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Place-based Research and Culture Programme

Cultural Strategy

All 6 funded projects will contribute to Warwick’s new cultural strategy which aims to 'inspire', 'connect' and 'enable'.

A key outcome is for "...research collaborations with local cultural sector, organisations and communities (that) strengthen the University’s ties with place and its reputation as a centre of excellence for place based research."

Place-based Research and Culture Funding Call 2023

Launched in August 2023 the call aimed to support Warwick researchers to work with cultural organisations, creatives, public and third sector organisations to co-create and deliver research and impact projects that address regional, local and community challenges.

A high-number of high-quality applications were received.

Five exciting and innovative projects, working with around 28 local artists, creative organisations, community groups, schools, public sector organisations and charities, have been awarded a combined total of over £122,000.

"The Place-based research and Culture Programme builds on our successful track-record of researchers collaborating with artists, local organisations and communities. These five imaginative and creative projects will make a difference to the lives and aspirations of the city and region and pioneer new methods for inter-disciplinary place based research. A vital programme that supports key outcomes in Warwick’s Culture strategy."

Jonothan Neelands (Academic Director for Cultural Partnerships, UoW)

"Our place-based research programme plays a central role in advancing the University of Warwick’s research impact in Coventry and the West Midlands region with a focus upon addressing real world challenges in an interdisciplinary and co-produced way. Through this fund we have supported Warwick researchers to collaborate with external partners to co-create and co-produce work that investigates a range of locally important topics such as household carbon emissions, fuel poverty, the inclusion of minority communities in research, and the importance of trust in policing."

Jon Coaffee (Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, UoW)

Creating sustainable communities: a place-based approach to housing retrofitting

Researcher: Lory BarileLink opens in a new window

Department: EconomicsLink opens in a new window

Public Sector Partner: Coventry City CouncilLink opens in a new window and St Augustine's Primary SchoolLink opens in a new window, Radford

Creative Partner: Real ArtLink opens in a new window

Recent national statistics reveal that Coventry is one of the worst affected authorities in the country by fuel poverty, with some areas recording more than 50% of households in fuel poverty. Understanding the challenge of engaging residents with retrofit measures in the local area is crucial for the success of the Coventry’s net zero roadmap.

Using a place-based approach and working with the local communities in Coventry, we prototype and test a new experimental methodology with elements of design thinking to better understand barriers to engagement with retrofit measures designed to reduce household carbon emissions and alleviate fuel poverty.

With the support of experienced arts professionals and a local school in Radford, the project aims to reach out the adult population living in the area to increase awareness of retrofit measures and understand barriers to engagement with schemes designed to improve their houses’ energy efficiency. The project’s goal is to help Coventry City Council increase the uptake of energy efficiency schemes for eligible households in the local area. If successful the methodology and pilot scheme will be expanded to additional areas of Coventry (i.e., St Micheals and Foleshill).

Research Lead Lory says -

“I am extremely grateful for this grant, which will give me an opportunity to continue to work with the Council and the local community to foster sustainable development. Using a bottom-up and human-centred approach to the problem of housing retrofitting, this project has the potential to build capacity for driving real change and contribute to the acceleration of the Coventry’s net zero agenda, fostering decision-making processes able to reflect the needs and aspirations of the local community.”

Promoting inclusion of racially minoritized communities in research.

Researchers: Abimbola AyorindeLink opens in a new window and Raheela ShaikhLink opens in a new window

Department: Warwick Medical SchoolLink opens in a new window

Partners: Community groups including - Bangladeshi Women's AssociationLink opens in a new window, UK Islamic MissionLink opens in a new window, Coventry Empowered African Women Group, Central HallLink opens in a new window, British Nationals Overseas, Maxival Recruitment and ConsultancyLink opens in a new window.

Creative Partner: Radman TV

The underrepresentation of minority ethnic groups in research is a recognised issue, stemming from mistrust, historic mistreatment, language, and accessibility barriers. Consequently, some research findings are not applicable to these groups.

The project's goal is to promote inclusion of people from minority ethnic groups in research through our newly formed knowledge partnership - the West Midlands Knowledge Partnership for Race Equity. We will have workshops to understand these communities’ views about health research.

We will create a video highlighting research benefits and importance of participation, featuring diverse voices. We will produce an interactive map of community organisations/groups serving minority ethnic populations. These will promote equitable research participation, collaboration, and knowledge exchange.

Further information: Knowledge Partnership (warwick.ac.uk)

Abimbola said that...

“We are thrilled to receive this grant to further support our Knowledge Partnership for Race Equity. This generous support propels us towards dismantling barriers that have long hindered the representation of minority ethnic groups in research. We can't wait to turn our ideas into impactful realities.”

Imagination to Impact – Creative Problem-Solving in the Coventry and Warwickshire Voluntary Sector

Researchers: Tamara L. FriedrichLink opens in a new window and Haley BeerLink opens in a new window

Department: Warwick Business SchoolLink opens in a new window

Partners: Heritage and Culture WarwickshireLink opens in a new window, Warwickshire & Solihull Community and Voluntary ActionLink opens in a new window, Volunteer Action CoventryLink opens in a new window and Warwick Volunteers.Link opens in a new window

Voluntary organizations provide essential support to communities where the public and private sectors may lack incentives or resources to. Although they often have to find creative ways to aid their communities, little is known about creative problem-solving in this context.

Our project utilizes qualitative data to uncover the barriers and facilitators of creative problem-solving in volunteering. We aim to produce evidence-based guidance for addressing community challenges through creativity.

We will disseminate findings via a user-focused report, online training, and in-person workshop. These resources will empower local voluntary organizations to share best practices and equip their volunteers with creative problem-solving tools.

