigue (Paris) Stephanie Moisdon Tremblay (Paris)

The Faculty has developed a unique strength in curatorial and theoretical work, through integration of new staff in Edinburgh Projects and the Centre for Visual and Cultural Studies. Many of these researchers have international profiles - directing exhibition programmes, curating exhibitions, publishing and contributing to conferences worldwide. Researchers: Anderson, Davis, Deliss, Esche, Gooding, Hare, Macdonald, Mulholland, Patrizio, Rampley, Steiner. In addition, the international dimension of research has been expanded by the invitation to two Virtual Fellows to work on single projects. Orta (multi-media & performance artist) is extending her Connector sequence of installations with the Faculty, and White (poet/Sorbonne) is producing a limited-edition artists’ book with Faculty members.

Conferences, publications, staffing and exhibitions specific to curatorial and theoretical work:

1) International conferences on contemporary art and curatorial practice

Association of Art Historians Annual Conference (6-9 April 2000)
The conference theme was ‘Body and Soul,’ with keynote speakers Thomas Crow (Director of Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles) and Susan Hiller. This national event, spanning historical and contemporary visual culture, was organised in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh.

Destinies / Destinations (11 May 2000)
A major international conference whose theme was how artists can control their own destinies as professionals. Chair: Ute Meta Bauer (Vienna/Stuttgart). Artist-speakers: Renée Green (New York/Vienna); Liam Gillick; Dan Peterman (Chicago). This was followed by the annual congress of IKT (International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art; with speakers Kathinka Dittrich (Germany) and Bart de Baere (Ghent) co-hosted by the Fruitmarket Gallery and Dundee Contemporary Arts. Organised by Patrizio in collaboration with the British Art Show 5 and IKT.

Post-Medium: Outside Sculpture / Inside Sculpture (17 November 2000)
A collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University as part of the Vivre Sa Vie series of French art projects, this event focused on the critical context of installation art evidenced through recent work from France. Speakers: Thomas Hirshhorn (Paris); Penelope Curtis, Nicholas Bourriaud (Paris); Adrian Searle. The event was further expanded through a Faculty project by Matthieu Laurette on consumerism and art, the results of which were published at: www.moneybackshopping.net.

2) 292: Essays in Visual Culture. In 2000 the Faculty launched an annual journal in order to promote visual culture within a wider political and economic context and to engender wider collaboration. Issue 3 is in preparation. This is an ambitious initiative whose editorial policy is to support extended essays and commissioned artworks. Commissioning Editors are drawn from Glasgow School of Art, University of Glasgow, Open University, Napier University, and non-HEIs. Contributors include Ian Hamilton Finlay, Paul Willemen, Rasheed Araeen, Duncan Petrie, Iara Boubnova, Charles Harrison, Louise Hopkins and Matthieu Laurette. Edited by Patrizio, the first two issues explored the themes Art and Power (ISBN 0-9536025-1-6) and Imprecision (ISBN 0-9536025-2-4).

3) The Centre for Visual and Cultural Studies. This restructured department was established in 2000, consistent with a shift of focus to the critical analysis of visual culture and its modes of theorisation. Led by Rampley, research includes aesthetic and cultural theory, design and material culture, popular culture and representation, and contemporary art criticism. A number of new staff - Anderson, Davies, Macdonald, Mulholland - are emerging researchers with identified potential. The Centre has established a dynamic research seminar programme, linked with Edinburgh University, with contributors including Pavel Buchler, Nicholas Oddy, Donald Preziosi (University of California, Los Angeles) and Richard Williams.

4) Faculty-Curated Exhibitions. The Faculty’s exhibition policy has a strong research element, encouraging numerous links with national and international organisations. Utilising its large exhibition galleries, the Faculty has hosted major research-focused exhibitions including Stanislaw Kolibal: A View from Prague (1998, curated by Gooding), The Nature of Sweetness: Six Artists from Basel (1999, curated by the Exhibitions Office, which built on links with IAAB, Basel), From the Wild Unconscious (works from the Art Extraordinary Trust, Scotland, co-inciding with The End of Outsider Art? conference) and Giuseppe Penone from Italy (curated by Patrizio, co-inciding with the Destinies/Destinations conference and the British Art Show 5).

