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Academic call-out to take part in the pilot project of our Collaborate fund

Group playing percussion instruments

Stephanie Pitts tells us about an opportunity to be the academic partner in the pilot of a new fund to support research collaborations between academics and the cultural sector.

We’ve been working behind the scenes for several months now developing our new fund Collaborate. It will support innovative research collaborations that are driven by questions the cultural sector would like to explore around cultural value. Before it launches in September 2021, we are running a pilot project to fully test the programme’s aims and processes.

As part of this pilot project, we are seeking expressions of interest from academic researchers or research teams from any discipline to work with Manchester Camerata.

The pilot will be supported with a grant of up to £10K which can be used to cover all or part-costs of collaborative research with Manchester Camerata lasting between 6-12 months. Manchester Camerata is specifically looking to work with researchers to develop a project examining audience experience, impact and value of orchestral concert presentation in live and digital contexts.

Why take part?

While many universities are currently constrained in their support for small-scale pilot projects, this project offers the opportunity to co-develop innovative research processes, pilot research activity with live audiences and to test existing methodologies in a new context that could be developed beyond the life of the project.

It’s also an opportunity to support the cultural sector at a time of crisis, following the devastating effects of the pandemic. You’ll develop a research partnership with Manchester Camerata, a leading arts organisation with a track record of working with university partners, on a live research topic to more deeply understand an area of cultural value that is highly relevant to their practice. And, of course, the research could also form the basis for future research publications, be cited as strong impact activity for future REF case studies or the foundation for externally funded grants.

The pilot also offers a professional development opportunity for researchers interested in collaborative research practice. There will be access to supportive networks and learning resources and the chance to develop skills in research leadership and new ways to communicate research.

What do I need to know?

To be eligible to take part as the academic partner, you’ll currently be working at a UK based higher education institution. The programme cannot fund core HE staff time (our funders are clear that the Collaborate funding must directly support the research activity of the cultural sector partner) however eligible costs include payment of PhD researchers to carry out data collection and any direct costs of events and activities associated with the research.

The deadline for expressions of interest is Monday 14 December at 5pm. You can find further information about Collaborate here and more guidance on making a simple online expression of interest here.

Professor Stephanie Pitts is an Associate Director of the Centre for Cultural Value, Professor of Music Education at the University of Sheffield and Director of Sheffield Performer and Audience Research Centre

Image: Music in Mind. Manchester Camerata. Photo: Rachel Bywater

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