C3 Centre and Staffordshire University shows substantial improvement in REF 2021

Staffs Uni has welcomed the results of REF 2021 which has recognised more of its research as “internationally excellent” and “world leading”

Our press release can be accessed from https://www.staffs.ac.uk/news/2022/05/staffordshire-university-shows-substantial-improvement-in-ref-2021

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

Overall, 68% of Staffordshire University’s research was judged 3* “internationally excellent” and 4* “world leading”, up from 37% in 2014 when the last REF results were announced. In addition, 87% of the University’s research impact has been rated as “very considerable” or “outstanding”, again the two highest categories. This has resulted in a rise of 22 places in the Times Higher League Table to =86.

C3 Centre Communities

Key Units of assessments for the C3 Centre were Art and Design (UoA 32) and Communications and Cultural Studies (UoA34).

The University rated most highly for Art and Design where 91% of its research was recognised as 4* and 3* and 100% of research impact was judged to be “very considerable” or “outstanding”.

Art and Design:

  • 100% of research impact is recognised as “very considerable” or “outstanding”
  • 91% of research is rated “internationally excellent” or “world leading”

In this area, we made substantial improvements compared to REF 2014

  • 4* outputs increased from 0.0% to 47.1%
  • 3* outputs increased from 15.0% to 41.1%
  • 4* impact increased from 0.0% to 50.0%

The overall GPA for the unit increased from 1.88 to 3.32 (out of 4.0).

Communication and Cultural studies:

  • 100% of research impact is recognised as “very considerable” or “outstanding”

In this area, we made substantial improvements compared to REF 2014

  • 4* outputs increased from 7.3% to 13.5%
  • 3* outputs increased from 20.0% to 32.4%
  • 4* impact increased from 0.0% to 50.0%
  • 3* impact increased from 20.0% to 50.0%

The overall GPA for the unit increased from 1.86 to 2.74 (out of 4.0).

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary

But we also work with many research communities across the university, and the C3 Centre membership spreads across different assessment units, each one of these having made improvements in research impacts and outputs:

Archaeology

  • 100% of research impact is recognised as “very considerable” or “outstanding”

Business and management:

  • 100% of research impact is recognised as “very considerable” or “outstanding”
  • 71% of research overall is “internationally excellent” or “world leading”

Social Work Social Policy:

  • 64% of research outputs are rated “internationally excellent” or “world leading”

Engineering:

  • 75% of research impact is recognised as “very considerable” or “outstanding”       
  • 87% of research outputs are rated “internationally excellent” or “world leading”

Collaboration and Co-Creation

We have always worked in partnership with many communities locally, regionally and globally.

Thank You to all our stakeholders, partners & collaborators who have been part of our collective journey. Together we are shaping a more creative future.

Two of our impact case studies by Associate Professor Anna Francis and Associate Professor Nic Gratton demonstrate how research, collaboration and communities can work together.





Neil Brownsword, Prof of Ceramics, in Conversation at the London Craft Week 2022

As part of the London Craft Week 2022, the Korea Association of Art and Design returns for London Craft Week 2022 with a panel of experts in the area of ceramics, glass and crafts.

The virtual event will take place 9 May 2022, at 11:00 AM . Professor Brownsword will give a talk on:

Thinking through the Past for the Future: Neil Brownsword, Artist, Researcher, Professor, Department of Ceramics, Staffordshire University, UK 

Registration is at:

https://www.londoncraftweek.com/events/conversations-in-contemporary-korean-craft/

Abstract is provided below.

Conversations in Contemporary Korean Craft

Thinking through the Past for the Future.   

Neil Brownsword 

 Throughout history, ceramics have played an important role in the phenomenon of cultural transfer. For centuries China, Korea and Japan have influenced each other’s aesthetics, practices and technologies. Subsequent trade with the West, and the imitation and assimilation of East Asian goods and styles in the late 17th and 18th centuries greatly influenced the development of new ceramic traditions in Europe that were to gain historical prominence.  

 Since 2015 artist Neil Brownsword has explored this historic cycle of knowledge exchange, via performances staged in South Korea and the UK which have addressed the cultural hierarchies and value systems aligned to their ceramic traditions.In his work Factory (2017) staged at Icheon World Ceramic Centre, Brownsword re-choreographed the indigenous ceramic practices of two ex-factory personnel from Stoke-on-Trent and four Korean artisans to question established hierarchies of cultural production and reassign value to people and practices displaced by global economics.  

By reactivating obsolescence via non-commercialised production, Brownsword revealed a shared language of haptic intelligences developed through ethical modes of exchange between East and West.  

