Research in the Department of Arts ranges from practice-led explorations in Fine Art and Performance to theoretical investigations of Visual and Material Culture, Cultural Management, Heritage and Conservation.
Our researchers investigate the processes and materiality of creative production (including paper, colour and the process of critical debate in studios), promote the global reach of the region (through projects including the Neues Schloss curatorial initiative at Gallery North and GIFT, the Gateshead International Festival of Theatre), and build new communities of knowledge around themes such as Northern Peripheries and Fashion and Translation.
Key partners such as BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Live Theatre help us create stimulating environments for collaborative and interdisciplinary research. This allows for timely responses to issues arising through the cultural negotiation of science by visual artists (especially in relation to medical ethics, fundamental physics, genetics, and the earth sciences) and the cultivation of social and political resilience through verbatim/documentary theatre and fine art performance practices.
Through collaborative working, Northumbria was recently named a Centre for Doctoral Training by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, resulting in funding worth £1.2m for a consortium led by Northumbria and including the University of Sunderland, BALTIC and the National Glass Centre. This underpins a flourishing postgraduate community across areas of Fine Art practice and Art and Design History. A number of these PhD students currently work within the BxNU Institute – an initiative created through the BALTIC partnership and based at BALTIC 39.
The Department is also part of the UK’s only Centre for Doctoral Training in Heritage consisting of a consortium of universities in the North of England, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Particular departmental research strengths span the study of art markets, nationalisms and transnationalism, cultural heritage and cultural policy research, material culture and fashion and textiles from the later-nineteenth century to today. We also provide the editorial base for the Routledge journal ‘Visual Culture in Britain’, which focuses on the diverse inheritances, identities and practices that constitute visual culture in this country.