Research

Attenborough Arts Centre works closely with academics and researchers from the University of Leicester and across the UK, investigating how the arts can support learning in a wide range of settings. Explore below to learn about active and past research we have undertaken.
Research enables us to develop our understanding of the world and each other. Without it our knowledge of the social and physical spaces we inhabit would not be the same. However, with any method of progression comes limitations. Due to the ‘standard’ practice through which research undergoes in many aspects it has lacked diversity, creativity, and true understanding of what successful engagement is outside of academia. The necessary skills required for effective communication, public engagement, and co-creation can be in short supply across many sectors.

It can be argued that the current process of research limits the ability to develop innovative ideas due to working within closed circles, which can stifle creative understanding and diversity within research and practice-based approaches. To help address this, we undertake collaborative research projects with the University of Leicester and other academics, with aims to not only address this problem but also build upon previous findings to shift institutional cultures within the research sector.

Attenborough Arts Centre and the University of Leicester are uniquely positioned to explore new ways of supporting collaborations between arts and research. Situated in one of the most diverse cities in Europe both institutions have always worked to engrain themselves within local communities to effect really change within the city and beyond.

Attenborough Arts Centre was purpose built to promote access and inclusion for disabled people by working with communities across the city. The university was founded through donations raised by the Leicester community in the early 20th century and has since then undertaken ground-breaking research into various sectors. This research has placed the university as leaders within ground-breaking research in various sectors.

Together each institution undertakes ground-breaking research between the arts and academia.

Active Research

Creative Engagement Fellowship: Phase 2

Funders: Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF), University of Leicester

The Creative Engagement Fellowship was developed to demonstrate the benefits of collaborative partnerships between the arts and research to enhance engagement within research. The interdisciplinary collaborations allow for greater diversity and inclusion within studies, ultimately making research more accessible. While the Fellowship champions the importance of engagement within research, it also provides open spaces for early career researchers and developing artists to exchange vital skills. Five projects are currently underway for 22/23.

SENsory Atelier Programme

Funders: Paul Hamlyn Foundation

SENsory Atelier gives space for children to lead their learning journeys, express themselves and access the world. It supports teachers without specialist arts subject / cultural education expertise, to enable children to lead the direction of enquiry, and reframe our understanding of how they learn. This collaborative approach shifts the schools’ reliance on external peripatetic staff, to giving teachers confidence and capacity to devise creative programmes informed by children themselves.

Medical Elective – Improving Empathy and Understanding in 3rd Year Doctors

The Medical School provide self-elect opportunities (SSC) for students to enhance their education with a programme of activities connecting doctors-in-training to artists, health practitioners and members of the community they will be working with once qualified. The focus of these various strands is always empathy and improving quality of care, but the outcome can be wider-reaching and more powerful – both for students and participants.  Our Learning and Outreach Manager, Marianne Pape, facilitates the elective yearly and inspires new generations of doctors everytime.

Past Research

Enhancing Student Critical Skills and Vlogging in History

With Professor Elizabeth Hurren, Professor of Modern History at University of Leicester

The aim was to provide translational opportunities for the students to engage with issues around the perfect and imperfect body, and how debates about this are shaped in popular culture and museum settings. The students visited relevant exhibitions at Attenborough Arts Centre to review these and interact with the key debates over the course of an academic year. Topics included new disability debates, fashioning mental health images, general body issues of ethnicity and exclusion in contemporary society. The students wrote up their experiences for Assignment A coursework. They also held regular debates on their new discoveries, and engaged in blogging to convey their lived experiences of what it meant to be involved in a museum culture.

Creative Engagement Fellowship: Phase 1

The Creative Engagement Fellowship was developed to demonstrate the benefits of collaborative partnerships between the arts and research to enhance engagement within research.

The interdisciplinary collaborations allow for greater diversity and inclusion within studies, ultimately making research more accessible. While the Fellowship champions the importance of engagement within research, it also provides open spaces for early career researchers and developing artists to exchange vital skills. Phase 1 was launched exploring the topics of either ‘Racial Equity 2020’ or ‘Beyond Ableist’.

Outside shot of Gallery 1, including the courtyard.

Furthering Access

We use AccessAble to easily showcase further information about our venue for everyone. By clicking here you can see pictures of the centre, inside and outside, access in-depth information about our site, and learn about our stair and door widths as needed. We want to be as open and honest as possible to allow everyone access to our building.