Research Lead Tamara says -

"Volunteers play such a vital role in our communities and we know they have to regularly solve problems in creative ways to address the needs of those they serve. We are very grateful for this grant, which will allow us to conduct research to better understand the creative power of volunteers, support them in sharing their creative best practices, and provide them with evidence-based techniques for boosting their creative problem-solving even more."

Young people and Policing in West Midlands: Exploring Trust-building through Arts and Culture

Researchers: Jackie HodgsonLink opens in a new window and Rachel LewisLink opens in a new window

Department: School of LawLink opens in a new window

Public Sector Partners: 5 local schools

Creative Partners: The Belgrade TheatreLink opens in a new window, Jen DaviesLink opens in a new window (Dramaturg) and Amhara SpenceLink opens in a new window (Writer and workshop facilitator).

Our research engages with a key contemporary challenge – the current crisis in police legitimacy and the high levels of public distrust in police institutions. We are currently working with a creative team and the Belgrade Theatre to commission a new piece of writing for a performance that explores findings from our research, engaging with complex questions around police-community relations, mutual perceptions, and the possibilities which may be afforded by arts and culture as a medium for effecting change in police practice.

In this next phase of the project, we will take this theatrical performance into 5 secondary schools in the West Midlands in order to enable more young people and school staff to explore and reflect on these pressing issues. Additional workshops and wraparound activity will allow young people, who are often the object of police attention, to share their perspectives on policing in the city, to engage with questions around police practice, and to add to the knowledge and understanding of key local challenges amongst academics, police representatives, and creative practitioners.

The project is also valuable in bringing a creative project into school spaces, to work with teachers and to support young people and children (many of whom will not have the opportunity to access arts and culture on a regular basis, if at all) to engage with arts and culture at no financial cost.

Further information on the original research project is available here: Policing, Culture & CommunityLink opens in a new window

Upon receiving the award Jackie said -

“This additional funding means that we can continue to develop the work around policing and young people with playwright Amahra Spence and director/dramaturg Jen Davies. We have already achieved so much by working together, experiencing the power of the arts to give space for important but seldom heard voices. We are very excited to have the opportunity to continue developing our research and impact in this way.”

Acting on Climate: Growing Youth Eco-Citizenship across the City and Beyond (Creatives strand)

Researchers: Rachel Turner-KingLink opens in a new window and Bobby SmithLink opens in a new window

Departments: Education StudiesLink opens in a new window and Theatre and Performance StudiesLink opens in a new window

Creative Partners: Ascension Dance - Youth Urban Dance CollectiveLink opens in a new window, Earthbound Physical Theatre MakersLink opens in a new window, John Bernard - Spoken Word ArtistLink opens in a new window, Lens Change LtdLink opens in a new window.

Building on ongoing research investigating arts-led approaches to understanding the climate crisis, this project establishes a network of experts from local arts organisations with links to hard-to-reach groups of children, young people and community groups.

Drawing on our innovative approaches developed through previous work co-produced with young people in Coventry, this project invites three creative responses from professional artists, helping us to test Acting on Climate’s resonances, relevance, adaptability, and scalability.

This will result in understanding how our resources can inspire and influence professional artists’ practice within the informal learning sector, leading to a sharing of outputs in Summer 2024. The Participatory Research Fund has funded a sister project (teachers strand) working with local teachers and both projects will run concurrently and create a network of teachers and creatives.

Further information about the Acting on Climate programme can be found here: Acting On Climate (warwick.ac.uk)

This project combines with/compliments an additional 'teachers strand' funded by the Participatory Research Fund.

Public Sector Partners: President Kennedy School Link opens in a new window(lead) and other local schools and teachers.

Which aims to enhance the efficacy and relevance of the projects resources by actively engages teachers across various disciplines. This will enable the team to gain deeper insights into the existing landscape of climate education within UK secondary schools and pinpoint areas where our resources can best serve the formal educational sector. The project asks: how do we teach young people about climate change through the arts? And how can we further develop our existing resources to respond to the needs of teachers?

The team, teachers and artists will work together as co-creators in an ongoing, reflective, and dialogic research cycle, to help test potential and refine teaching resources in accordance with curriculum requirements.

Port-Hope: (Re) Evaluating Urban Cultural Spaces in Inner City Birmingham.

Researcher: James HodkinsonLink opens in a new window

Department: Schools of Modern Languages and CulturesLink opens in a new window

Creative and Community Partners: Soul City Arts, BirminghamLink opens in a new window

SCA's place-based research programme comprises two events, run during spring and summer 2024 from their Port-Hope base in Sparkhill, Birmingham. The events will widen community access to world class culture and cuisine in a deprived area, strengthen community identity and civic pride by preserving cultural heritage, bring economic benefits to local businesses, and virtually connect local audiences with other diasporic/ heritage communities globally,

The South-Asian Festival will screen two contrasting independent (license free) South-Asian, English-captioned films from different epochs, which will attract South-Asian audiences of differing generational, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds. The team will record group discussions and run interviews to capture qualitative narrative reflection on the ongoing value of reviving cinema within community spaces and use quantitative methodologies to track the number and cultural demographics of those attending and work out the cost of running subsidised Asian cinema programmes at Port Hope, as benchmarked against mainstream cinema prices. 

The Global Dining Exchange will promote local chefs and restaurants on local and global stages, allowing the team to assess the value of trans-nationalising our heritage dialogues and develop the use of Port Hope for wider international community engagement.

Partners will co-author three research outcomes, which will help SCA to evaluate the economic and cultural value of the programmes run from Port-Hope, underpin strategies for extending the reach of their programmes beyond generic Muslim/Asian audiences to engage Pakistani, Bengali and other heritage communities more directly, and strengthen lobbying pitches for continued rent reductions and inform future programmes and funding bids to ensure the ongoing buoyancy of the organisation.