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Northumbria to support National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange

26th November 2020

Northumbria University is to play a key role in a new National Centre designed to support knowledge exchange between higher education institutions and the UK’s arts and culture sector.

The University has been named as a regional hub for the new National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange (NCACE) – a £1.1m project established by The Culture Capital Exchange (TCCE) and funded by Research England.

Over the next four years the new centre will focus on evidencing and showcasing the social, cultural, environmental, and economic impacts of knowledge exchange within the arts and cultural sector.

Northumbria University was specifically invited to take part due to its reputation for developing cultural partnerships, bringing together artists, practitioners, students, and academics to generate new ways of thinking and creative practice.

Examples include collaborations with North East cultural institutions such as BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and New Writing North; as well as the successful Creative FUSE North Eastproject, which combined the skills of the creative, digital and technology sectors with academic concepts to support growth and innovation.

Dr Heather Robson is Head of Department for Northumbria School of Design, which is leading the University’s involvement in the NCACE.

Speaking about Northumbria’s role as a regional hub, she said: “Northumbria University is a leading centre for energising creative practice and academic study, and we look forward to sharing our experiences of successful collaboration through this project.

“Realising creative potential and creating capacity to challenge and question is at the heart of everything we do and we work closely with our cultural partners to ensure research is informed and inspired by the needs of the economy.

“We are delighted to be part of the new National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange. The arts and cultural sectors have been badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, making effective knowledge exchange between universities and cultural organisations more important now than ever before.”

Northumbria University is one of four regional hub partners of the NCACE, along with Manchester Metropolitan, Birmingham City and Bath Spa Universities.

The four hubs will work with the National Centre to develop a raft of activities, working in several key areas including; collaborations and networks developments, skills and capacity building, evidencing and impact development, as well as showcasing and communicating key findings to a national audience.

David Sweeney, Executive Chair of Research England said: “I am excited to be investing in this new centre that hopes to bring a step change in the ability of universities to support knowledge exchange with the arts and cultural sector in this difficult time.

“This is an important opportunity to better understand, demonstrate and further support and nurture the exceptional collaborative work that is being done across the country, and for Research England and universities to support the wider resilience of the sector into the future.”

NCACE will be led by TCCE Co-Directors, Evelyn Wilson and Suzie Leighton, who said: “NCACE is a key and very timely opportunity to advance knowledge exchange with the arts and cultural sectors, building on TCCE’s track record of innovation and thought leadership in this exciting and quickly evolving field. The exchange and creation of new knowledge to help meet key challenges of our time has never been more important.

“We look forward to working with our partners to showcase existing excellence, support future skills development in Knowledge Exchange, increase capacity for collaborative research, and provide robust and relevant evidence to help underpin the future development of the sector.”

Further details of the National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange can be found on the TCCE website at, until the website’s launch in January 2021.

Sign up to TCCE’s NCACE mailing list now for updates on the Centre’s activities starting in the New Year:

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