Norwich University of the Arts
The ethos of a specialist academic culture underpins Norwich University of the Art‘s strategy for research, which focuses on generating new forms of creative practice informed by critical and cultural perspectives. NUA works with Universities, museums, galleries, and creative and cultural industries throughout the world, seeking to explore new ways in which art, design and media practice, interpretation and curation contribute to contemporary culture, society and public well-being.
Research produced by NUA staff, students and collaborators interrogates the contexts in which art, design and media are produced, understood, used, exchanged and sustained, setting out to challenge conventions, provide new insights and develop original applications. Their outcomes provide audiences with access to creative disciplines, innovative practices and cultural heritage. In developing the University’s research, staff and students have been publicly recognised for their work in the UK, Europe, the US, South America, North Africa, the Middle East, Australia and Asia.
NUA’s portfolio of activities comprises the following Research Themes:
Cultural and Political Narratives
NUA research into cultural and political narratives questions the interpretation and representation of contested creative and material practices, focusing on the cultural and political networks in which art, design and media are produced, valued and consumed. Through contemporary and historical approaches engaging both practice and criticism, work developed in this area pioneers understandings of the complex circumstances underlying creative and cultural practices and forms of communication. From curating major exhibitions for international museums, to developing new forms of literary criticism and representation and preparing major scholarly contributions, research in this area has engaged diverse audiences in Europe, Australia, the Middle East and US.
Digital and Physical Interactions
NUA research into digital and physical interactions investigates attitudes and approaches to the understanding of complex phenomena underpinning human cognition, behavior and experience. Through cross-disciplinary research engaging expertise in the physical sciences, work developed in this area expands knowledge and awareness of human processes such as vision, memory, navigation and reproduction. From producing city-wide navigable digital interventions, to investigating eye movement and reading, and creating audio-visual installations to explore attitudes towards birth, memory and medical imaging, research in this area has been installed, exhibited, performed and distributed through galleries, clinical research centres and public events in the UK, Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America.
Objects and Environments
NUA’s emerging research into objects and environments examines and develops insights into ways in which objects and environments are imagined, constructed and sustained. Through creative and theoretical practice, work developed in this area advances knowledge of human and cultural activities in areas such as design, architecture, pedagogy, museum and project learning, and textiles. Staff – in particular early career staff – and student research projects have been constructed in unique contexts, embedded in cultural organisations: from examining environmental frameworks for museum learning and live projects, to exploring cultural and historical attitudes to design.
Research Lead: Professor Julian Malins
Professor Malins joined the University in 2014 having spent two decades working at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Julian originally trained as a ceramicist and ran his own business in Surrey and Devon before retuning to higher education, completing his PhD in 1993. His doctoral research focused on the design of environmentally friendly kilns and glazing techniques.
Julian’s current research is concerned with the application of design thinking for innovation, which has resulted in contributions to a diverse range of research projects, including smart clothing for health and wellbeing, design for built heritage, and computer supported collaborative working. He is currently contributing to an FP7 ICT project entitled COnCEPT that aims to develop a web-based software platform to support professional designers during the early stages of the product design process.
Julian is visually impaired, and this has given him a unique perspective on the world and has helped fuel his enthusiasm for research and finding solutions to challenging problems.
He has published on a wide range of topics that include, design thinking for SMEs, computer supported design and collaborative practice, and research methods for art and design.