Partnerships with Higher Education Institutions

LARC released a report in June 2009, mapping the relationships between the Liverpool cultural sector and the higher education sector.
The research was commissioned from Impacts 08 to support LARC’s objective to strengthen strategic collaboration between the higher education and cultural sectors in the Liverpool City Region. It is based on survey returns from 15 arts and cultural organisations, including the 8 members of Liverpool Arts and Regeneration Consortium (LARC) and seven other arts and cultural providers .


The report covers a variety of areas of collaboration, looking at both recent and current partnership activity, and outlining significant forthcoming activity and aspiration.  It is offered as a contribution to inform the debate in Liverpool and further afield, in the belief that Liverpool is well placed to establish a nationally significant model for the breadth and depth of partnership between its cultural and higher education institutions.
The report was launched at a conference organised by Culture Campus Liverpool, 25 June 2009    Culture Campus Liverpool is a unique partnership between the universities and some of the major visual arts and media organisations in Liverpool, promoting cross-sector collaboration, research and networking. The conference aimed to provide an opportunity for a productive dialogue between the cultural and higher education sectors on the key themes, challenges and possibilities of collaborative research, graduate retention and the development of a postgraduate culture over the next five years and beyond.   It was attended by over 100 delegates, including the Vice-Chancellors of all three Liverpool higher education institutions.

Main Findings

It is clear that there is already substantial engagement between arts and cultural organisations in Liverpool and Higher Education Institutions, both in Liverpool and around the world.   34 UK HEIs were named by survey respondents as partners in delivery of work or networks, or in the context of more informal relationships, plus a further 10 non-UK institutions.

Many of the projects and partnerships referred to in the report are well-established or emerge from long-term relationships and collaborative thinking. In addition, there is a real breadth of disciplines displayed across the different initiatives and projects. Liverpool benefits from having three universities with many complementary strengths and specialisms, as well as from the concentration and profile of its arts and cultural sector, including national institutions, and one with an Independent Research Organisation status (Tate).

There is a wealth of opportunity yet to be explored, however. For example, there are only a small number of formal knowledge transfer partnerships, little engagement so far with smaller programmes such as the knowledge exchange catalyst programme or the new Innovation Vouchers scheme. Collaborative doctoral awards are increasing, but are currently limited to the organisations working within the visual arts and to museums.
The opportunities for expansion and for greater ambition are now emerging, and Liverpool-based arts and cultural organisations look well-placed to take them up. There is increased interest from higher education institutions in industry partnerships following changes in higher education funding and the forthcoming change to RAE assessment which will place knowledge exchange within the list of assessed areas. Initiatives such as Culture Campus, CAVA (the Centre for Architecture and the Visual Arts – University of Liverpool), Impacts 08, the moving of the North West Cultural Observatory to Liverpool, and the cultural sector networks such as LARC can help further to funnel the interest and experience which already exists within the City and promote the development of work in this area significantly.
Impacts 08 

Culture Campus Liverpool
Liverpool City of Learning


North West Cultural Observatory


Liverpool Cultural Sectorand Higher Education Mapping Report PDF

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