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RA5a: Structure,environment and staffing policy

5a.1 Background
Cumbria College of Art and Design is not new to research. It has a history of staff research going back many years, even although semantics have changed over that period and much of what had previously been called 'professional' art and design work would now be called research. That said, through a major effort to emphasise the importance of research and with 5.4% of the annual budget devoted to research activity there has been a rapid development of the Institution's research culture over the last five years. This is also evidenced by the impressive record of acquiring external research income (see 5b.4 and RA4) including Arts and Humanities Research Board and European Social Fund awards for large scale research initiatives, the establishment of research degrees (see 5a.2) and the increased and increasing level and quantity of staff research outputs. This is supported by embedded research management structures and college supported research initiatives encouraged through the annual Staff Research Seminar (see 5a.3). These developments have been effected without QR funding and demonstrate the Institution’s commitment to the research ethos (see 5b).
The Institution is applying to the Privy Council for a change of name to 'Cumbria Institute of the Arts' that will reflect the multidisciplinary nature of the Institution. We offer programmes that extend beyond the field of art and design and believe that many disciplines in the humanities, for example history, psychology and heritage, are interdependent and enhance an understanding of art and design and each other. Consequently, the Institution, is, in effect, a 'department'. This philosophy is very appropriate in a college situated in a county where the main industries are tourism and agriculture. Many staff work across the areas covered by several Units of Assessment and do not fit exclusively within UoA64.
As an Institution we formally entered the Higher Education (HE) sector in August 1997 and we were therefore ineligible to make a submission for the Research Assessment Exercise of 1996, although 75% of the College's work was at that time in the HE sector. There was already recognition of the importance of research with changes to staff contracts (see 5b staffing policy). We are now in a strong position to enter RAE2001 based on our present research culture.
Our research developments fit well into the Institution's strategy of growth that has been endorsed by the Higher Education Funding Council through its support of capital funding for a £5 million scheme for the Institution’s development.
The Institution is structured into three schools: the School of Communication and Media (9 full-time and associate staff / 8 FTE), the School of Critical and Contextual Studies (12 staff / 11.5 FTE) and the School of Fine and Applied Arts (13 staff / 9.5 FTE). Many staff teach across two or more schools.