 Performing FACTORY in Korea enabled the actors of marginalised immaterial heritage to renegotiate their value in a context where similar embodiments of knowledge are culturally protected. Its tour to the British Ceramics Biennial 2017, furthered UK/Korea cultural exchange, strengthening Stoke-on-Trent’s regeneration ambition as a global centre for ceramics. This presentation examines the context and development of Brownsword’s collaborations and his exploration of heritage as a ‘living process’ that can be constantly reimagined for the future. 

 Neil Brownsword is an artist, researcher and educator who holds a professorial position in ceramics at Staffordshire University. Brownsword began his career in ceramics as an apprentice at the Wedgwood factory in the mid- 1980’s. His practice examines the legacy of globalisation in relation to Stoke-on-Trent’s ceramic manufacturing sector, and the impact this has had upon people, place and traditional skills. Using film and performative installation Brownsword deconstructs complex craft knowledge within industrial production to pose questions surrounding the value of inter-generational skill. His work is represented in public/private collections internationally, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Korea Ceramic Foundation, Yingee Ceramic Museum Taiwan and Fu Le International Ceramic Art Museum China. In 2009 he was awarded the ‘One Off Award’ at the inaugural British Ceramic Biennial, and the Grand Prize at the Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, South Korea in 2015, and Whitegold International Ceramic Prize in 2019. 

Catch-Up: Art/Practice-Based Research Seminar Series #6 – Research Impact: Making a Difference through Practice-Based Research.

Guest Speakers: Dr Jackie Reynolds and Colette Dobson who will talk about 

This session focuses on research that leads to benefits beyond academia. It examines the challenges and opportunities for developing impact case studies based on practice-based research for the REF (Research Excellence Framework). Colette Dobson will discuss the impact of her collaborative research that addressed a need for better communication between patients and health care professionals about the sexual consequences of treatments for cancer. She will share her insights gained from the process of collecting impact evidence and developing a REF2021 impact case study.

Call for Articles for a Special Issue Journal

Special Issue of the Journal PHILOSOPHY AND THEORY IN HIGHER EDUCATION (Peter Lang)

on:

Coloniality and Whiteness in the Academy: Towards Decolonial Futures

Guest Editors:

  • Thushari Welikala, St George’s, University of London, UK
  • Carola Boehm, Staffordshire University, UK

This special issue aims to contribute to the knowledge and understanding about the complexities, paradoxes, tensions, and possibilities of designing decolonial futures in higher education. Focusing on a timely and under-theorised area in higher education, it invites contributors and readers to critically engage with their own pedagogic practices and habits as well as the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that shape their thinking to explore the possibilities of disrupting whiteness and coloniality in higher education.

The universalized fictions of modernity (Mignolo and Walsh, 2018) and the strategic disregard for co- existing frames of knowing that do not capture western rationality (Bhabha, 1994) enable the western university to maintain and perpetuate colonial power structures, body-politics and geo-politics of knowledge-making, continuously reframing systemic knowledge hegemonies (Quijano, 2000). This can further reproduce designs for recolonising people, their Being and Becoming (Welikala, 2021), while suppressing and eradicating the knowledges of the ‘other’ (Bhambra et al., 2018).

The recent surge in decolonising curriculum, pedagogy and research in higher education is reinforced by social movements and student activism. Focusing mainly on formal curriculum, pedagogy and research leaves the structural and systemic coloniality aside, encouraging the practice of embedding decolonisation predominantly within equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies and practices.

Subsequently, the notion of decolonisation is often conceptualised as a neutral, apolitical signifier/metaphor that can be used for a wide range of agendas that center around social justice, within the neoliberal university (Tuck and Yang, 2012).

As co-editors we argue that homogenising a wide range of experiences of oppression under the term ‘decolonisation’ can mask decolonisation as philanthropic enterprise initiated by the ‘powerful’ global centres to offer voice to the ‘powerless’, marginalised non-white groups (Cesaire, 2000). This ‘refined’ and comfortable approach to decolonising higher education focuses on limited areas of activity: diversifying the established knowledge/disciplinary cannons by introducing non-white authors; demonstrating interest in the acceptance of ‘alternative’ epistemologies while focusing on existing epistemic hegemonies; and increasing minority representation in operationalising EDI work that is led by the majority (white) groups. Rather than effectively addressing coloniality, such activities intensify the centrality of existing knowledge cannons while re-confirming the self-endorsed power of whiteness and the colonial imaginary within the academy (Maldonado-Torres, 2007).

