The Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) this week unveiled four new Hubs and pledged an investment of some £16 million over four years. The four new Hubs will have the task of building new partnerships and entrepreneurial capacity in the creative economy and increasing the number of arts and humanities researchers actively engaged in research-based knowledge exchange.
The University of the West of England (UWE) has been chosen to lead one of the Hubs and is teaming up with the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter and Cardiff, as well as Bristol's Watershed and a wide range of creative industry partners, to form the new Research & Enterprise in Arts & Creative Technologies Hub (REACT).
Engagement with the partners was managed for Bath by the Research Development & Support Office (RDSO).
Professor Jane Millar Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Bath welcomed the announcement. She said: "The University of Bath is delighted to be part of this exciting new project, bringing together academics, industry and artists."
Dr Danae Stanton Fraser, Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, will sit on the Hub’s management committee. She added: "The University of Bath is co-investigator on this new Knowledge Exchange Hub which has been established to boost the region's creative economy. We are delighted to be engaged in this exciting initiative working closely with the collaborating Universities and the Watershed to support transformative arts, humanities and technology research."
The Hub will be based in the Watershed's Pervasive Media Studio, which was established in 2008 and brings together artists, technologists and academics to explore the future of creative technologies.
The UK's creative economy – which includes the creative industries as well as museums, galleries, libraries, orchestras and theatres – is, relative to GDP, probably the largest creative sector in the world. As the major focus of AHRC's new knowledge exchange and impact strategy for 2011-2015, the Hubs will encourage significant interactions between research and the Creative Economy which will generate wider social, economic and cultural benefits.
David Willetts, Minister for Universities & Science said: "Interaction between businesses and universities is crucial for driving growth. It enables businesses and organisations to benefit from our world-class research base, gaining new knowledge and ideas. This major investment will not only enrich the creative industries but is also a vote of confidence in the excellent arts and humanities research at our higher education institutions."
CEO of the AHRC and Chair of the assessment panel which made the awards Professor Rick Rylance, added: "The UK is outstanding at many things and leads the world in some. Of these the quality and innovation of our research and the dynamism of our creative economy are two that stand out. These AHRC Creative Economy Hubs offer the opportunity to unite these sectors to the benefit of both sides and the country as a whole. The successful consortia emerged from an exceptionally strong field. We congratulate them; look forward to working closely with them over the next four years; and to welcoming the results of their work."