5a.2 Research culture
Fifty research outputs in the public domain were documented in the Institution’s 1997-1998 Annual Research Report. The corresponding figure for 1998-1999 is 87 research outputs; this number being maintained in 1999-2000, reflecting an overall increased level of research activity and confirming the development of the Institution's research culture.
Two large-scale projects in the area of new media/multimedia, now completed, were devised and managed by the Institution, both having contributed to the establishment of a research ethos. The first, valued at £300,000 funded by the European Social Fund through the ADAPT initiative, devised and delivered a pilot training scheme using new technologies. Although not research based, its successful outcomes led to a second bid, valued at £1.7m, again through the ESF ADAPT programmes, which was solely focused on research. Specifically it set out to research the phenomenon of multimedia, as a growing employment sector, as an effective training delivery tool and as a new set of skills for trainers and educators.
The DIME project (Defining Multimedia for Employment) involved a total of 48 partners from the public and private sectors and included BT, Apple Computer Europe, Canon Research Centre Europe Ltd, Sony Broadcast and Professional, the British Association of Open Learning, the British Interactive Multimedia Association, the TUC as well as subcontracting work out to the universities of Glasgow, Manchester, Surrey and the Arts Institute at Bournemouth. Comparative research was carried out in EU member states by the EVTA network (European Vocational Training Association), by APFA, France, by AIKE in Finland, FAS in Ireland and a college in Germany. An excellent network for debate, information exchange and commercial synergy has been the legacy of this work, enhancing our research infrastructure for future projects and consultancy. (See 5b.4 for funding details and RA6d Additional Information for DIME research outcomes).
Postgraduate research degrees build on an established taught Integrated Masters (MA) degree programme. The degrees of MA (by Research), MPhil and PhD are undertaken through a longstanding accreditation agreement with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Candidates are registered UCLan students. Currently, principal supervision is undertaken by our staff while the nominal Director of Studies is a member of UCLan staff. This arrangement and UCLan’s Research Degree Supervision Training Course will rapidly develop our staff's supervision experience. Several staff annually participate in the programme, successful completion of which is considered to be equivalent to two successful supervised research degree completions. We subscribe to UCLan’s quality assurance procedures through their research degree subcommittees on which we are represented. Funding for research degrees is provided either through UCLan’s scholarship programme, external trusts, company/industrial funds or private finance.
The developing institutional research culture is characterised by collaborative and interdisciplinary activities that spread beyond art and design through our Joint Honours Programme into history, heritage and archaeology and a range of creative arts including creative writing, performing arts, with music, drama and dance, as well as a wide range of media activities. We have a philosophy of integration and believe that research in these other fields in the humanities contributes to a greater understanding of creative activity. There are common themes that foster discussion and support research development amongst which are landscape and issues concerning the environment in an historical and contemporary context and the areas of new media and multimedia arts. The Institution recognises that there is a need to support those individual staff whose research output does not fit into these categories, to maintain and enhance a wide portfolio of research activity.
Research in multimedia / digital arts and landscape / environmental arts is being supported through the development of two centres.
Centre for Digital Arts Research (C-DAR)
C-DAR is being developed as a regional and national / international focus for research into the digital arts through both practical and theoretical enquiry. Work in this area has included a transnational collaborative multimedia dance project, Dance, Space and Cultural Identity, with partners in Finland and Greece, completed in 1998. The Institution was the lead partner. This was supported by a £36,000 research grant from the DGXXII In the European Community. We have established a residency in digital animation and a fellowship in digital imaging to start in 2001, both jointly funded by Northern Arts (see also ESF ADAPT above).
Centre for Landscape and Environmental Arts Research (CLEAR)
The establishment of CLEAR was inspired by a number of research active staff working nationally and internationally on individual and collaborative multi-disciplinary initiatives (see RA2). Building on this, CLEAR is exploring the inter-relationships between the arts and the environment through an investigation of philosophical, cultural and aesthetic issues, values and practices using interdisciplinary approaches. The Institution-sponsored project aims to develop the influence of the arts and humanities on the predominantly science-led policies of environmental agencies and organisations. To support the work of CLEAR the Institution has arranged a series of UK and European exhibitions and publications that encourage research into landscape and environmental issues.
An international symposium and a national seminar were initiated and managed by the Institution to establish new research frameworks and contexts for landscape and environmental projects. The 1999 Future Visions seminar created debate as an interdisciplinary forum on issues confronting landscape, cityscape and the rural or urban fringes: this informed the 2000 Cityscape><Landshape symposium. The outcomes were published in Report on the March 1999 Future Visions Seminar (July 1999).
The Cityscape><Landshape symposium held in September 2000, supported by £51,000 external funding, involved key international speakers and collaborating organisations including the Arts Council for England, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), National Trust, British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL), the Countryside Agency, Northern Arts and Cumbria County Council. Research papers and projects were specifically commissioned by the Institution and delivered as outcomes at the symposium. Outcomes were published online in November 2000 (http:\\www.thinkglobal.org.uk). Think global – A creative record of the Cityscape><Landshape symposium will be published in book form in Spring 2001.
The Institution has agreed to hold the archive for Andy Goldsworthy's ongoing £340,000 National Lottery funded 'Sheepfolds' project, an important national reference.

5a.3 Policies and mechanisms for the promotion of research (see 5b)
The Research and Scholarly Activity Advisory Group (RSAAG) was established in 1996 as a sub-committee of the Academic Board and is the Institution’s research committee. It initiates policy and promotes discussion on strategic research matters. It supports and encourages research activity and provides opportunities for staff to participate in research activities on a collaborative basis. The RSAAG monitors staff research through annual staff reviews, so that research time is utilised effectively and action taken if it is not. However, the dialogue amongst staff with similar or related research fields is as important and has been effective in progressing research within the Institution. Staff are further encouraged in their research by access to the wide range of state-of-the-art technology and facilities and, if formally claimed and approved by the RSAAG, to materials and technician support.

