The University of Brighton has strengthened and consolidated research in the area of Architecture through its interconnection with other areas in the university and through strategic themes, which drive impact and resourcing. Among the themes where architectural practices have their key contribution are:
Sustainable Development and Climate Change: Doyle’s book, Mediating Climate Change, Stibbon’s collection of drawings and prints, Terra Infirma and the Brighton ‘Waste House,’ designed by Baker-Brown, which examines the design/construction of the UK’s first domestic building built from designated waste, exemplify how our research in this strand converges around sustainable ways of living, public and political representations of climate change, and approaches to sustainable development.
Creative and Digital Economies: Research within this strand explores the impact of physical and digital convergence on human experience, cultural organisations, businesses and remote communities. Notable projects include: Behrendt’s e-bikes project, exploring ‘How commuters and communities engage with electrically-assisted cycling’; PATINA (Personal Architectonics Through Interactions with Artefacts), in which Boddington is a Co-Investigator and the design and development of a web-based community platform Community 21 (Gant).
Agency, Society and Space: Power’s Black Country Stories, a visual investigation of the effect of the economic downturn on the West Midlands, exemplifies this strand’s concern for the intersections of social and cultural history, politics and geography and its creative agency and philosophical implications. Significant achievements include: Sustainable Food Planning: evolving theory and practice, Viljoen et al, examining of international food security; Defiant Images: Photography and Apartheid in South Africa (2009), Newbury; It Happened Here (2010), a permanent installation at the Commandery in Worcester Cornford and Wrighton’s book Ethics and Politics in Modern American Poetry (2010).
Digital economy, society and media: This research explores innovation and theories of the creative and digital economy and its societal, cultural and policy implications. It also draws on and contributes to interdisciplinary work across the university, including the Brighton FUSE (AHRC £1m) and research associated with the EPSRC/AHRC digital economy project PATINA (Boddington) ‘Designing Effective Research Spaces for the 21st Century’ that examines the interface of digital and tangible environments. Youngs, Sourbati and Horner draw on interdisciplinary approaches to explore the strategic implications of, for example; international relations and feminism in the information society; the changing nature of the ‘home front’; globalisation and the perceived democracies of blogging; social inclusion for disabled and ageing communities, and technological determinism and the moral and ethical frameworks of the information age.
The Architectural Research Initiatives helps support a series of continuously evolving cross-cutting thematic strands across the faculty. The research leaders work to develop teams of senior researchers; their role is to respond to emerging research ideas, bringing together academics, research and translational support to realise projects of quality. Our scholarly infrastructure is augmented by Screen Archive South East (SASE), and our partnerships with the V&A.
Since 2008, we have invested £650k to enhance digital production facilities and upgrade workshops, seminar and studio spaces to accommodate research. Our ‘City Campus’ investment plan includes a new media hub supporting media, film and photography, and featuring Cine-Excess. The Hastings campus of the university boasts an advanced media production suite and has cultivated cross-sector collaborations in documentary and film making.