Arts Research ENrichment Activities

University of Brighton in collaboration with Royal Holloway, University of London, supported by funding from the AHRC, within the Collaborative Skills Development Scheme
Illuminating the analytical interpretive process in intensive sessions

Arena Research

The ARENA project: “Co-Production of Knowledge with Communities of Pracitce: New Methodological Engagements and Hermeneutic Challenges”

was hosted by the University of Brighton in collaboration with Royal Holloway, University of London

AHRC project AH/L011158/1

ARENA is the Arts Research ENrichment Activity programme supported by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) through its collaborative research skills initiative.

In partnership with Royal Holloway, London, Brighton was funded for a programme of research skills “enrichment” to run from September 2014 to July 2015. This comprised inter-related themes responding to the research challenges of the research impact agenda. These included consideration of i) ways of working within and accessing communities of practice; ii) challenges of co-production and collaboration in the generation of knowledge; iii) the core question of the nature of interpretation and the hermeneutic process; and iv) the digital transformation of sources and data. On all these issues, participants dealt with tangible data and case-study materials, producing outcomes combining hermeneutic insights with a deepened sense of the possibilities of practical engagement. The programme equipped doctoral students and ECRs to select appropriate hermeneutic pathways when working with historical objects, artefacts, performances, live events and recordings, and in co-production of knowledge and practice.

In 5 MasterClasses participants explored the thinking of guest researchers: Etienne Wenger on Communities of Practice; Yve Lomax on writing, voice and performance; Jonathan Burrows on dance, practice, performance and writing; Robert Macfarlane on landscape, meaning and interpretive writing; and Grant Kester on the dialogic turn in art criticism. Macfarlane and Kester also complemented the MasterClass sessions with public appearances, the former in conversation with the BBC’s Andrew Tomlinson in a Brighton Festival Fringe event, the latter in an open lecture scheduled in the University of Brighton’s Festival of Research.

There were 2 two-day long Workshops. In the first, participants explored the nature of co-production and collaborative work, including consideration of the nature of objects and material artefacts as partners in co-production, and examples from Brighton’s CUPP (Community and University Partnership Programme) such as work on Inclusive Arts. The second workshop looked at aspects of the transition from analogue to digital in a variety of research contexts, based in practical examples presented by archivists from Brighton’s Design Archives, the regional archive centre The Keep, and national specialists in data-searching and retrieval.
A 1-day Workshop adapting the collaborative/co-production content was run for ECRs, and offered twice during the programme.

A residential workshop over 3 days gave consideration to the place of experiential and creative writing in the research process, building upon Royal Holloway’s particular expertise in creative writing and practice-based projects.

Throughout the programme participants were encouraged to generate their own materials, individually and collectively, and some of these have been incorporated into this website alongside films made of selected presentations and visual representation of some of the workshop activities.
All told, including an initial induction session for core programme participants,  ARENA generated 301 participant days, engaging 45 individual doctoral/research students, and 19 Early Career Researchers (ECRs).



Professor Alan Tomlinson
Programme Leader


Back to Top