World-leading impact for SHU’s art, design and media research in REF2021
The recent REF2021 results confirm the benefits to society, culture and health of practice-based art, design and media research at Sheffield Hallam University. REF has rated the Art, Design & Media Research Centre (ADMRC) and Lab4Living as 100% World-leading or Internationally excellent for impact.
The ADMRC and Lab4Living have a well-established track record for practice-based research which is reflected in the results. Our joint submission to the Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory unit of assessment places us third among modern universities on Grade Point Average, with 90% our research rated in the top two categories: World-leading (4*) or Internationally excellent research (3*).
The impact of our research includes, contributing to civic and health policy, improving dignity and quality of life, and bringing economic benefits to industry. Our submission is placed fifth for impact among all universities in Unit of Assessment 32. 83.3% was judged World-leading, with the rest Internationally excellent.
Head of ADMRC, Prof Lise Autogena said:
“We are delighted with the results, which reflect the hard work of our staff and the strength of our collaborations. This strong performance is informed by almost 30 years of practice-based research and an increase in investment through competitive research funding awards to the value of £7.9 million, more than double in the 2014 submission.”
Bringing about positive change in society, culture and health
Our Impact case studies highlight the positive change our multidisciplinary research is bringing to society, culture and health. The three case studies (described below) demonstrate how our creative practice research is engaging with communities, impacting on civic and health policy, and improving quality of life.
Lab4Living, set up in 2008, has well established pathways to impact and strategically engages stakeholders throughout research programmes. The ADMRC, established in 1993, has built expertise in research methodologies across art, design and media, as evidenced in these impact case studies:
Impact Case Studies
Bringing 20th century Scotland to the screen
Virginia Heath’s BAFTA nominated documentary ‘From Scotland With Love’ – commissioned for the 2014 Commonwealth Games – has become a touchstone of Scottish identity, and helped bring a new kind of history to audiences around the world. This film has been cited as an educational tool for opening up public access and cultural participation.
Lab4Living: How good design research can change lives
Research undertaken by Lab4Living has underpinned the development of a new generation of products for individuals living with long-term conditions. These have improved quality of life for people with motor neurone disease, cancer and dementia by promoting dignity and independence.
How a film about a planned uranium mine helped empower a small community in Greenland
Lise Autogena’s film about uranium mining in Greenland exposed how cultural taboos in dealing with conflicts can prevent democratic participation. ‘Kuannersuit; Kvanefjeld ‘investigated the potentially devastating environmental and societal risks from uranium mining in South Greenland. The research, using filmed documentation and artistic interventions, has given a voice to the community and stimulated public debate.
ADMRC and Lab4Living have worked together to build a fully searchable online archive of the detailed research outputs, developing a template which can capture the richness and share the scope and range of research undertaken in our sector. It is hoped that this archive will grow and provide a useful resource for researchers and students, and serve as a springboard for debate on practice-based research methods. We hope the archive will enable a systematic documentation of evidence of the societal impact generated from research undertaken in art, design and media.