GW4 Bridging the Gap

Download the final GW4 Bridging the Gap Report

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

The project encouraged 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.

Bridging the Gap focused on the following areas:

  • Creative economy
  • Heritage
  • Modern languages
  • Environmental humanities

The final report includes a series of recommendations for universities and funders of collaborative arts and humanities research. Universities are encouraged to adapt to different working processes when partnering with creative and cultural organisations, dependant on their size and aims. They are also urged to address the vacuum of opportunity that exists between PhD or early career research and more stable professorial academic contracts.

Funders are invited to put “third party producers” in place on projects to better support partnerships between universities and non-academic organisations, and to build collaborative career pathways for early career researchers.

Sector-specific recommendations include:

  • Creative economy: introduce new funding models for collaborative research that combine short-term grants with long-term, open-ended support.
  • Heritage: ensure collaboration moves beyond relationships between individuals by involving a wider network of colleagues in partnership projects.
  • Environmental humanities: university and non-academic partners should pursue curiosity-led, rather than just challenge-led, research to address issues together.
  • Modern Languages: launch a series of regional networking forums, bringing together university researchers with potential partners in different sectors, including local government and NGOs.

Download the final GW4 Bridging the Gap Report


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

Image from The Rooms, a festival celebrating the work produced by REACT. REACT was a collaboration led by UWE Bristol and Watershed, with the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. Photograph by Max McClure