Supporting arts, culture and the creative economy across our cities and regions

Thursday, 27 October 2016

OutBurst festival

University Alliance is shining a spotlight on universities’ role in cultural leadership, supporting the arts and driving forward the creative economy in their cities and regions.

New guidance to support arts and cultural organisations seeking to partner with universities, produced jointly by Arts Council England and University Alliance, will be launched today at an arts showcase event taking place at London’s Southbank Centre.  

The exhibition will highlight examples of existing partnerships and the ways in which universities are acting as custodians and champions of the arts, published in a collection of case studies, Making Places: Universities, the arts & creative industries.  

Featuring in the publication is a case study about Oxford Brookes’ OutBurst festival.  

For over five years, the University has been taking their world-class, innovative research projects out into the local community in their popular, family-friendly OutBurst festival.

We are pleased to be a part of the University Alliance’s work to champion the role of universities in supporting arts and cultural development in the UK. Our OutBurst festival has gone from strength to strength over the years and it is great to have it feature in this new Making Places publication.

Angus Phillips, Head of the School of Arts, Oxford Brookes University

OutBurst gives researchers, other staff, students and alumni the opportunity to showcase their research and expertise through stimulating art installations, performances, lectures, workshops and interactive exhibitions.

Angus Philips, Head of the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University, who is attending the arts showcase in London said: “We are pleased to be a part of the University Alliance’s work to champion the role of universities in supporting arts and cultural development in the UK. Our OutBurst festival has gone from strength to strength over the years and it is great to have it feature in this new Making Places publication.”

Past activities at the festival have included creating comics, drawing with light, using a simulator suit to better understand visual and mobility difficulties related to ageing, inspirational lectures from experts and the opportunity to interact with the University’s resident robots Artie the Humanoid and Robbie the Nao.

Angus continues: “We like to make OutBurst as varied as possible to give people an idea of the vast range of expertise and fascinating research that’s happening at Oxford Brookes. It is captivating entertainment for families and the local community, and we are already working on plans for next year’s festival from 4-6 May 2017.”

Oxford Brookes has a longstanding and creative partnership with local performing arts centre Pegasus theatre, who host the festival each year.

University Alliance logo

University Alliance will also be undertaking a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to map knowledge exchange partnerships in universities with the creative economy.  

The project will use existing data held by funding bodies, universities and other external organisations to develop a clearer picture of the activities that are less formalised such as consultancy, ad hoc advice or informal knowledge exchange activities which are often undertaken by arts and humanities academics.  

The pilot takes Alliance universities as a test case for developing new methodologies to tell the ‘hidden story’ of partnership activities, and for capturing and understanding their contribution. It will publish its findings in early 2017.  

The project will establish new ways of evaluating understanding partnerships between universities and the creative economy, which employs 400,000 people and is worth £12bn.  

University Alliance Chief Executive Maddalaine Ansell said: “As cultural leaders in their cities and regions universities catalyse creativity, promote access to great art and cultural activities and support growth and job creation in the creative economy.  

“We are proud to be showcasing many fantastic examples of this activity from across Alliance institutions, and we hope the joint guidance we are publishing with Arts Council England will support the growth of partnerships between higher education and arts and cultural organisations of all sizes."