Reading’s School of Art combines practice-based research with scholarship to explore and encourage engagement with the production, distribution, and mediation of contemporary art. This has enabled us to develop innovative, practice-led, theoretical and art-historical modes of enquiry; and to create and sustain a wide range of national and international research partnerships.
Overall quality profile
Our research spans three areas:
- Publication and critical art writing: We research at the interfaces between production, distribution and mediation of art, including ‘publishing as artistic practice’ and the cultivation of digital and performative research and publication methods.
- Curation, exhibition and interpretation: We examine art’s history and politics, engaging with museum and gallery policy and practice, and widening participation. For example, Reading International created a three-year visual arts programme in Reading to develop and test curatorial methods between a regional arts community and international art network.
- Collections-based research: We create new audiences and interpretations, especially using the University’s Special Collections. For example, research on the histories of experimental film exploits the Stephen Dwoskin Archive and includes practice-based commissions for artists to make original work in and through the archive, raising questions regarding embodiment, disability and film.
We work with international galleries and museums to lead and encourage new forms of engagement, for example the Sensory Objects project that aims to make collections more accessible. The social and civic role of art is evident in much of our work, including the Democracy project at the Tate Modern (2016).
Staff and doctoral students
We submitted 15 staff (11.25 FTE) to REF2021, including 5 professors, 3 associate professors and 7 lecturers. Over the assessment period we supervised 27 doctoral completions. We generally have about 36 PhD students at any one time; in 2019/20, they came from 18 different countries.
Research centres and partnerships
- Research Platform in Curating: our partnership with Zurich University for the Arts has established the discipline-leading journal OnCurating and staged symposia with the Kunstmuseum Basel, Taipei and Bucharest Biennials.
- Tate Exchange: ArtLab led our Tate Exchange Programme for 2018 and 2019.
- Legacies of Stephen Dwoskin: a collaboration with the University of Glasgow and University of Sheffield, in partnership with the LUX and the BFI.
Selected examples of national and international recognition between 2014 and 2020:
- Arts Council Ambition for Excellence Award for Reading International (2016-19)
- Best Cultural Organisation of the Year, Reading Cultural Awards for Reading International (2019)
Impact case studies
Examples of the impact our research has had at local, national and global levels.