Research and enterprise
Our research and enterprise strategy
BIMM University is committed to an ethos that aims to ensure that teaching and learning across all of its colleges and courses is informed, enhanced and enriched by professional practice, research and scholarship.
We believe that it is essential to define research in the creative and performing arts. Research in this context includes various approaches and strategies that lead to cognitive and embodied ways of understanding and experiencing the world involving our senses, emotions, imagination, language(s) and intellect.
These ways of knowing the world can generate fresh insights and new perspectives relevant to understanding our creative practice and the exploration of a diverse range of social and cultural phenomena. The field of creative and performing arts research is constantly developing, and likewise, the definition of research in the creative and performing arts is continuously evolving.
Enterprise is defined here as the generation and application of ideas, which are set within practical situations during a project or undertaking. This is a generic concept that can be applied across all areas of education and professional life.
It combines creativity, originality, initiative, idea generation, design thinking, adaptability and reflexivity with problem identification, problem-solving, innovation, expression, communication and practical action.
Research at the University primarily focuses on creative arts and industries practices. Research in this instance can be described as practice research. Practice research is a type of research where practice is the primary methodological approach conveyed in a research output, and a research narrative articulates the research inquiry that has emerged in practice.
Practice research exists across and beyond the traditional boundaries of subject disciplines. However, this definition can also be refined to include practice-based research, where a creative artefact is the basis of the contribution to knowledge and practice-led research, where investigation primarily leads to new understandings about practice.
Using the above approaches, the research practices established at the University will seek to foster a culture that interrogates and challenges established research methodologies to place creativity at the heart of excellence in exploration and enquiry.
Leadership in Research & Enterprise
In September 2015, the University established a Research & Enterprise Committee, a subcommittee of the Academic Board, to oversee the development and implementation of the University’s Research & Enterprise Strategy and to monitor the effectiveness of the research activities undertaken across all colleges. For this strategy, membership of the Research & Enterprise Committee will include members of academic management and teaching staff with an interest in and experience in research, plus external advisors with research and enterprise expertise.
The aims of the Research and Enterprise Strategy are to:
- Establish the University as a centre of excellence in utilising professional practice as a foundation for research.
- Ensure that teaching and learning across the curriculum is informed, enhanced and enriched by practice-based and practice-led research.
- Support staff to produce and disseminate nationally and internationally recognised research outputs, including text, practice, and artistic artefacts.
- Build research capacity through the development of postgraduate programmes and development opportunities.
- Foster a diverse community of enquiry that is accessible, supportive and enabling.
- Work collaboratively with partners in the Higher Education sector of national and international standing.
- Engage collaboratively with the creative industries to undertake research that benefits those industries and society more widely at the national and international levels.
- Build the capacity to source and secure external or matching funding, and devise plans for generating earned income.
Delivery and Evaluation
The Research & Enterprise Committee will monitor progress in implementing the Research & Enterprise Strategy through its oversight of the Research Action Plan. The Research Action Plan will define actions, set targets for meeting our strategic objectives and be reviewed annually. In addition, the Research and Enterprise Committee will report on the success of the strategy to Academic Board through its minutes. You can find our academic governance structure here.
Methodology – Theory of Change
Theory of Change is a methodology for planning, participation, and evaluation to promote social change. A Theory of Change describes the underlying assumptions about how planned activities will lead to intended outcomes. By developing a model setting out our Theory of Change, we can understand how different aspects of the interventions we are planning fit together to achieve our final goal(s). This is best done collectively, drawing on the experience of those who will work on implementation.
A Theory of Change model allows us to:
- Describe the need we are trying to address.
- Describe the changes we want to make (our outcomes).
- Describe our plan to achieve these changes (our activities).
Establishing Theory of Change before we start to deliver an intervention allows us to set out the aims, context and resources required, processes and intended impact.
Evaluating the Impact of our Work
Theories of Change also serve to integrate process and impact evaluation into the same process whilst clearly distinguishing evaluative activities relating to process and those focusing on measures relating to impact(s). The evaluation of an intervention’s inputs, activities, and outputs forms the process and implementation evaluation, which then logically feeds into the outcomes and impacts of an intervention – the impact evaluation.
Please find a downloadable version of the strategy below, which includes a full set of references.
Ethical approval of primary research by staff and students
Reporting to the Research and Enterprise Committee is the Ethical Approval Committee.
Research conducted by staff and students may require ethical approval, particularly primary research. Please see the policy and ethical review forms for undergraduate or postgraduate/staff research proposals below:
Ethical Approval Policy & Procedure (PDF)
Ethical Approval Form – Undergraduate (Word)
Ethical Approval Form – Postgraduate and Staff (Word)
Research Data Governance Policy (PDF)
The BIMM University Postgraduate School
Established in 2018 the Postgraduate School works at group level across the University to provide a single structural entity to assure good academic governance and clear strategic direction for the University’s entire postgraduate provision. Led by the Dean of Learning, Teaching and Research Professor Mark Irwin, the school currently oversees the academic delivery and quality of our taught master’s programmes offered in Brighton, Bristol, Dublin, Manchester, Birmingham, Essex and London and our Group-wide specialist staff teacher training programme the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (Professional Practice).
MA Learning & Teaching in the Creative Industries