IIH Research

The Innovation Insights Hub undertakes action-oriented, cross-disciplinary research combining the expertise of UAL with the visions, needs and capacities of its partners and the communities they work with. Its projects are agile, creative and oriented towards achieving impact.

Current projects explore business models in the arts and cultural sector, the application of ‘design thinking’ to policy making practices and processes in government, and the intersections between design, arts expertise and big data. 

Creative Lenses is a four-year action research project funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission. The aim of the project is to understand and develop capabilities in business model innovation in the arts and cultural sector. The project brings together a range of partners from across Europe including two networks of arts organisations, as well as innovative cultural centres and venues and two universities. UAL’s role includes contributing an action research methodology to learn from a series of experimental ‘catalyst’ projects in which the arts organisations try out new approaches to develop aspects of their business models. 

Design Thinking and Policy Practice is an evolving series of small projects which together explore, investigate and assess the contributions that ‘designerly’ expertise can make to policy making practices and processes. It includes an innovative collaboration with the Policy Institute at Kings College London, which involves joint PhD studentships to build knowledge about this emerging field. 

The Data Studio is an ongoing practical experiment that explores what happens when the generative, material practices of the art and design studio encounter ‘big data’. Through a series of small workshops with external partners, these explorations aim to develop a proposal for what a ‘data studio’ approach might be. These experiments aim to build on and contribute to related research such as ‘data sprints’ in digital sociology, the growing field of digital humanities, and interaction design research and practice.