Faculty policy is to provide a supportive and inclusive environment for the development of visual research and the critical analysis of visual culture. It is considered axiomatic that the advancement of individual and institutional research enriches the teaching environment both directly and indirectly.

The Faculty has a robust structure to support research activity that is based on the principles of ownership of research policy and of peer review. The management and co-ordination of research has been strengthened by the appointment of a Director of Research, who convenes the Faculty Research Committee, which in turn is informed by School subcommittees. Core R-grant funds cover Edinburgh Projects, staff research work, teaching replacement, research office costs, and institutional overheads. Staff bids for support are evaluated by the Committee against agreed criteria relating to peer review and confirmed projects. Committee members take a lead role in formulating policy and procedures, as well as disseminating information on specific policy decisions and research opportunities.

Graduate Research School

In order to expand its postgraduate and research degrees and to enhance the research base across the institution, a Graduate Research School has been established. A detailed strategy has been adopted, with clear protocols for recruitment, research methods, training, monitoring, quality assurance and support. In addition to conventional Ph.D. and M.Phil. programmes, the Faculty has awarded the degree of Ph.D. by creative practice and is aiming to refine further the paradigm of practice-based research as part of its substantial expansion of activity in this area.

The Faculty is a prominent and vital part of the visual arts in Edinburgh and Scotland. Individuals contribute to city and national arts policy through collaboration and committee memberships (cited in RA6). Similarly a number of its conferences and seminars have actively involved collaboration with partner organisations, such as the National Galleries and Museums of Scotland, the Fruitmarket Gallery, and the National Society for Education in Art & Design.

At Faculty level, central office facilities are provided in addition to a large dedicated suite of sixteen studios and offices that houses the tacitus project, the protoacademy, other research fellows, and the Basel and Art-Ex Artist Exchange Programmes. Research funds have been used to purchase computing and other equipment needed for specific staff projects not already facilitated by existing College provision. Workshop and technical support services are available to staff across all areas in the Faculty.

The College is a partner in VARIE (Visual Arts Research Institute, Edinburgh), which includes the National Galleries and Museums of Scotland and the Art History departments of the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews. Its objective is to stimulate the interplay between different research methods in art history and visual culture, promoting synergy between academics, artists and curators across Scotland. Recent outcomes have included The Association of Art Historians Annual Conference (2000) and The End of Outsider Art? conference. Future plans will link with international bodies such as the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles) and the International Association of Art History Research Institutes (Paris).

A recent SHEFC grant of £84k under the Commercialisation of Professionalisation Scheme is being used to set up an infrastructure whereby pilot projects by staff and research students are developed, as part of a wider strategy of exporting creative practice into the commercial domain. There are longer-term plans to establish a Design Research Unit that would accommodate applied, contract and commissioned research as well as other Faculty research that fits more readily within RAE parameters. The College has also taken a leading role in Creative Edinburgh, a new forum for the city that is part of Scottish and UK wide initiatives to develop the creative industries.

IDEAS, a joint programme with five other Scottish institutions, explored and promoted research links with industry. A related conference was held in 1997 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Associated publications: ISBN 1-899837 and 1-899837-272. An ongoing collaboration with Edinburgh Crystal has grown from the IDEAS programme, funding postgraduate students resident with the sponsor, creating new products and processes.

Much research by staff and MFA/M.Des students maps onto government ambitions to maximise the commercial potential of the creative industries through adoption and application of new technologies such as digital imaging or interactive CD-ROM and web-based publishing. This has included a substantial CD-ROM catalogue by MacGregor, produced in conjunction with the National Galleries of Scotland to accompany a major exhibition O Caledonia.

The College has also capitalised on the possibility of sponsorship arrangements with commercial bodies. Adobe Systems Europe made a significant donation of software and collaborated with the College in the running of two major European design competitions. Red Kite, an award-winning animation production company, collaborates closely with the Animation Department with one of its partners teaching and researching in the College, while Polaroid sponsors a prestigious annual lecture on photography in association with the National Portrait Gallery.

