New opportunities for arts and humanities researchers

With the introduction of the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), a collaboration between the universities of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent, Leicester, De Montfort, Birmingham and Birmingham City, a new vision is being created for a generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers who will demonstrate research excellence while collaborating with partners in the creative industries.

In order to secure funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the University of Nottingham took the lead in building a partnership with universities in these three major cities. Resting on prior academic relationships and research synergies, it has now created a strong Midlands footprint that combines a rich blend of art, museum and heritage institutions with future-focused enterprise.

To this end, Midlands3Cities universities have joined forces with diverse creative industry partners — local, national and international — from Broadway Media Centre in Nottingham and Creative Leicester, to the British Film Institute, the British Museum, and the Central Conservatory for Music in Beijing.

Partners with Midlands3Cities include city museum services in Nottingham, Birmingham and Leicester, Nottingham Contemporary, Creative Hinckley, Lakeside Arts Theatre, Derbyshire and Leicestershire county councils, Leicester Curve, Phoenix Square, Leicester, the Cinema Museum and the National Army Museum. Partners provide DTP students with opportunities to undertake collaborative research and to work in industry contexts on placement.

Nottingham Contemporary's curator of public programmes, Dr Isobel Whitelegg, for example, is working with the DTP to ensure that student applicants who focus research projects on the history and theory of contemporary art and curating, arts management and exhibition studies will be supported.

She says: "Midlands3Cities strengthens our established relationship with the region's leading universities and we are keen to be an active partner. We can offer a context for the development of professional skills, and also an understanding how research benefits, and operates in relationship with, the publicly funded arts sector.

"But this is also an opportunity for us. The work of an emerging generation of arts and humanities researchers can only enhance our reputation as an innovative international centre for contemporary art."

Creative industries gain a significant employment boost with the latest round of AHRC funding for doctoral research and postgraduate researchers will build on the DTP's subject-specific and employability skills training to ensure benefit not only to academic disciplines in the UK and abroad but also to the creative hubs in each of the Midlands three cities.

In Nottingham, for example, Broadway Media Centre, Nottingham Contemporary, Lakeside Arts Theatre and the city's museums will be brought together as a result of the DTP and its focus on public engagement and knowledge exchange events.

Funding from the AHRC could not have come at a better time with national trends suggesting that increasing numbers of students are gravitating towards Stem subjects, attracted by their perceived vocational opportunities. The DTP shines a light on arts and humanities subjects because they offer a host of bankable transferable skills and a route into a diverse range of careers.

(source: TheGuardian)


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