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Collaborative research

Collaborative research

Collaborations between cultural sector practitioners and academic researchers generate valuable learning.

Explore our resources to help you develop research partnerships that achieve their full potential.

Rising Arts Agency and Kings College London – Listening Labs. Photo: Olumide Osinoiki

Between 2021 and 2024, we ran an exploratory programme called Collaborate. Collaborate supported research partnerships between UK cultural sector practitioners and academic researchers and was designed to foster more equitable, impactful research practices.

We supported 10 partnerships through Collaborate with a total fund of £200k. We had over 450 applications from the cultural sector.

The funded projects involved a range of artforms and cultural organisations from national players to small grassroots organisations. They explored diverse research questions and included academics from various disciplines, including science, social sciences, business and the arts.

We are sharing learning to help others gain the confidence and skills to create impactful research partnerships.

Three people stood at a table talking together. One wears an aprn. On the table there are plants in pots and materials for potting plants.
Bromley By Bow, Fun Palaces 2019. Photo by Roswitha Chesher

Why we developed the Collaborate fund

There is a real appetite in the cultural sector to develop research skills. Cultural professionals are keen to explore questions that help them better understand their work, their audiences and communities.

Collaborate offered cultural practitioners an opportunity to embark on a research journey shaped by their needs. It supported partnerships that explored questions with immediate relevance to their practice, illuminated perspectives that are underrepresented in research, and took a creative and experimental approach to methodology.

Read our reflections on why we need research collaborations more than ever.

Collaborate research project. A large black square structure in the centre of leeds Market. The structure has a range of screens on it, one screen has the word ‘Time Bar’ written on it, one is playing a video of a person, one has a pub quiz. A group of people are watching the screens.
Compass Live Arts: The Yorkshire Square by Small Acts. Photo by Lizzie Coombes

The learning

Combining the knowledge and expertise of cultural practitioners and academics generates valuable learning that can inform and improve policy and practice.

Throughout Collaborate, we saw how crucial it was that partnerships were as equitable and relevant as possible so that they could fulfil their potential.

Take a deep dive into the resources below to help you develop equitable research partnerships of your own.

Three men sat at a table taking part in a willow weaving workshop.
Irish Linen Centre Lisburn Museum – CEP Traditional Skills. Photo by Irish Linen Centre

Collaborate: the projects

A group of people grouped under yellow and pink ribbons
LEEDS 2023 Neighbourhood Hosts. Photo: JMA Photography

Why do collaborative research?

This photo depicts an outdoor theatre event programmed by Cauldrons and Furnaces. A crowd watches a group of people perform a fire show near castle walls.
Mabinogi at Harlech Castle. Photo: Ben Davies

How to do collaborative research

Performance of 12 last songs. Colourful confetti in the foreground obscures the image.
Quarantine's 12 Last Songs, at HOME Manchester. Photo: Chris Payne

Supporting collaborative research

A woman smiles while looking at tags that have been hung on an artificial white tree that has been made for a Fun Palaces event.
Fun Palaces 2019. Photo: Roswitha Chesher

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