The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 (the national review of research excellence at UK universities since 2014) has confirmed that Area Studies research at UEA is shaping the field both nationally and internationally.
Its innovative approach to Area Studies – breaking down disciplinary borders and geographical boundaries, combining theory, practice and creativity – is amongst the very best in the country.
In particular, the submission highlighted the team’s contribution to building a distinctive New Area Studies and their ongoing innovations in both theory and practice. These successes are the result of significant investment in Area Studies at UEA. In 2014, 14 researchers submitted 40 outputs. In 2021, 46 colleagues submitted 105 publications and four impact case studies, bringing together both top quality research outputs and a remarkable influence on public good for a wide range of beneficiaries in the UK and beyond.
The reach and significance of this research stretched across the globe. Norwich researchers investigated and analysed a wide range of pressing social, cultural, political and literary problems pertinent to the lives of many. Working with local communities and institutions, they provided insights into an array of urgent quality of life issues in a variety of societies and regions.
Building Resilience Through the ArtsIn Colombia, UEA researchers worked alongside people displaced by violent conflict to tell their stories, in their own voices and artistic styles, to wider audiences, strengthening awareness of displaced people’s experiences, abilities and needs. The success of this work influenced government policy, informed the development of inclusive institutional programmes and strengthened local capacity to manage and reduce risk in marginalised settlements.
Finding the Lost OnesIn the United States, UEA researchers digitised the records of the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, creating the Carlisle Indian School Digital Research Center. This ever-growing resource holds over 20,000 student records, images and publications and has enabled Native American individuals and communities to uncover the hidden and untold histories of their ancestors, leading to deeply personal discoveries of lost relatives.
Fiji: Art & Life in the PacificIn Fiji, UEA researchers worked collaboratively with the Fiji Museum to raise its national and international profile, fostering a revival of traditional Fijian canoe-building skills (displayed as an icon of carbon-free transport during Fiji’s Presidency of COP23 in 2017), and resulting in the curation of a major exhibition Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific at the Sainsbury Centre at UEA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Growing Up MarriedIn the UK, UEA researchers influenced and advanced the debate on a key human rights issue: child marriage. This work brought new perspectives to the ongoing development of the recently enacted Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Minimum Age) Bill and resulted in more effective training programmes for the police and other frontline agencies in handling young women and families affected by or vulnerable to forced child marriage.