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Business and Engagement

Business and Engagement activity at the School of Design.

We are a leading centre for energising creative practice and academic study. By working in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders, we seek to nurture ‘home-grown’ talent and, through meaningful engagement, business innovation, and knowledge creation at the highest level, support and grow the economic, social, cultural and intellectual capital of the region and beyond.

A primary principle of our Engagement and Enterprise activity  is to have a real-world focus reflected in the scope of the activity we undertake with external stakeholders so that we are better placed and able to respond to social need locally, nationally and globally, which has the potential to generate ambitious outcomes and stimulate creativity, income and innovation.

Our research and practice is creating valuable “Impact” and “Change” in a variety of sectors including:

  • Criminal justice system
  • Third-sector voluntary organisations
  • NGOs
  • National and Regional Museums
  • North East SMEs
  • Health Care sector SMEs,
  • Cultural Organisations
  • Educational Organisations (e.g. UNESCO).

Increasingly organisations across all sectors are identifying the need for multi-disciplinary and creative approaches to meet the rapidly changing challenges they face and transform ways of thinking and working. A multi-disciplinary approach is at the heart of what we do.  It enables us to take a holistic view when developing any opportunity. It allows us to challenge and re-frame each problem we address, and in doing so we aim to:

  • Deliver high impact solutions to the creative and cultural sectors, government, industry and society.
  • Increase levels of resourcefulness and innovation in order to make a real difference to the region’s people, organisations and communities.
  • Add value through a design-led approach i.e. helping products develop and reach the market faster, transforming business across a wide variety of sectors such as museum and heritage, transportation, healthcare, consumer products, construction, energy/renewable, utilities, engineering and communication.
  • Respond to social challenges in a changing society through an integrated arts, design and social sciences approach (Innovation and Research) that can assist new independence (age related), dementia, behaviour, understanding the inner self, unemployment, transport and helping people cope with change and policy drivers.

Partnership Working:

Cultural: The ‘cultural’ partnership approach is at the heart of what Northumbria University does. Our strategic partnerships with BALTIC Centre for contemporary Art, BxNU, Great North Run Culture, LIVE Theatre, New Writing North, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and Tyneside Cinema are exemplars of that approach creating a thriving, stimulating community of artists, practitioners, students, and staff who collaborate with experts in fields of science, the environment and health and medicine to generate new ways of thinking and creative practice.

Industry: We are extending our partnerships further to support the region through such relationships that will be mutually supportive in terms of industry engagement, interdisciplinary enquiry and research opportunities. Current partners include Nike, Mars, and Unilever.

Realising creative potential and creating capacity to challenge and question permeates all of our activity and is manifest in the way we support clients, partners and industry in the co-creation and problem solving so that we:

  • Ensure research is informed and inspired by the needs of the economy – disseminating and communicating directly to our partners, business and sectors.
  • Transform by providing an intellectual challenge in co-leading the development of the disciplines by working at the forefront of practice, teaching and researching.
  • Create New Value through Business and Social Innovation - through a deeper understanding and an integration of socio-cultural and people knowledge (Insight), ethical modes of business practice, new and emerging technologies and of design itself, to drive Innovation across both the Commercial and Social agendas.
  • Enable Personal Growth ensuring our students become, over their developing careers, leaders within their chosen field.
  • Support and expand our start-up business through our Residency and Graduate Start-up Schemes.

Design: Design at Northumbria operates on multiple levels; as a functional set of knowledge and skills that can be applied to a problem in order to craft a solution that delights the senses and delivers functional benefit to users. This is manifest in garments, products, systems, services and interfaces. Beyond this, design is, for us, an attitude. We believe that there is creative potential in all people and our co-creative, multi-disciplinary approach to design liberates this potential in all of our stakeholders, thereby liberating creative capacity in society. Our work demonstrates the value of design as an enabler in different contexts; e.g. addressing complex and interdependent social problems (Age UK KTP), where issues are not isolated to any one particular sector or discipline.

P3i: combines STEM know-how with design insights and expertise to translate advances in areas such as 3D printing, Synthetic Biology, Organic electronics, Sensors and Nano materials and technologies, into practical solutions for tomorrow’s issues today. Design in partnership with Business and Technology at Northumbria guides commercial innovation and develops creative leadership.

If you would like to discuss business development working opportunities with the department please contact our Business and Engagement Manager, Emma Batey on 0191 349 5079 or email:



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