In RAE 2008, 100% its research was rated as of international standing, with 75% of this as "world leading" or of "international excellence", placing CREAM as the top art and design department in London, and in the top six in the UK, according to Times Higher Education and Guardian league tables."
The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) has a portfolio of research across the disciplines of ceramics, visual arts, photography, film, experimental media, music and fashion. CREAM runs a lively programme of seminars and visiting speakers, and has organised ground-breaking conferences and symposia in collaboration with other institutions. These range from a conference on Jean Rouchs films in collaboration with the Institute Francais to a symposium on fashion photography in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. CREAM has been a key participant in debates on practice-based research in audio-visual media and was a founding member of the AHRC-funded initiative, AVPhD.
Researchers at the Centre have exhibited and curated work at a variety of national and international venues: Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Compton Verney, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the World Ceramic Exposition in Korea, Chicagos Museum of Photography, and many other places. CREAM artists also exhibit their work at P3, the universitys new gallery at the Marylebone Campus, and at London Gallery West on the Harrow Campus. CREAM researchers have published widely with many of the worlds top arts publishing houses as well as contributing regularly to key journals in their fields.
The Centre hosts three full-time AHRC-funded Research Fellows and, with the support of a large AHRC grant, has set up Arts on Film, a major archive and research project in conjunction with Arts Council England. Many individual members have won funding from AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme, Arts Council England and other peer-reviewed funding bodies to support their work and periods of research leave. Artists and designers have also won substantial commercial sponsorship for their projects and are involved in a range of knowledge transfer initiatives.
Art and design is a substantial part of research, teaching and learning at the University of Westminster. It was the first higher education institution to establish an undergraduate degree in photography and a postgraduate degree in film.
The Harrow campus has a history of specialist teaching in photography, film, ceramics, art and fashion.
These initiatives highlight the strategic connection between high quality research, teaching and learning. Art and Design was given a 4 rating in the Research Assessment Exercise of 1996 and 2001.
CREAM comprises six main groupings: ceramics, digital media, film, music, photography and visual arts. However, a number of researchers work across these fields with projects such as the documentary filming of artists work; ceramics as installation practice; exploration of the overlaps between photography and the moving image; computing and generative music; and sculpture, installation and architecture.
Interests span ceramic installation art practice, ceramic history and museology. Research grew out of Harrow's 1960s ceramics course and now provides a bridge between normative ceramic concerns, arts and science disciplines. The group plans to set up a Ceramics Centre, building on the strong profile of its members and their international activities. For example, Edmund de Waal's monograph Twentieth Century Ceramics, written alongside his own studio practice, led to Tate Liverpool's ground-breaking exhibition, A Secret History of Clay, within which de Waal's own ceramic installation Porcelain Wall was displayed, representing a multi-layered series of interventions within, and across the boundaries of, the discipline.
Research focuses on experimental, creative approaches to new media, with specialist interests in internet art and games theory and digital arts in the gallery, with a strong focus on interdisciplinary arts/science collaborations.
Building on the distinguished history of fashion at Harrow, this research is a new development in CREAM. With several recent appointments, experimental fashion is now growing as a research area. The group is developing work on fashion design and illustration that explores the boundaries between art and industry.
Research spans documentary theory and practice, non-Hollywood cinemas as well as experimental film/video and the gallery space. Through AHRC funding, conferences and strategic post doctoral appointments, the group has built a strong presence in documentary research and plans to set up a Documentary Centre. The development of experimental film/video connects with wider issues of autobiography and moving image in the gallery. International research projects on South Asian cinema/visual arts, including a new journal, are being developed with overseas partners.
The focus is popular music, with different and complementary approaches to music technology and production, original composition, performance, and popular musicology and analysis.
With expertise covering photographic history, theory and practice, this research culture grew directly out of the university's pioneering photography courses. Interconnecting themes include the place of photography in art, the interface between photography and the moving image, fashion and photography as well as surrealism. Researchers are working on a number of major publications, exhibitions and international collaborations for the future.
The group has expertise in sculpture, installation and performance practice and criticism in contemporary theory and practice. Through strategic new appointments and the mentoring of younger artists, the area has expanded considerably since 2001 and will continue to build on its core strengths, including connections with architecture. For example, John Wyver's expertise in arts documentary practice extends and deepens CREAM's research base in film and visual arts, out of which new collaborative research projects are developing for beyond 2008.
The Visual Culture Cluster is composed of academics, curators, practitioners, museum educators, and consultants with research expertise across a range of historical, theoretical, and practice-led forms of inquiry. In the last few years staff have published in Literature, Visual Culture Studies, Critical Theory, and Cultural Studies, been invited to give plenary addresses and lectures internationally in universities including Barcelona, Bergen, Madrid, Oslo and Zurich in Europe; and Brown, Johns Hopkins, MIT and the Smithsonian in the USA, and exhibited and curated in cultural institutions in cities such as Toronto, Shanghi, Beijing, and Canberra.
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