The proliferating scholarship on decolonising education in the North, has seldom considered the pioneering, politically-informed decolonial turn initiated by the scholars in the global South and its theoretical underpinnings. The more radical decolonial approaches pioneered by the scholars in the global South, some decades ago, were focused on challenging the implications of modernity/coloniality and dismantling the colonial power hierarchies by transforming epistemic values and improving democracy in education (Mignolo, 2011). The absence of theoretical rigour and the lack of knowledge of the historicity of colonisation and coloniality has led toward a predominantly tokenistic approach to decoloniality in the academy in the global North.

Within this context, this special issue will address the following lines of inquiry:

  1. What are the underlying political-historical and socio-cultural triggers that inform the dominant discourses and practices of current projects on decolonising higher education? To what extent do these discourses and practices address (or not) coloniality within the academy? How might ‘whiteness’ as a social-institutional imaginary inform the maintenance and promotion of coloniality?
  2. How do the theoretical underpinnings and conceptual frameworks that inform decolonizing the academy across geo-political contexts reflect and intersect (or not) with the theoretical frameworks pioneered by scholars in the global South? How can decolonial projects be distinguished from projects on internationalisation, inclusive education, diversity, and equality?
  3. What are the systemic/structural as well as context-specific barriers that can affect the initiation and operationalisation of decoloniality within the academy? How can such barriers be effectively addressed? What are the implications of effective decolonial approaches in terms of their values, structures, teaching, learning, and researching?

The idea for this special issue emerged during a series of Club Meet conversations within the Philosophy and Theory in Higher Education Society in October 2021. We seek contributions from those who engaged in those conversations and submissions from distinguished scholars and early career researchers who have a background in decolonising the academy. Contributions are encouraged to draw from inter-disciplinary and international perspectives on coloniality and decolonising. This inter- disciplinarity and the pluriculturality will stimulate rich and critical conversations on policy and practice aimed at decolonising the academy across geopolitical contexts.

Format for the Abstract Submission

  • Include a cover page with authors’ names, affiliations, email addresses.
  • An abstract of 500-1,000 words that includes the theoretical framework and/or methods and methodology (if appropriate), states the argument, and identifies the significance of the issue.
  • For proposal purposes it is not necessary but do note that final manuscripts must follow The Chicago Manual of Style, with no in-text parenthetical citations.

Format for the Final Submission of the Manuscripts 

  • Manuscripts should have a minimum of 6000 and maximum of 8000 words.
  • Each manuscript will need to include a 250-word abstract and 4 – 6 keywords.
  • Final manuscripts must follow The Chicago Manual of Style, with no in-text parenthetical citations.
  • PTHE defers to author preference in decisions about the naming and capitalization of racial, ethnic, and cultural groups.
  • PTHE defers to author preference as to the variety of English to be used, except where, in the opinion of the editors, understanding is compromised.
  • Each manuscript should have a cover page with author’s names and affiliations as they will appear in the journal. They should also include an email for sending the DocuSign form for the Author’s Publication Agreement.

Submit proposals directly to the Guest Editor: twelikal@sgul.ac.uk . Please reference “coloniality special issue” in the subject line of your email. Completed manuscripts (see timeline below) will be submitted through the journal’s submission platform for review purposes.

Timeline

Call for Proposals
March 14, 2022

Proposals due
May 30, 2022

Decision from Guest Editor to pursue manuscript
June 30, 2022

Complete Manuscripts due for submission
November 1, 2022

Reviews returned and final editorial decision
February 1, 2023

Revised manuscripts due
May 1, 2023

Publication
November 2023

Catch-Up: Carola Boehm at the ISUC Plaza Series 3 (International Women’s Day Edition)

Live Streamed from our APU partners in Malaysia, the International Women’s Day Edition of the ISUC Plaza Series presented three keynotes by women leaders, including C3 Centre’s Carola Boeh,.

Carola Boehm’s keynote, as part of the three keynotes presented, was titled:

Culture 3.0 saves the world: Sustainability & Diversity in an era of Co-creation

Abstract:
Even before the pandemic, along with many other countries, the UK was beginning to see a shift in how we valued our engagement in cultural activities, culminating in the 2021 Arts Council England’s 10-year strategy of “Let’s Create” (ACE, 2021). For communities and individuals, it firmly focussed resources to support active participation in arts and culture. This represented a move of investment towards civil society engaging actively in cultural production, rather than merely being passive cultural consumers. In Luigi Sacco’s words, this is a cultural struggle between what he calls Culture 1.0 versus Culture 3.0.