Staffing policy recognises the importance of sustaining the quality of research through a mix of new and experienced researchers. The Faculty actively targets research funds towards new researchers, to promote growth in the next generation of research-active staff. RA2 includes the strongest of these (Adamson, Dagg, Dingwall, Frew, Grant, Read) from whom increased national and international research is anticipated in the future. Importantly, experienced staff act regularly as mentors for emerging researchers in consultation with the Director of Research. This strategy has seen an increase in awareness of research imperatives within the Faculty. Involvement in larger collaborative projects also gives the opportunity to gain more experience at an advanced level within a supportive framework, e.g. the Research Assistant’s role within Shillito's tacitus project.

Staff receive funding for specific research projects particularly through teaching replacement and research support (the latter of which awards additional time to non-full-time staff, a scheme that has been particularly beneficial for developing researchers). In addition, sabbaticals and the practice of regular studio time for full-time staff is also available.

All Heads of School in the Faculty have changed since the last RAE. Recent senior appointments include: Professor of Visual Communication; Head of Drawing & Painting; Director of Visual and Cultural Studies; Director of Research (Art & Design). Existing staff have also been promoted on the basis of research standing – a Professor in Sculpture and five Readers. These appointments have invigorated the Faculty particularly with regard to the focus and ambition of research projects, cross-school interaction, and scale of dissemination of outcomes by exhibition or publication. All new academic appointments are expected to be research active at national and international levels.

Postgraduate taught activity links with research
The MFA and M.Des degrees have not been submitted in RA3 (as external examiners are not individually selected for each student). Nevertheless, the Faculty has the largest art & design post-graduate population in Scotland, and the research ethos is carefully integrated into the post-graduate studio experience. The Faculty is currently transforming its post-graduate courses to become entirely research-based in all aspects. Participation by MFA and M.Des students in the research culture is strongly encouraged, with students attending research seminars, conferences, as well as being active in the protoacademy. Staff and post-graduate students contributed to ‘Metronome 4-5-6: Backwards Translation’, edited by Deliss (472pp, co-published with the art academies of Frankfurt, Bordeaux, Biella and Vienna). This is being expanded involving post-graduates in the next issue of ‘Metronome’.

Three major research seminars have been directed by Gooding exploring current methodologies for artists. Among the distinguished participants were Alice Aycock (New York); Bill Furlong; Brian Catling; Patricia Railing. Other research seminars for post-graduate students have been led by senior academics (Iain Rolfe, Michael J. Russell, Bruce McLean) representing a range of academic disciplines, from astrophysics, parapsychology and the history of ideas.

External Funding
The Faculty has a current success rate with Arts & Humanities Research Board applications standing at 67%, including Shillito’s Research Grant of £337k over 4 years; Reeves appointment as an AHRB Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts (£45k over 3 years); Small Research Grants to Bevan and MacGregor (£5k and £4.6k respectively).

External funding for research fellow and research student positions has been forthcoming from the Binks Trust, Inches Carr, Edinburgh Crystal, the Hope-Scott Trust, Dovecot Tapestry and the Headley Trust. The Faculty enjoys in-kind support in the form of a major donation of software (value £65k) from Adobe Systems Europe.

For the Edinburgh Makers exhibition substantial support was raised from the Daiwa Foundation (£1.5k); GB Sasakawa Foundation (£3k); Lothian & Edinburgh Enterprise (£3.5k); and several other small sponsors (£3k).

The School of Sculpture raised funding for the appointment of a Japanese artist-in-residence, Hironiri Katagiri, from January-March 2000, and for the appointment of Visiting Professors Paolozzi and Mach. The School of Drawing & Painting has invested funds (£30k) from the John Florent Stone Trust to appoint two research fellows Connearn and Hood, building on its traditional strength in drawing. The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation supported Gooding's research into a proposed exhibition of the Japanese artist Sesshu. Artist-in-Residence Nichola Schrudde (Germany) was funded as a Henry Moore Fellow for two years (£24k).

Individual practitioners have been successful in generating income for their research work outside the institution. Many of these are listed under RA2.

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

[ Home | About the RAE2001 | Results | Submissions | Overview reports | Panels | Guidance for panel members
| Guidance for institutions | Publications  ]