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IARP 2022

Exploring Research Beyond Academia: Making New Connections

This is the second year of the Interdisciplinary Arts Research Project (IARP) which gives students from different departments at the Faculty of Arts a unique opportunity to work together.

Students participating in IARP have a chance to develop transferable skills such as teamwork, resilience, digital literacy, interdisciplinarity, public engagement, research ethics and most importantly applying research into practical outcomes which are central to IARP. Alongside working on the project, participants are supported by a series of workshops held in person or online on topics such as: Project Management, MC/Archives, Ethics, Digital Storytelling, Web design and Design thinking, Article Writing and An Interdisciplinary Career with an alumni guest speaker a successful writer Steve Attridge.

Student feedback shows that the students have benefited from IARP in varied ways. It has supported applications for future study, projects, and jobs, enabled them to develop new skills or build on existing extra-curricular achievements and pushed them to take on responsibilities outside their normal comfort zone. What’s more, it has transformed their often previously negative views towards group work activities. For many, this was the very first teamwork experience and what surprised them was how they were able to learn from each other and become more empathetic towards various opinions and points of view.

“From this experience I have learned that a large group is not necessarily a hinderance to progress and instead this large number can prove a vital strength to ensuring constant progress is being made.”

“IARP really provided me with a chance to meet new friends who have the same goal and same academic interests as me.”

Finally, the project has made students understand the links between various fields of research and skills which is the key element of IARP. In their own words:

Meeting people across different disciplines with varying interests has been rewarding as it has enabled me to see complex topics through different lenses.”

“I realised that often throughout the project, ideas did not necessarily need to have an obvious relation. Often, the connection becomes visible in the process.”

“It is a pleasant surprise, that this project has also given me the prospect of an independent research pursuit on a similar topic.”

Projects and Outputs

This year, there were three teams of students working on three separate project topics. The outputs for all the projects are ambitious and extensive, especially in terms of the enthusiasm for continuing the projects beyond the end of the academic year.

Project 1: Magical Realism: A Response to the Loneliness Epidemic

The first team made a comparative case study of Japanese and American literature, animation, and films such as Ghibli films and Murakami’s novels that demonstrate how both cultures turn to magical realism, spirituality and the supernatural as a means of escapism to confront the loneliness epidemic.

Project 2: Marginalised Voices: A Study of Intersectional Feminism in Performative Spaces

The second team project focused on the representations and experiences of intersectional feminism within performative spaces. Looking at how performance can be a way of engaging directly with social reality, not just as a medium but also to pose questions about how art relates to the wider social world.

Project 3: Cotton Factories in 19th Century Britain

The third team also the all-female team studied feminist articulations among 19th-century women working in the cotton fields and mills both in the British metropole and in the Empire. ​The aim has been to sketch out the ways in which these women constructed physical and intellectual spaces for themselves which facilitated the communication of ideas and negotiation of lived experiences.