In Sacco’s conceptualisation, Culture 1.0 is characterised by patronage,  limited audiences,  gate keepers, value absorption and limited structural markets (Sacco, 2013). Thus, Culture 1.0 is seen to be highly elitist and exclusionary,  it has resulted in arts audiences and leadership of our European top cultural institutions to  be predominantly white and upper middle class (ACE, 2019). And this is a problem, according to Sacco. With Europe being ‘hung up on Culture 1.0’, it is holding Europe back in its innovation and productivity potential  (Sacco, 2011). The UK and the US has taken a slightly different path since the late 90s, influenced by its focus on the creative industries, with its emphasis on IP and copyright (BEIS, 2018; Flew, 2011; Cunningham, 2014). This is Culture 2.0, and I have written about how the UK and US are in turn hung up on Culture 2.0, supporting extractive and exploitative models that have inherent gatekeeping functions. This is in turn holding both the UK and the US back to allow its creative and cultural activities to benefit its societies in equitable, fair and diversity-supporting manner (Boehm, 2017, 2016).  However, Culture 3.0 is fast becoming the dominant type of cultural engagement to make arts and culture more inclusive and more impactful. It is characterised by ‘everyday creativity’,  co-creation, open platforms, ubiquitously available production tools and individuals constantly shifting and renegotiating their roles between producing and consuming content. This ‘doing away’ with gatekeepers supports access, diversity and is evidenced to simply make all our lives healthier, happier, more creative and more resilient.

Whereas having predominantly Culture 1.0 types of cultural engagement will result in elitism and exclusivity. Culture 2.0 creates a highly neo-liberal, worker-exploitative model. But Culture 3.0 has the promise of providing the balance and Sacco suggests the new power centres of this type of cultural engagement are emerging in Asia, and is characterised by mass production, unlimited reproducibility, large audiences, and significant turnover and profits. So in this presentation, using the lenses of Culture 1.0 to 3.0,  I will explore solutions for  shaping our creative sectors and industries in our creative cities towards becoming more sustainable, more fair and more diverse. (Boehm, 2022)

References

  • ACE (2019). Equality, Diversity and the Creative Case. A data report. ACE 2018 – 2019. [Online]. Manchester.
  • ACE (2021). Let’s Create: Our strategy 2020-2030 | Arts Council England. [Online]. Manchester, UK..
  • BEIS (2018). UK Creative Industries Sector Deal.
  • Boehm, C. (2016). Academia in Culture 3.0: a Crime story of Death and Rebirth (but also of Curation, Innovation and Sector Mash-ups). REPERTÓRIO: Teatro & Dança. 19 (27). p.pp. 37–48.
  • Boehm, C. (2022). Arts and Academia. Emerald Publishing. To be published in 2022.
  • Boehm, C. (2017). The end of a Golden Era of British Music? Exploration of educational gaps in the current UK creative industry strategy. In: R. Hepworth-Sawyer, J. Hodgson, J. Paterson, & R. Toulson (eds.). Innovation In Music: performance, production, technology and business. Taylor & Francis/Routledge.
  • Cunningham, S. (2014). ‘Hidden Innovation: Industry, Policy and the Creative Sector.’ Lanham MD: Lexington Books.
  • Flew, T. (2011). The Creative Industries: Culture and Policy. 1st edition. SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Sacco, P.L. (2011). Web Page. Culture 3.0: A new perspective for the EU 2014 -2020 structural funding programming.
  • Sacco, P.L. (2013). Culture 3.0: The impact of culture on social and economic development, & how to measure it. Prepared for Scientific support for growth and jobs:  Cultural and creative industries  Conference. p.p. 21.

Catch-Up: New Civic Imaginaries (#2) Andrew Stubbs and Becky Nunes

In this session, we consider existing strategies for cultural production that masquerade as avantgarde, while potentially in fact perpetuating an ideological status-quo. The role of the auteur is implicated in these strategies and examined in both presentations. The question is asked: what sort of art is really  needed for our future societies?

In this session:
Wednesday 2 March 2022, Room T101

  • Dr. Andrew Stubbs: Talent Managers and their Indie-Auteur Clients: Understanding the Conematization of Television
  • Becky Nunes: 15 Minutes of Fame. Andy Warhol, Facebooks and the Work of Luke Willlis Thomspn

 

New Book: Inside the Rehearsal Room by C3’s Rob Marsden

Associate Professor and C3 Centre member Rob Marsden’s text ‘Inside the Rehearsal Room‘  is now out, published by Bloomsbury/ Methuen Drama.

Book launch at Wednesday 2nd March at 6.30 at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. RSVP to r.j.marsden@staffs.ac.uk email

Inside the Rehearsal Room is both an instructional and conceptual examination of the rehearsal process.