An annual institutional research seminar with staff exhibition is well established, giving staff the opportunity to present their current research in the form of exhibitions or lecture presentations. Through the seminars, collaborations have been established amongst staff. The seminars have also represented a forum in which there has been discussion on current issues in research in art and design and other relevant fields. Dissemination is further supported by the Institution’s externally refereed research journal, The Vallum. Through the encouragement and support of the RSAAG further opportunities are provided for new and experienced researchers to exhibit work in themed group shows at national and international level. This has included The Green Man series that involved 35% of all Institution staff, including staff not included in this submission. The series of exhibitions toured the UK, Sweden and, by invitation from the host state, Poznan, Poland.

5a.4 National and international collaboration
In addition to the work of individual research staff, two major projects initiated and managed by the Institution have involved national and international collaborators and interdisciplinary research, ADAPT and DIME, details of which are given in section 5a.2.
The Cityscape><Landshape International Symposium was structured for an interdisciplinary range of delegates sharing cultural interest in the UK environment, its people and culture. Partners included the National Trust, BNFL, WWF (USA), Grizedale Forest, the Arts Council for England, county councils, local authorities and education. The symposium covered issues that define environmental change at both global and local scales, in urban and suburban landscapes. Debates involved all the interested parties, using consultation to resolve environmental problems collaboratively.
Collaborative research will be further enhanced by the formation of partnerships with environmental agencies and a research collaboration between the Institution and the highly rated Institute of Environmental Philosophy and Public Policy (IEPPP) at Lancaster University which aims to develop a fuller understanding of the social, political and cultural dimensions of environmental knowledge and conflicts and of their implications for public policy and the wider environment.
These and other international level collaborations provide evidence of the strong environmental / landscape / history theme that runs through much staff research, for example – Disjacta Reliquiae: the Tate Thames Dig, Spirit of Nature, research on pre-1855 lettering on Scottish tombstones with Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) and the curation of the exhibition Magnetic (See RA2)

5a.5 Relationship with industry and the wider community (see 5b.4)
The professional art and design activities of staff continue to establish and maintain close contact with industry and commerce. Links with industry and the wider community through DIME are detailed in 5a.2.
The Institution’s strategy is to foster developmental links with industry partners to develop research activities that are of benefit to the Institution and the communities it serves. Through the emerging engagement with environmental and landscape issues, the Institution has worked with small and large businesses based in Cumbria and elsewhere to develop research into issues of local and global significance. To do this, the Institution has achieved support from BNFL, the Countryside Agency, WWF and the National Trust together with smaller partners to address issues relating to the work of artists and designers as they in turn relate to the global environment.
The Institution has sought to become active in the regeneration of local and rural communities and has established support and research structures for developing and sustaining businesses that are able to survive and flourish in Cumbria.
Other initiatives have involved the development and establishment of business links through the Creative Collaborations conference and publication in 1999, Creative Collaborations. A Report on the Proceedings of the Creative Collaborations Seminar (Cumbria College of Art and Design, 2000) for which the Institution commissioned research into the relationships between business and professional opportunities and the creative arts in the North West Region. A member of staff was Chair of the Northern Arts Grants and Awards to Artists and Craftspeople Advisory panel from 1992-2000.
Stanwix Arts Theatre, recently renovated, expanded and re-equipped, is integral to and managed by the Institution providing a focus for our performing arts. It is also the North Cumbrian venue for productions by both national and international professional theatre companies and staff are responsible for programming productions including commissioning new works by local and regional authors and directors.

