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Research in Art and Design

Research and Innovation are well established within UWTSD’s Wales Institute of Science and Art. Academics in the Institute are research active with many artists, designers and critical thinkers recognised as being at the cutting edge of their fields.

Research covers the broad range of methodologies and approaches from fine art and critical theory in the Swansea College of Art and applied design research in four specialist design centres, each of which interface with the needs of life-sciences and health professionals.

This research is therefore focused on two main areas:

  • Design for Life-Science, Health and Wellbeing
  • Contemporary Arts Practice

Read more about each area of research below:

Design for Life-Science, Health and Wellbeing

Design for Life-Science, Health and Wellbeing

Design based research has an applied focus and is principally based on the needs of the life-science and health sector, including NHS, health-based charities, industry, private sector service providers and veterinary sciences.  This work is organised in three research centres.

The Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre (ATiC), established in 2015, collaborates with the private sector, NHS trusts, research charities, and academic partners in the development of innovative products, services and systems in the health and wellbeing sector.

The Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC), established in 2004, is a collaborative endeavour between national charity Cerebra and UWTSD which conducts applied research to design and manufacture bespoke equipment for children with neurodevelopmental conditions where there is a shortfall in market-available products.

The Wales Centre for Advanced Batch Manufacturing (CBM) was established in 2014 and is a leading authority in additive manufacture specialising in industry focused research, product development and batch manufacturing. CBM supports innovation across a wide range of disciplines and industry sectors including medical, veterinary and dental, aerospace and automotive.

Contemporary Arts Practice

Contemporary Arts Practice

Swansea College of Art has a long and established record of excellence in practice-based research drawing on interdisciplinary and collaborative research methodologies. Such creative explorations position our research nationally, with strong ties to Welsh art and culture, and internationally showcasing our innovative contemporary practices. 

As such work fits into three broad themes, of collaborative research with healthcare professions and communities to promote health and welling, with particular reference to sexual identity and sexual health; socio-geographic themes of identity, community and belonging, these ranging from local site responsive work to global geo-political issues;  theoretically informed work based on perceptions and readings, for example audience relationships with creative forms and objects, and also work on drawing, creativity, semiotics and literary criticism.

Creative Industries Research and Innovation Centre (CIRIC) which has since 2005 been the primary vehicle for the development of multi-disciplinary, multi-partner collaborative knowledge exchange projects in the creative and cultural industries, and the

Metadesign Research Centre (MDRC). Launched in 2019, MDRC acts as a bridging, collaborative and creative research space for those working in contemporary arts practice and those in design for life-science, health and wellbeing.

Postgraduate Research Students

Postgraduate Research Students

The Institute has a lively postgraduate culture, with thriving MA and PhD programmes in the areas of art and design.  Since 2014, forty students have joined our PhD programmes and twenty research degrees were awarded. A key priority in this regard has been to develop collaborative and funded projects with industry, the NHS and the third sector, which are aligned to our strong practice-facing research and knowledge exchange strategy.

In this regard, we have seven Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) PhD scholarships with funding from the European Social Fund.  Since 2015 CBM has also funded three full PhD scholarships focussing on the application of advanced manufacturing technologies to the medical sector.

Research Excellence Framework (REF2014)

Swansea College of Art’s research submission to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework was assessed under the auspices of the Wales Institute for Research in Art and Design (WIRAD); a partnership with art and design researchers at Cardiff Metropolitan University, the University of South Wales and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

The panel rated 97% of WIRAD’s research as an international standard, with 75% rated as either Internationally Excellent or World Leading.

Read more about each area of research below: