Research projects

Learn more about our research projects across our nine clusters or view our archives for our completed or past projects. 

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Gaming Global

Funded by the British Council, the Game Cultures research cluster worked with game makers, artists and policy makers to advise the Council on the extent to which their arts programmes should engage with video games.

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Voices of War and Peace

BCU took part in the collaborative Voices of War and Peace project, specifically investigating the contribution of blac...

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smARTplaces

Researchers in the Media and Place research cluster critically evaluated the smARTplaces project, which enabled cultur...

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Conflict, Memory and Displacement

Examining the relationship between conflict, memory and displacement surrounding  global conflicts in the UK and Ital...

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The Transnational Trade in Hardcore Pornography

Examining the transitional relationship between British and Dutch pornography to contribute to debates around the hist...

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Punkt Birmingham 2020

Working with innovative Norwegian festival Punkt to create new artistic outputs and forge exciting interdisciplinary c...

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Riffs - Experimental Writing on Popular Music

Riffs: Experimental Writing On Popular Music is a journal producing popular music research through a variety of medium...

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Pebble Mill oral history project

Aiming to preserve a piece of important media history, Dr Vanessa Jackson conducted a series of interviews with staff ...

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USE-IT! - Unlocking Social and Economic Innovation Together

BCU researchers supported the USE-IT project, an initiative aimed at improving urban development and solving social an...

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Craft Expertise

Dr Karen Patel has highlighted the extent of racism and microaggressions in UK professional craft and is working with o...

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Everyday Jazz Life

Investigating the challenges faced by a generation of musicians in today's society as they negotiate life with music. ...

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Harkive

As the way people consume music continues to change, the Harkive project investigates how people's experiences are evo...

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40 Years on Gender Equality: BCU research project investigates the role of arts and culture in local politics. BCU research project, 40 years on: Gender Equality, introduces the work and activism of Birmingham-based women in the mid-80s. The project includes an exhibition based at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire which investigates the contributions of women in addressing gender equality in Birmingham. The exhibition provides an opportunity to celebrate the acquisition of the Barbara Webster Collection into the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media Archive, at Birmingham City University. The Barbara Webster Collection is the starting point for the exhibition which focuses on the Women’s Committee, established by Birmingham’s Labour Council. In addition, the work on display includes items from the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media Archive and donations made by other women linked to that period. The exhibition includes the creative work of women who challenged stereotypes and celebrated the diverse experiences of Birmingham women. It combines the formal work achieved in the City Council, with women’s activism and creative endeavours, which together contributed to fundamental changes for Birmingham. Dr Annette Naudin, Associate Professor in Arts, Design, and Media at BCU and researcher at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, is leading the research project. Annette acquired the Barbara Webster Collection for the ADM archive in 2023. Barbara was the Head of the Women’s Unit (1984-87) and the collection informed an application to the British Academy and Leverhulme Small Grant Scheme, which has resulted in a set of research outputs. The research will explore a range of methodologies and outputs, including the exhibition, a roundtable discussion in collaboration with Dr Karen Patel (Director of CEDIA at BCU) and a collection of oral histories through a series of podcasts and interviews with key individuals from the period. Annette explains: “I was fascinated by Barbara’s story and the work that women did in the 80s to address gender inequalities. I was motivated by the fact that this seemed to be a forgotten aspect of Birmingham’s history and by the possibility that the legacy of this important work would disappear.” Annette is drawing on archival material to explore themes of: • Gender equality • The Women’s Liberation Movement • Women’s photography • Birmingham photographers such as Rhonda Wilson • Birmingham’s history from the mid-80s and its potential relevance now • Women’s experience of inequality in Birmingham • Women’s art, cultural and media production in Birmingham, in the 70s and 80s How can archival research be used as a tool in current debates? “The research seeks to celebrate and give a voice to the women who during this period, the mid-80s, worked hard to make significant steps towards addressing gender and other inequalities in Birmingham. Too often women are written out of history and this research aims to ensure that this does not happen.” “Furthermore, the work of the Women’s Unit is connected to cultural production in different ways. Posters from the ‘Worth Paying For’ exhibition and the many events that were part of the Women Celebrate festivals are good examples of how the politics of the Women’s Liberation Movement could be expressed by women. Often this was through different cultural activities such as photography, music, and other forms of cultural expression showcased in the exhibition linked to this research.” The research project invites us to reflect on gender equality now, by considering how past voices, campaigns, and activism help us challenge contemporary inequalities. Linking themes from the Barbara Webster Archive to contemporary debates in Birmingham’s cultural policy, the project will explore the use of archival research as a tool for re-contextualising the city’s history and current debates.

BCU research project,  40 years on: Gender Equality , introduces the work and activism of Birmingham-based women in th...

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Media, community and the creative citizen

Exploring the use of digital media by individuals and communities, and how these technologies are being utilised to en...

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Cultural Landscapes

Seeking to explore data visualisation as a  methodology for supporting cultural organisations who seek to address inequ...

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Jazz and Everyday Aesthetics

Through a series of seminars, musical performances, and workshops, the project examined different claims about jazz’s ...

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Live Music Research

With live music facing significant challenges, this project investigates live music activity in Birmingham and the imp...

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Slanguages

The Slanguages research and exhibition explores the creative use of language in a variety of performance mediums, info...

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Jazz on BBC TV: 1960-1969

Investigating  the television recording and broadcast of jazz, to establish the connection between jazz and media as ...

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Global Reggae Research Project

The Global Reggae Research Project brings together researchers to explore the development of reggae across the world. ...

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CHIME

CHIME explored the uses and re-uses of different types of heritage through the study of jazz and improvised music fest...

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Developing a digital literacy and verification network in the Global South

Research from Dr Dima Saber and Dr Jerome Turner has informed projects which have equipped over 7,000 activists with t...

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Exploring and researching the art of songwriting

Dr Simon Barber has helped shine a light on the craft and methodology behind songwriting, while also establishing it a...

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Monitoring and Evaluation Lab

Helping improve monitoring and evaluation for new projects and ongoing research.

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Diaspora Screen Media Network

The DSMN aims to explore the exciting developments taking place in Black British and British Asian Cinema and TV broug...

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Exploring and researching the art of songwriting

Dr Simon Barber has helped shine a light on the craft and methodology behind songwriting, while also establishing it a...

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