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About: Art and Design Research Institute

Art and Design at Ulster is recognised as a leading knowledge exchange with industry and in academic enterprise arising from research including knowledge exchange, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP), Fusion, consultancy and innovation vouchers.

The Research Institute for Art and Design (RIAD) was established in 2004 and later expanded to include research from the new established Belfast School of Architecture.

Ulster's Art and Design research at Ulster University is in the premier league of subject research in the UK with an environment for staff and research students that is the REF2014 judged to be 100% internationally excellent and world leading.

A focus on practice and applied research is recognised in over 70% of the Research Institute's impact peer reviewed to be 'outstanding'.  The unit is ranked 3rd in UK for 4* research and sixth out of the 84 institutions assessed in the REF for Quality Index.

Excellence is combined with supporting research across a range of disciplines and in supporting early career staff and Research Students. Over 37 students completed PhDs in the period 2008-13 and over four and quarter million pounds of research income was secured.

Our clusters

The academic, research staff and students in RIAD focus on five interconnected clusters of research that are driven by shared interest in themes that are of value to society, culture and to the economy.

  • 'Art, Conflict and Society' Research Cluster
  • 'Art and Context' Research Cluster
  • 'Creative Ecologies' Research Cluster
  • 'Space and Place' Research Cluster
  • 'Future and Virtual Worlds' Research Cluster

Our staff

The Research Director has responsibility for the Research Institute including research strategy, resource allocation, staff development, attainment targets, dissemination of information, reporting performance and enhancement of the Institute's profile within the University and in the national and international research community. In addition to working across the five research clusters, researchers are pursuing the application of art, design and architecture research to cross disciplinary problems.

The majority of researchers are based on the Belfast campus which is our centre of excellence for Art & Design. All researcher staff teach on undergraduate and masters programmes and ensure that students learning is at the leading edge of subject research.

There is vibrant research student community in purpose built accommodation on the Belfast campus. At any one time approximately 50 students rare engaged in research for a PhD. Several decades of experience in groundbreaking art practice methodologies complements historical, theoretical, philosophical and design approaches to research. The University advertises a number of research degree studentships in the middle of December that align to our priority research work.

Art and Design research takes many forms. Research is published and disseminated through academic formats of books, journal articles and conferences including all-important digital and web publication. A large volume of RIAD research is manifest as practice and is in the public domain in exhibitions, public events, performances. Outcomes of world leading artists  who research in RIAD are in many of the world's leading collections and archives.