RA5b STAFFING POLICY
Whilst the Institution allocates 5.4% of its recurrent funding to support research initiatives including project grants and study leave it is also our policy to pursue research support from major funding sources such as the EU and AHRB.
All academic staff have a contractual remission of 30 days (pro rata for associate staff) for the pursuance of research. The minority of staff who do not participate in research are expected to pursue other scholarly activity (see RA6b). The actual activities are monitored through the Schools to ensure that they match the strategic aims of the Institution. To supplement external funding or for smaller scale projects, staff can apply for financial support to the RSAAG. The RSAAG encourages new and established research active staff to disseminate research outcomes through publication and exhibition, as described elsewhere, and collaboratively through the Staff Research Seminars. It encourages and supports individual staff to undertake relevant and effective research. (See 5a.3)
The Institution’s policy is to employ a significantly high number of staff on a part-time basis who contribute to the research culture of the Institution through their research or professional experience. They enhance the contribution made by full-time and associate staff and are recognised as key players in the underpinning of research and professional experience that is brought to the academic environment and a number have graduated to full-time contracts where appropriate.
The following staff have been placed in Category A* and Category B as documented in RA1:
Laurie Short (Category A*, general funds), joined the Institution on 1 October 2000 from the University of Northumbria to take up the post of Senior Researcher. He was previously employed part-time by the Institution and has made a contribution to the development of landscape and environmental arts research and to the organisation of international symposia.
Robert Leach (Category A*, general funds) was appointed on 16 October 2000 as a part-time lecturer to teach on the first year of a new BA (Hons) Performing Arts. He has contributed to the interdisciplinary research ethos of the Institution and to art and design through the BA (Hons) Creative Arts programme.
Florence Lieux (Category B, other restricted funds – ESF ADAPT) was appointed from 8 June 1998 to 31 December 2000. She was appointed as Principal Researcher and investigator to lead the ESF ADAPT DIME research project.

5b.1 ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS

5b.2 Postgraduate activity
The Integrated Master of Arts degree programme was validated in 1997 and includes a major research element. Research degrees have been part of the Institution's portfolio since September 2000 (see 5a.2) giving further evidence of our expanding postgraduate profile.

5b.3 Relationship between research and taught programmes
Increasingly, staff research initiates and informs curriculum development and new programmes have been developed as a consequence of staff research profiles (e.g. Multimedia and Digital Animation). The encouragement and support of research and the resources contributed to it are recognition of its importance in maintaining leading-edge staff expertise in the subjects taught.

5b.4 Activity on securing external funding
The Institution’s policy is also to pursue research support from major funding sources such as EU and AHRB and wherever appropriate and relevant opportunities are identified to bid for research funding to enhance and develop our strategy. Recent successes have included the following.
ESF ADAPT research project, DIME (see 5a2). The matched funding contribution from the public sector for the DIME research project includes:
The Arts Institute at Bournemouth £78K, Carlisle City Council £12K, EVTA £151K, Genesis £11K, Glasgow University £37K, Lancaster University £2K, Manchester University £35K, NTO Tele.com £9K, Surrey University £35K, University of the Highlands and Islands £2K, other beneficiaries £22K - total £394K.
Private matched funding for the DIME project includes the following: Apple £21K, Armstrong Watson and Co £58K, British Association of Open Learning (BAOL) £7K, BT £11K, Cannon Research Europe Centre Ltd £17K, Chris Neal Design £13K, CRAC £7K, AEFP £69K, Ford Credit £4K, John Harrold Associates £4K, Learning Materials Design £27K, McMillan UK £38K, New Lanark Research Ltd £14K, Outlook Associates £59K, Panasonic £3K, R and B Media £5K, Sony £17K, other beneficiaries £20K - total £394K.
The cash value of research contracted by the Institution to other universities/colleges for the DIME project is as follows: Arts Institute at Bournemouth £17K, University of Glasgow £24K, University of Manchester £23K, University of Surrey £22K - total £86K.
The Institution was successful in competing for funding for DGXXII In the European Community research project Dance, Space and Cultural Identity £36,000.
External research funding of £51,000 from a number of collaborating institutions, including the Arts Council for England, BNFL, the Countryside Agency, Cumbria County Council, the National Trust, Northern Arts and the WWF to support the implementation of international symposia
and for the commissioning of new research and symposia papers and presentations.

