World-leading Research & Enterprise

Erin O’Connor models catalytic clothing
Catalytic Clothing, Professor Helen Story MBE, London College of Fashion, and Professor Tony Ryan OBE, University of Sheffield, 2012. Image from video directed by Adam Mufti. Modelled by Erin O’Connor.
  • Our purpose and key goals
  • Our strategic ambitions
  • Case study

Our purpose and key goals

This strategic area requires us to create and apply knowledge that develops our disciplines, makes a positive contribution to society and the economy, and generates new sources of income to support our academic ambition.

We will do this by:

  • continuing to generate world-leading research which is original, rigorous and reaches a wide audience;
  • using our research and enterprise to inform our curriculum and enhance student learning, at the same time making the most of our knowledge and expertise to generate income to support our academic ambitions;
  • promoting arts, design, fashion and communication as forms of productive knowledge that contribute positively to society and support scientific and cultural development;
  • encouraging the transfer of research into the field of enterprise so that it informs and stimulates the creative economy;
  • increasing our commitment to lifelong learning through new accredited and non-accredited courses, thereby expanding our academic enterprise activity. 

Our strategic ambitions

Specific initiatives to help us to achieve these goals will include:

  • the implementation of a post-Research Excellence Framework strategy which refreshes our research infrastructure and ensures that we can develop future researchers in the University’s core research areas, including through the increased use of sabbaticals for emerging researchers and more support for PhD students in these areas;
  • development of cross-University research themes that address emerging social issues;
  • increasing the number and range of our research collaborations, both with other complementary disciplines and with our peer institutions across the world;
  • building the new UAL Academic Enterprise Unit to help us to grow our income from our enterprise and research activities and maximize available income from research grants, both nationally and internationally;

Key performance indicators:

  • Research profile
  • Research staffing
  • Research student numbers and awards
  • Enterprise and income

Case study

Black Artists and Modernism

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) awarded UAL £722,000 to fund Black Artists and Modernism, a 3-year research project investigating the artworks of Black-British artists and the works’ relationship to modernism beginning in June 2015.

Black Artists and Modernism is led by the Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN) at UAL in partnership with Middlesex University. The term ‘Black-British’ takes its cue from political and cultural debates of the 1980s, where people of African-Caribbean, South-East Asian and East Asian descent identified common experiences of disenfranchisement. Designed to reach a wide audience from students and academics to a more general audience for the arts, BAM will focus its attention on highlighting art-works held in major public collections and key exhibitions that have taken place in the post-war period via an online database and website. The project will look at how these cultural artefacts have been framed within the larger story of 20th century art.

Black Artists and Modernism Project Leader and UAL Chair of Black Art and Design Professor Sonia Boyce said:

"We are delighted to receive this funding award from AHRC. Artists of African and Asian descent have been making art-works in Britain for over a hundred years, but so little is known about their work and how these artists have contributed to the greater story of modern art. The BAM research project will attempt to look at some of the marvellous contributions and create new insights."