About Us

The C3 Centre is one of the newest of Staffordshire University’s Research Centres and focusses on the Creative Industries and Creative Communities. We are more than 23 researching creatives or creative researchers at the university, joined by many of our partners on our project activities.

The C3 Centre provides a structural framework for activities that reflect the search for new conceptual and critical insights into practices used by individual artists, collectives and creative thinkers who are passionate about engaging, interacting or co-creating with, local, national and global societies, cultures and communities.

It focusses on those areas of Ceramics, Creative Industry and Creative Communities that make our region so impactful through its creative engagements.

Example Research Themes

  • Creative Industries and Creative Communities
  • Co-creation, Co-production and Co-ownership for the creative sectors
  • Creative Clusters in 2nd order cities (ceramics and film)
  • Artistic innovative practices, methods and contexts for creative innovation
  • Culture 3.0, Arts and Higher Education,
  • Immersive creative environments and audience engagement, participatory art forms
  • Artistic practice as identify formation for individuals and communities

Example research questions our researchers are asking are:

What role do specfific creative artforms (such as ceramics and theatre) play in our regional placemaking capabilities, and how do we retain a sense of place by keeping our links to the past?
Neil BROWNSWORD‘s work is artistic, practical and historiographical. His work focusses on how an interdisciplinary arts practice can preserve cultural heritage maintaining connections to disappearing industrial practices and workforces. Michael BRANTHWAITEs work examines how the concept of exhibiting a handmade ceramic work relates to the use of digital technologies to reproduce and displace unique items. Lisa MANSELL‘s practice and theoretical exploration connects different artistic practices to achieve a sense of place by translating the knowledge of a local practice of ceramic glazing into a new poetic form. Mark BROWN and Rob MARSDEN are critically (and in practice) exploring the development of pantomime and the ‘Stoke Method. The latter is a fore-runner of verbatim theatre devised by the late theatre producer Peter Cheeseman of Stoke-on-Trent’s NewVic, exemplifying its contemporary placemaking capability and is another form of co-creation.

How can we develop novel digital solutions for engaging more immersively with audiences?
Marc ESTIBEIRO and Dave PAYLING, are producing more immersive experiences through interactive sonic / visual installations. Ester MACCALLUM-STEWART’s work addresses the role of play in our digital economy. Michael DAY uses digital media in critiquing ways that internet-capable technologies change day-to-day life, artistically exploring for instance  explores how large-scale data-collection infrastructures affect day-to-day human experience. Emeritus Professor Eunice MA has published monographs and books on design methods for mixed reality applications, and former member Polina  ZIOGA’s work located itself within the digital economy, widening access to arts and culture via more innovative digital solutions by producing applications in the area of brain-computer cinematic performance. 

Are we seeing a new co-production turn of creative society and creative economy? And what’s with all that Culture 3.0 stuff?
Co-creation, co-production and co-ownership is one of our themes, exploring theory and practice around the widening of access to arts and allowing human’s innate need to be creative to drive social and economic resilience. Carola BOEHM‘s work on arts-academic partnerships makes use of Sacco’s Culture 3.0 conceptual framework, exploring the evolution of cultural engagement towards the co-production turn of the economy and applying this in an Arts-Council funded leadership intervention. Peter RUDGE is applying his triple-helix partnership-based film production practice to establish models for creative industry clusters in second-order cities such as Stoke on-Trent. Fiona GRAHAM, is applying her model of film-production practices within civil society, driving placemaking through heritage-related filmic practices and Andrew STUBBS, explores all of these phenomena in his scholarly and critical work about the modern film industry. Anna FRANCIS work on Rethinking the Brownfields has examined how co-created documentary videos and mappings helps to reframe deprived and unclaimed spaces, contributing to urban renewal, developing co-creative participatory community embedded processes that allow deprived communities to respond to and participate in local government urban renewal projects. Former member Carmel THOMASON’s co-created first-person accounts situated within a journalistic trust-focussed journalistic practice promotes advocacy for people whose voice may not otherwise be heard.achieves advocacy.

How have globalisation and our socio-economic impacts impacted our culture, identity, community and places and what is the role of knowledge in the aesthetic appreciation by society?

 Ian BROWN specializes in combining a practice set within a  visual cultures with a deep socially focussed theoretical analysis. Research in these themes also considers the roles that artists and designers can take in producing digital works, the overlaps between ‘audiences’ and ‘users’, and digital methodologies for investigating non- or pre-digital contexts. Work by Sarah KEY has focused on how contemporary arts discussion encourages artists to foster a shared critical language through their artworks. David WEBB and Doug BURNHAM’s work shares an interest in how we understand the local and the global in view of the connection between social, political and geographical environments. Emeritus Professor Doug BURNHAM’s work includes a consideration of the deeper transdisciplinary nature of aesthetics and how this can explain the influence of knowledge and context on our appreciation of culture. David WEBB, is examining the philosophy of communication in the work of Michel Serres and how this changes the way we understand knowledge, information, and the temporal and spatial characteristics of identity and belonging. Steven SPEED uses photography and journalistic practices to document activist communities,  intentionally drawing attention to diverse narratives in communities that are often perceived in stereotypes.