Bridging the Gap

The GW4 Alliance’s Bridging the Gap project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), will foster closer working relationships between the arts and humanities researchers and external partners in South West England and South East Wales.

The project will encourage collaboration between universities, cultural organisations and local authorities to support creativity, innovation and sustainability in South West England and South East Wales. Stronger partnerships will bring researchers a better understanding of the region’s potential and challenges. These partnerships will increase the contribution that arts and humanities research makes to regional economic growth and to the wellbeing of local communities.

The GW4 Alliance has a strong track record of collaboration with some of the most influential organisations in the region to undertake pioneering research. This project will build on this collaborative ethos and the success of schemes in the region such as REACT, which encouraged co-production between arts and humanities researchers and SMEs. It will also explore the huge contribution that individual researchers have already made in forging collaborations with organisations ranging from local retirement homes to the British Design Council.

Bridging the Gap will focus on the following areas:

  • Creative economy
  • Heritage
  • Modern languages
  • Environmental humanities

The project will explore the value of arts and humanities research to the region and the mechanisms needed to exploit this value. Researchers will evaluate existing organisations and relationships and will develop models to improve connectivity and broker new partnerships, based on the bespoke needs of each area.

Academic lead Professor Tim Cole, Professor of Social History and Director of Brigstow Institute at University of Bristol, says: “Many academics work closely with partners outside the university but rarely get the chance to stop and reflect on what they’ve all learnt in the process. This project provides an opportunity to do just that, as well as a chance to push things a little further by experimenting together with new mechanisms of working across the arts and humanities, heritage and the creative economy sectors which are so important to our regional economy and identity.”

The outcome of the project will be a report that will make a series of recommendations for future research and partnerships which will be published in 2017.

To find out more about Bridging the Gap please contact Research Associate Liz Haines at

Latest project news

Read more about the project in the blog post, Supporting creative collaboration, by Liz Haines

Media coverage: English and Welsh universities join forces to boost cultural economy

Media release: New GW4 project aims to strengthen creative and cultural economy in South West and Wales