Hats, Hearts and Hat-tricks: NWCDTP Knowledge Exchange Day 19 May 2015

by | May 20, 2015 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

NW Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership Day of Exchange Between the DTP’s cultural partners and students 19 May 2015
Brief Context:
Impact has become an important criterion in evaluating research work and is measured by the research’s heartbeat, amplification or resonance outside of the academy : typically for the humanities, the social, cultural economic benefits stemming from the research,  Impact is measured as part of the Research Excellence Framework. The placement of a PhD student or their collaboration with cultural organisations, such as those that are partners in the NWCDTP, is one means by which that outside-the-academy impact can be made.  Five organisations made presentations, showed the cut of their jib, the angle of their hat(s).
Organise festivals not just in UK across the world on the theme. Their name is slightly tongue in cheek but sets out their stall effectively. Since research is about discovering and ushering in the new, they are natural partners. (They also had the funkiest slide show on the day).

Opera North
They have a highly innovatory, risk embracing programme called Dare, that is the experiment space, workshop and can become the showcase for new iterations of the form. They talked around coming into opera via its components to escape some of the word, ‘Opera’s popular layerings of meaning.
Tate Liverpool
Research is an integral part of what Tate Liverpool does and they have a highly evolved management process to embrace it. Numerous PhD researchers have been/are associated or hosted by Tate – it is at the heart of what they do – and these researchers have an unexpectedly broad number of briefs/ research interests. There is a range of activities PhD placement students could get involved in, which can scale to the degree of engagement, both shorter and longer than the 3 month ball-park NWCDTP engagement length.

National Football Museum
Linked with the International Football Institute and the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for the Study of Football and Its Communities, they are hungry for researchers and have good autonomy – not controlled by the FA or other potential stakeholders – so research can go into any areas around football, there are no off-limits. They showed a hat-trick and more of potential areas for further research and engagement.
FACT (which began as Moviola), have been a decade in their new building in Liverpool and attracting a very high footfall, have become in that short space of time a highly popular visitor attraction. They bring people, art and technology together and have a lab based approach to innovation and research, which attempts to allow all key potential contributors to interact in a natural way and also aspires to a porosity such that the public can also engage with the work. They have set up FACTLab, and also artplayer.tv – a platform for sharing thinking and work around the arts and creative technology.
Other cultural organisations linked with the NWCDTP programme include MOSI, HOME, Staffordshire & Stoke On Trent Archives and BBC.

Three PhD students then presented their work and considered how they might work with a cultural organisation: Ruth Abou Rached (Translation Studies, University of Manchester) who presented on translating Iraqi women’s voices from Arabic to English; Lesley Halliwell, (Visual Arts, MMU) who introduced and discussed her large scale pattern work; and Peter Kalu (Creative Writing, Lancaster) who talked about his creative writing.
There followed two animated and convivial break-out sessions in which a more informal roundtable dialogue was opened between the cultural organisations and which allowed all students to put forward their thoughts, questions, considerations, reservations and inspirations.

Personal Assessment (PK)
As is perhaps the pattern for me at conferences and Exchange days, I found the informal spaces the most memorable. I walked in at the beginning of the day feeling I hardly knew anyone and walked out at 4.30pm with two new PhD student friends who have completely different research interests to my own (a translator and a film maker) but who share my passionate-about-research glow. I also had a better idea of what makes a couple of the NWCDTP cultural organisation partners tick: their hesitations as well as their certainties, their hearts as well as their heads. (Draft)