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Introducing UAL's new Knowledge Exchange Strategy 2021-26

Group of people gathered around a table looking at different objects and devices
Group of people gathered around a table looking at different objects and devices
Presentation with MA Material Futures cohort at Central Saint Martins | Photographer: John Sturrock.
Written by
Alexandra R. Cifre
Published date
24 May 2021

The publication of the Knowledge Exchange Strategy 2021-26 represents a new milestone for this ever-growing area within University of the Arts London. The new strategy highlights the University's distinctive approach to knowledge exchange (KE) as an arts and design institution and sets out ambitious objectives relating to the 5 key areas that define KE at UAL: Graduate Futures, Lifelong learning, R&D and Innovation, Public Engagement and Place-Making.

A clear vision and a powerful mission

With social justice and sustainability as fundamental values embedded across our activities with external partners, this new strategy reframes KE at UAL as a form of social entrepreneurship which promotes the value of creativity to deliver positive change in society, the economy and the environment.

The vision for the next 5 years is to establish UAL’s KE ecosystem as world-class, characterised by the delivery of high-quality initiatives which are driven by collaboration and creativity, and which empower and enrich the communities and places in which they are situated.

Working together across the University, and with multi-disciplinary partners, our mission is to deliver transformative KE capable of tackling major global challenges, empowering future generations of creative change-makers and demonstrating the societal value of creativity-driven innovation.

Alisdair Aldous, Director of Knowledge Exchange at UAL:

I think we’re ahead of the curve in the sector in understanding the importance and relevance of KE as a critical activity for universities to demonstrate their public value.  As society’s challenges become increasingly complex, our new KE Strategy should provide us with a clear way of structuring, focusing and delivering our response in collaboration with our external partners partners and communities.

James Purnell, UAL’s President and Vice-Chancellor:

KE is a fundamental tool for us to demonstrate the value and transformative potential of creativity. Whether it’s working with local communities to create new opportunities or supporting the future of the creative economy, this vital work changes lives, shapes industry and continues to strengthen the case for arts education.

Our 5 key areas of mission-driven activity

The KE Strategy 2021-26 includes 5 key areas of activity that are shaped by our values of social justice and sustainability, and are underpinned by our commitment to evaluation and continuous improvement:

  • Empowering creative agents – inspiring new generations of creative entrepreneurs, innovators and change-makers
  • Enhancing creative capacity - reinforcing the power of creativity through excellence in training and practice across the world
  • Innovating creative solutions - pursuing partnerships led by powerful people-centred approaches to global and local challenges
  • Inspiring creative change – facilitating positive change through high quality public and community engagement initiatives
  • Co-creating better places - collaborating with local stakeholders to create new economic, social, environmental and cultural capital

Together with Research and Teaching & Learning, KE is one of UAL’s key priorities and is connected to the 4 pillars of the UAL Strategy 2015-22. The new KE Strategy 2021-26 directly responds to the challenges set up in the strategic area of ‘World Leading Research and Enterprise’, and it also contributes significantly to the areas of ‘Transformative Education’, ‘Communication and Collaboration’ and ‘Building an Inspirational Environment’.

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