All of the staff supported by Manchester School of Art Research Centre are practising professionals and researchers in their fields, either as creative artists and designers, or through theoretical approaches to their subject. We have been rated as sixth in the UK for our research base, with two thirds of our research internationally excellent.
The Research Centre comprises of researchers and practitioners in contemporary art practice, visual culture, design, arts for health, media theory and practice, craft, and architecture.
Ongoing research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and other funding bodies; staff have had particular success with Arts Council funding, which backed the Asia Triennial Manchester festival; ongoing collaborations with the North West Film Archive have had direct impact on the communities of Greater Manchester. The School of Art has founding partner status with HOME, Manchester’s innovative arts centre, where three of the creative directors also hold professorships in the School. Staff in the Centre have an international reach with ongoing projects in China, Brazil, India and many other countries.
Manchester is a major centre for design and the creative industries, particularly new media design, and Manchester School of Art is well connected with design companies in the Northern Quarter and elsewhere. The Manchester design festival, Design Manchester was co-founded by the School of Art and the Centre also has strong relationships with other galleries and cultural organisations in the city.
There are over 100 research active staff supported by Manchester School of Art Research Centre and it delivers one of the largest art and design research degree programmes in the UK. Particular strengths are in Fine Art, visual cultures, arts for health, Asian cultures, digital arts, and contemporary ceramics and textile practice.
In an age where more people live in the city than the countryside, issues of architecture and its relationship to urbanism have never been more intellectually fascinating, socially vital and environmentally urgent.
Debates about the role of architecture in an age of economic globalisation, technological futurism, environmental fatalism and deepening social division demands an approach to architectural studies that draws upon a diverse range of practices and plural forms of knowledge.
The Art Research Group focuses on practice-based and theoretical research in contemporary Fine Art. The group explore diverse models for creative practice ranging from performances, to free share sound archives to painting, sculpture (analogue and digital), time based arts, drawing, printing and photography. These models of practice are explored in the public, nationally and internationally through exhibitions, seminars, conferences, screenings, events and critical writing.
The group contributes to the overall research culture and expertise at Manchester School of Art through the international and national profile of the staff, who are creating cutting-edge exhibitions, events, installations, performances, radio programmes, writing and curated exhibitions.
The Crafts Research Group is focused on the production and dissemination of high quality research in the contemporary crafts at Manchester School of Art. The group promotes the development of research activity in the history, theory and practice of craft, encourages collaboration, and supports a growing practice as research culture within the discipline.
Acting as a focus of creative production, constructive exchange and critical reflection, the Crafts Research Group encourages and supports the activities of researchers, makers and theorists across a wide range of contemporary making practices. Through projects such as 'Pairings', the group actively promotes interaction between subject areas (from both inside and outside of recognised craft boundaries) and between scholarship and studio practice.
The Design Research Group encourages and supports both new and established researchers who are exploring the theories, histories and practices of a diverse range of design activities. It encourages collaboration and consists of academics, researchers and practitioners drawn from spatial, environmental, graphic, fashion, media, two and three-dimensional art and design disciplines.
Key themes and interests are environments, type, narrative, digital, objects and the language of design.The aims of the centre are to examine the role of design, in its diversity of forms, and to recognise, evaluate and profile its significance.
The Media Research Group is an implicitly interdisciplinary group that supports staff from a wide range of disciplinary fields including film, video, robotic and sound installation, Film and Media Studies, Filmmaking, Interactive Arts and Creative Multimedia.
Research areas include Duration and temporality of the 'still' image, Filmmaking materiality in photographic and film practices, New technologies and the material culture of archives, Geomedia, mapping and movement in contemporary art and visual culture, Women in comics and subcultural identities, National identity through film and popular culture.
Members of the Visual Culture Group explore theories, histories, practices and reception of the visual manifestations of culture. Our wide-ranging research is linked by the role of visuality in creating and communicating meaning and by its focus on visual experience and visual literacy.