Drawing on professional practice and underpinned by theory, this book moves through each stage of rehearsals, considering the inter-connectivity between the actor, director, designers and the backstage team, and how the cumulative effect of the weeks in rehearsal influences the final production. The text also includes: – Auto-ethnographic and fully ethno-graphic case study approaches to different rehearsal rooms – Interviews with directors, actors, designers and actor trainers – A consideration of the ethics of the rehearsal room and material selected for production – Practical exercises on how to creatively read a text from an acting and directing perspective.

Informed by over 20 years of directing experience in the UK and Europe, Robert Marsden’s book offers a practical guide that ultimately demystifies the rehearsal process and challenges how the rehearsal room should be run in the 21st Century.

Interviews include with Rufus Norris, Kate Wasserberg, Kirstie Davis, Ivo van Hove, Roy Alexander Weise, Sir Alan Ayckbourn, Steven Boden, RC-Annie, Katrina Lindsay, Paule Constable, Stephen Mear and many more…

Catch-Up: Art/Practice-Based Research Seminar Series #5 – Who is it for and how can we communicate it?

Guest Speaker: Dr Charlie Tweed
With the traditional publications still defining many academic careers, it becomes a challenging task for researchers working with practice-based methods. Luckily, the emergence of alternative platforms for dissemination makes this task more attainable and relevant to various non-conventional outputs. This session explores the possibilities and challenges of practice-based focused online journals and other platforms focusing on alternative forms of research-based in creative methods.

DICO International Digital Storytelling Online Workshop

This is an opportunity for UG and PG learners of Staffordshire University’s Performing, Media, Digital Arts, Games, Visual Arts, Fine Arts and Design programmes and the Create Place leadership programme to take part in an

International Digital Storytelling Online Workshop (2 ECTS credits)

about

Sustainability in Arts and Culture

Sign in for the workshop at (EVENTBRITE LINK, or contact Carola.Boehm@staffs.ac.uk)

This workshop gives participants an opportunity to reflect on (environmental, cultural, economic, and social) sustainability and share your ideas with other arts and culture students from five universities: MOME (Hungary), Stafforshire University (UK), Technical University of Dublin (Irland), Turku University of Applied Sciences (Finland) and University of Macerata (Italy).

In the workshop, we will use creative methods such as Photo Diary, creative writing and Digital Storytelling. Each student creates their own digital story on sustainability, approaching the theme from a personal perspective: what does sustainability mean in/for my studies, creative/artistic practice, and my identity and career as an arts/culture professional.  A web-based video editor WeVideo will be used for editing the digital stories.

You do not need any advanced skills in photography, or prior experience in Digital Storytelling or videoediting to participate in the workshop. You will, however, need:

  • A camera phone or a digital camera
  • A laptop or desktop computer (a touch screen tablet is not sufficient)
  • Google Chrome as a browser
  • An external mouse for your computer
  • A headset (headphones with a microphone)
  • Stable Internet connection
  • A silent room for audio recording

The workshop consists of a preassignment and 3 online workshop sessions (in Zoom):

  • –23.3.2022 Pre-assignment: Introducing yourself in Teams, readings on sustainability in arts and culture, and a Photo Diary assignment.
  • Thu 24.3.2022 Online session 1 at 11–17 (Finland) / 10–16 (Italy & Hungary) / 9–15 (UK & Irland)
  • Fri 1.4.2022 Online session 2 at 11–17 (Finland) / 10–16 (Italy & Hungary) / 9–15 (UK & Irland)
  • Fri 8.4.2022 Online session 3 at 11–17 (Finland) / 10–16 (Italy & Hungary) / 9–15 (UK & Irland)

 

Sign in for the workshop at (LINK, or contact Carola.Boehm@staffs.ac.uk)

Participants will receive an email ahead of the workshop, with instructions for the preassignment and for joining the Teams platform used for sharing instructions and materials of the workshop.

The workshop is part of the DICO project (DICO, Digital Career Stories – Opening new career paths for arts and culture students).  

Catch-Up: New Civic Imaginaries (#1) Maria Sanchez and Anna Francis

New Civic Imaginaries proposes a shared civil space of ideas that “belong” to society rather than to the individual or the institution. The presentations, chaired by Becky Nunes,  collected here represent the fields of research that faculty of the School of DTA at Staffordshire University are currently engaged with.

In this session:

  • Wednesday 2 February 2022. 3.30-5.00 p.m
  • Dr. Maria Martinez Sanchez: The Fun Palace: Architecture, Theatre and Cybernetics
  • Anna Francis: Towards a 100 year Plan