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Research in the School of Art and Design is diverse and dynamic focussing on practice, its understanding and application. It covers areas across two- and three-dimensional design and art, including Architecture, Fashion, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Product Design, and Automotive and Transport Design.

Research in this school engages with today’s societies and cultures. As well as being focused on personal research – practice led, historical and theoretical – it is frequently interdisciplinary, linking areas such as art, design and wellbeing, and has strong links with the creative and cultural industries and business.

The national assessment of university research outputs, the Research Excellence Framework (REF), has historically rated Coventry University’s submission for Art and Design (History, Practice and Theory) very highly. In 2014, a large proportion of staff research was submitted, with 31% being deemed 4* - world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour, and 40% as 3* - internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour. The REF submission for 2021 in the same category will include more staff research, and include monographs, articles and exhibitions.

Research spotlights

Graham Chorlton, 2019 ‘Headlights’.

Acrylic and oil on canvas, 122cm x 200cm.
His research interests are around the continuing presence and possibilities of image-based painting in contemporary art practice, with particular reference to place, memory and immanence, and the relationship between painting and photography with reference to temporality, documentation and the experience of the urban realm.
Graham is an Associate Professor and Course Leader for MA Painting.

Visual shot of headlights down a street with houses in the background

Shaun Hutchinson, 2020

Rebuilding and redesigning a XJ600 Yamaha motorcycle as an electric retro-conversion to explore opportunities and build knowledge in the area of emerging sustainable urban mobility. For this project he worked with specialists from the National Transport Design Centre (NTDC) Coventry University Centre for Advanced Low Carbon Propulsion Systems (C-ALPS), and Warwick Manufacturing Group. Shaun is a Lecturer in Automotive and Transport Design. .

XJ600 Yamaha motorcycle

Sebastian Hicks, 2020, ‘Chapel of Many’, Moseley Park, Birmingham.

The architectural object is a tool enabling the co-creation of public space through a performative (events based and community led) urbanism. The walls are made of chairs, as people inhabit the space so the structure sheds its skin and light floods in – light and transparency are directly related to the gathering of people – this symbolism builds on Coventry’s unique identity as a city of reconciliation. Supported through the EU sponsored, Migrant Friendly Cities initiative, and part-funded by Coventry University, the building of the structure was a collaborative process, integrating students and local, retired experts. Sebastian is an Assistant Professor and Course Leader for MA Architecture. .

Moseley Park

Research Organisation

All postgraduate researchers (PGRs) are aligned with a Research Centre, and these lie within larger Research Institutes. Your affiliation will depend on that of the Director of Studies. The centres that cover most of the projects within the school are Future Transport and Cities, and Arts, Memory and Communities.

Postgraduate Researchers

With over 70 postgraduate researchers across the faculty and shared research events, the postgraduate community is vibrant. PGRs are encouraged to develop their CVs through leading and participating in internal and external events. Internal events include reading groups, visiting speakers, work in progress, and informal coffee mornings. External facing events include leading and participating in conferences organised with PGRs from other universities. PGRs supervised by staff within the school have gone on to have varied and successful careers, including as university lecturers, in the creative industries sector, and as exhibiting artists, including representing Saudi Arabia at the Venice Biennale 2019. There are opportunities for funded research, including through Midlands 4 Cities, and some internally funded PhDs around specific themes.

Adaptive character wearables for children made by Rebecca Ryder-Caddy

Rebecca Ryder-Caddy, 2020, Adaptive, character wearables for children

Whisks sketched on a piece of drawing paper

Carole Griffiths, 2019, ‘Whisking’. Drypoint

External Events

Coventry is an important city for research and creative activities. As well as the school having close local links with the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Compton Verney, the University of Warwick and its Mead Gallery, there are many other national and international affiliations.

Coventry Biennale is held every other year, with the next iteration in 2021

Coventry Creates has been a high impact project during the pandemic, which has resulted in new commissions through artist/researcher collaborations

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023