The Visual Culture Group is concerned with the broad range of knowledge and understanding centred upon images as means of conveying and creating cultural meaning. Members research histories, theories, and practices of the visual manifestations of culture — their production, circulation, and reception, as well as visuality and spectatorship across various artistic and commercial media and display forms. The group explores the dynamics of visual media in contemporary and historical institutions, power systems, discourses and conflicts: political ideology, post-colonialism, commodification, globalisation.
APE is a visionary research community that will challenge and experiment through/in/out/between/in-between/about/for pedagogy within art, design, media and architecture. Experimental and dynamic addressing a values based education and how values affect us both personal and institutional. Experimental and Improvisational. How values affect us, our communities and the influence they have. Forms of Inquiry. It will resist the broader agendas and look to a sense of vision i.e. Black Mountain College and recapture that holistic vision. New Territories. Education Flow. How education communities work. How things are negotiated within teaching and learning. transitions. Interdiscplinarity. Pedagogic play and creativity. Exploration. It will do contextual and action orientated research and have an application into teaching/practice.
This inter-disciplinary grouping will explore the relationship between the arts/design and public health at personal and societal levels. It will investigate socially engaged practice and where relevant, product development. It aspires to influence policy through research, practice and advocacy, keeping curiosity and exemplary arts processes at its core.
This group seeks to impact on the public health and wellbeing agenda. This is a multi-faceted agenda that includes the upstream promotion of health and the support of services focused on both illness and prevention/protection and care.
Critically, health and wellbeing are influenced by other factors in life that are outside of the NHS, therefore, this research grouping has an overarching focus on the social determinants of health – the factors that underpin both health and wellbeing. The group will look specifically at the relationship between all art forms and health, wellbeing and inequalities at the personal and societal levels.
The Asian Cultures Research Group aims to bring cultural, social, and economic impact intersecting a critical understanding of specialist research to the international platform. Manchester is a diverse city, connecting cultures and Asian communities who have lived here for several generations.
The group disseminate new knowledge to partners. They champion new and innovative 21st century cultural ideas that contribute strongly to Manchester's ambitions to be ‘Culturally Distinctive’ and ‘Culturally Connected’ – a city with an international reputation for arts and culture.
The Asian Cultures Research Group respond to the changing global economic market to develop and strengthen our research links with new and growing markets such as China, India and the Middle East.
The Future Technologies Research Group in the School of Art engages with a range of interdisciplinary research activities that are fundamentally collaborative. The group members are researchers working in the intersections between Art and other disciplinary fields including Science, Engineering, Humanities and Healthcare. By its very nature, this research pushes at the boundaries of current knowledge towards the as yet unnamed technologies of the future.
Opportunities for this group membership lies in knowledge sharing and dissemination of research through our joint interdisciplinary channels. Through identified cross-university shared interest groups, the FTG will formulate collaborative interdisciplinary research projects.
LiFE Research Group explores and reinvents the way we live through investigative future visioning projects. Creating collaborative platforms between departments, faculties, commercial partners and international organisations, LiFE proposes ideologies for sustainable living. It is a laboratory for testing, crafting capabilities, challenging thinking and innovating the everyday.
LiFE shifts the way we think about future living. The Greek word oikos means house or dwelling – it is the root of the words ecology and economy. In the context of the ‘home', ecology determines the philosophy through which home is used by the ‘family' as an interface to the community and city
12th July 2017
Creative excellence showcased at Manchester International Festival
University hosts 'Mancunia Salon' as part of world-renowned festival
7th December 2016
3D-printed sculpture honours Metrolink's second city crossing
Artwork now buried in special tram time capsule
14th November 2016
Filmmaker scoops prestigious research award
Documentary-style film explores recovery and hope
21st December 2015
How a single image changed the immigration debate
Manchester School of Art researchers contribute to report
8th December 2015
£10 million project explores "Internet of Things"
Manchester to become a demonstrator city with Government grant
4th December 2015
Veterans' families have first look at "Calling Blighty"
Screening shows footage for the first time in 70 years.
24th March 2015
Student chosen for international art festival
Award winning artist to showcase glass sculpture
18th December 2014
MMU rises significantly in UK research rankings
200 researchers 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'