An AHRB Small Research Grant in the Arts - £5,000
The Joint Research Project with Careers Development Unit, University of Central Lancashire
'Higher level skills in the creative industries' - total £10,000 of which £1,500 specifically awarded to the Institution.
Individual research active staff have been successful in winning commissions, grants and bursaries for individual and collaborative research from a wide range of organisations such as the Countryside Agency, Northern Arts, Devon County Council and the Crafts Council.

RA5c RESEARCH STRATEGY

5c.1 Policy and plans for next five years
The following are our objectives over the next five years (not in order of priority).
· The further development of collaborative and interdisciplinary research and the establishment of research links with business and the wider community through the research centres (CLEAR and C-DAR) and industry related postgraduate research programmes.
· An annual increase in the number of PhD, MPhil and MA (by Research) students.
· Support for research active staff who are able to provide evidence of high quality work in their field through extended remission and the establishment of research fellowships and advanced research posts.
· Support for staff new to research through training and mentoring.
· The continued development of research resources, including accommodation for research activity and the development of the library as a major research facility through targeted library management and funding.
· The identification and pursuit of further external funding through AHRB, European Union, business/commerce and other research funding sources.
· Continued support for training in research degree supervision (see 5a.2).
Through our identity as a multidisciplinary institution we have found collaborative initiatives to be one of our strengths. This has resulted in building a firm foundation and infrastructure for research. The development of two research areas, one in new media and multimedia technologies and the other in landscape and environmental arts has given rise to the two research centres, CLEAR and C-DAR (see 5a.2 and 5a.4).
The development of landscape and environmental arts research through CLEAR will continue as project-based research in art and design whilst broadening in remit and context. Building on the success of past symposia, it will work in partnership with the IEPPP at Lancaster University to create a new research centre. To further enhance this development a collaborative bid for the establishment of an AHRB research centre was submitted in February 2001. This recently formalised research partnership will work to form an international alliance between academic, environmental and industrial partners. It will explore ways in which the arts and humanities can play a more active role in relation to environmental policy and debates and environmental issues of global importance. By employing electronic communication and international interdisciplinary research teams it will provide publicly accessible research, offering debate, information, archives, publications and further symposia. Postgraduate research degree study will be offered as a result of this initiative.
A visual research symposium Under Exposure is planned for 2002. This will look at the relationship of visual and text-based communications in an environmental context. A second symposium to follow the successful Cityscape><Landshape event is currently being planned with U.S. partners for 2003. These will explore present practice in cultural, natural, environmental and landscape issues.
C-DAR will continue to expand its research base in new media and multimedia to include both the arts at one end of the spectrum and technology at the other. This is supported by the excellent purpose-built base within the Institution that is equipped to the latest digital specifications. One of the areas of focus for research development over the next five years is interactivity, particularly within an educational environment.
Our policy and plans build on our strengths in these specific fields, through research centres. However, support is not given exclusively to staff involved with these areas, and new research fields will and have emerged. Our strategy is of inclusion and enablement rather than exclusivity and prescription.
The development of the Institution's HE programmes to reach a stage where we can offer study for doctoral research degrees has been dramatic. This progression will be continued, sustained and strengthened. (See 5a.2).

5c.2 Self assessment
Although this is our first submission to the RAE, we are confident of our established strengths. These are a consequence of several years’ development:
· We have a well established research culture for which evidence is provided throughout this submission.
· We have well established mechanisms for the encouragement and support of research and have, in consequence, an increasing number of committed research active staff.
· We have an impressive record of securing external funding for research, for both large and small schemes.
· We have demonstrable skills in developing and successfully managing large-scale collaborative research projects.
· We have established postgraduate research degrees and the procedures to develop staff supervisory experience.
· We have extensive facilities, especially through the new building development (see 5a.1), and in particular in media, graphics, computing, video, television and journalism, crafts and performance arts.

There have been some disadvantages in not being eligible to participate in the previous Research Assessment Exercises. Because of this we have not been able to develop our research infrastructure to the full extent through support from QR funds and therefore unlock our maximum potential. We have however been successful in gaining considerable external funding for research projects. With the continued success in attracting external funding together with QR funding support we foresee considerable opportunities for future development of our research culture and profile through growth in individual staff research activity and increased research staffing.

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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