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  4. D34: Art and Design History, Practice and Theory

D34: Art and Design History, Practice and Theory

OU research in Art and Design seeks to understand the past, inform current practice in art and design and inspire future creativity.

Research specialisms

  • Cross-cultural and global art history
  • History of architecture and design
  • Early Modern Art and Visual Culture
  • Eighteenth-century art, culture and design
  • Modern and contemporary art and theory
  • Design processes
  • Design ecologies
  • Complexity and design
  • Collaborative design

Headline results

  • OU research in Art and Design ranks 6th in the UK for its proportion of 4* and 3* research
  • 86% of OU research was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent (4* or 3*) for its overall quality
  • 100% of the OU environment for research in Art and Design History, Practice and Theory was assessed as 4* or 3*

Research highlights

OU research places a high priority on collaborations with cultural institutions, exemplified in the strategic development of the gallery partnerships that form the core of the Open Arts Archive. The Archive provides open access to events and research projects co-organised and/or produced with 20 galleries and museums across the UK, and is accessed by a global audience in 105 countries.

Public debate around the importance of feminine portraiture in the development of 18th century theatrical culture was stimulated by OU Professor of Art History Gill Perry through an extensive public engagement programme, including a major curated exhibition with the National Portrait Gallery.

The OU’s Design research highlights general principles across domains of design practice.  This ‘across design’ signature influences designers, companies, policy makers and communities. OU research across Art History and Design is at the cutting edge of digital scholarship and includes cross-disciplinary collaborations between researchers, designers, curators, users and publics.

Find out more about our researchers

Current staff (research projects, publications, contact details) in the related departments