CHEAD Policy Review 2016

December 21, 2016

A very merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our members, partners and collaborators from our Executive Committee and Chair, Prof Anita Taylor. 

2016 has given us some very ‘interesting times’ and the HE policy agenda remains packed for the coming year — so let’s end with a brief review and a look forward to the HE policy landscape for 2017.

Art, design and creative HE are facing significant challenges arising from the coincidence of the HE Bill and Brexit. The HE Bill is the most fundamental restructure of the Art & Design sector since Coldstream in the 1960s. In addition to reducing barriers to entry for independent HE providers, the Bill splits HEFCE (which will manage research dual funding and host the new UKRI in BEIS) with the new Office for Students (OfS) which will regulate the sector and pedagogy standards in the DfE. Brexit compounds some of the existing recruitment issues relating to changes in student visa regulation and post-study pathways whilst adding new issues relating to staff mobility, research funding and collaboration. There are also concerns about the impact on the UK’s globally prestigious creative sector more widely.

Our sector will need to explore new opportunities to offset these challenges and it will be CHEAD’s central mission in 2017 not only to ensure that our members are well-informed and represented in these processes but also that we offer as much practical leadership and support as possible in meeting these challenges.

Following our successful restructure and redesign under our previous Chair, Prof Linda Drew, CHEAD has been going from strength to strength under our current Chair, Prof Anita Taylor, Vice Chair Judy Glasman, and Treasurer, Prof Kerstin Mey — we are looking forward to an equally successful 2017. Our overall strategy to 2021 is here.

HE Bill

The HE Bill is now passing its second reading and scheduled for Committee stage to begin on 9 January. CHEAD has responded to the Green Paper and we are working closely with relevant Policy Connect groups including APDIG, APPG, and the new Data Analytics group to ensure that our members’ interests are represented in Parliamentary debates and Committees. We are currently monitoring amendments and briefing MPs and Lords. As part of the reorganisation, the government is also introducing TEF whilst radically revising REF and DLHE and we have responded formally to these consultations.


CHEAD responded to Lord Stern’s Research Excellence Framework review: call for evidence. The REF Consultation is now underway and CHEAD will be organising regional consultation events in the month of February to give our members an opportunity to engage in the process. We will be responding formally in March.

CHEAD’s Research Alliance is also organising a series of events aimed at strengthening the sector’s research profile for REF 2021 following on from the sold-out launch of the network with the CHEAD Research Alliance Strategy Symposium hosted by Prof Naren Barfield at the RCA. These will be announced with more detail in the New Year and we will be issuing a full briefing for our sector on the REF consultation. We have also responded to the BIS Consultation – Innovate UK’s Integration with Research UK.

TEF, art and design pedagogy

CHEAD responded to the initial TEF technical consultation. Year 1 is now upon us and CHEAD is organising interactive workshops for our members in Spring 2017 to support implementation of TEF metrics for Years 2 and 3 led by Prof Vicky Gunn of Glasgow School of Art, which will be announced shortly. We have also convened an Open Policy Expert Panel for a series of policy labs with DfE to input on the implementation of TEF Year 4 at disciplinary level, the next will be a TEF 4 prototyping workshop in January 2017.

CHEAD’s Executives, Prof Sally Wade of Sheffield Hallam University and Prof Judy Glasman of Hertfordshire University were also members of the benchmarking group QAA Subject Benchmark Statement Consultation – Art and Design.


CHEAD has already responded to stage one of the consultation. Stage two will be announced shortly and we will circulate a briefing and draft before submitting our formal response to stage two.


The HE Bill potentially opens the sector to more competition from the independent HE sector at a time when many of our key competitor nations are investing heavily in their offer to the global HE sector. Since reforms to the student visa regulations, we are beginning to lose market share and this has accelerated since Brexit which opens up additional key challenges for the global competitiveness of the UK art, design and creative media sector — some of these are common to HE as a whole and some a compounded by additional risks to the creative industries.

CHEAD has been working closely with Policy Connect and we co-organised a packed roundtable discussion in the House of Lords in December, Creative Education as a Global Driver for UK Economy and Society Post-Brexit, hosted by Baroness Whitaker and Sharon Hodgson, MP with the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group (APDIG) and chaired by CHEAD’s Prof Anita Taylor of Bath Spa University. We also presented the key issues to a roundtable organised by the The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Art, Craft and Design in Education (APPG) in the House of Commons. We will be collaborating again with APDIG and other sector partners to develop a Brexit Manifesto to be launched in the House of Lords and distributed to Parliamentarians as well as the creative sector — more information in the New Year. We have also submitted a formal response to the Education Select Committee The impact of exiting the European Union on higher education inquiry on behalf of our members and we continue to track developments.

CHEAD Membership and Networking

  • We run quarterly membership and networking meetings which are free to members. Our most recent December meeting was themed around the impact of data and metrics in HE with panels on ‘big data’ in design research, data and metrics in HE management and pedagogy, and the role of data in HE policy development with presenters including Prof Ian Gwilt from Lab4Living at SHU, Prof Vicky Gunn of Glasgow School of Art, Dr Simone Gumtau from Southampton, Jack Tindale from APDIG and George Windsor from NESTA. Our next membership meeting will be May  2017 and will aim to provide insight, discussion and support for Learning Gain, TEF implementation and metrics.
  • The annual CHEAD Conference 2017,  Global Connections Through Arts, Design and Media – Brexit and Beyond, will be hosted by Dean Hughes, Edinburgh School of art. The theme will be an exploration of the art, design and creative media sector in global context with an emphasis on generating new opportunities #CHEAD2017 —  CHEAD 2016 was themed Art School – Location – AgencyCHEAD Conference 2016 Presentations here.
  • CHEAD runs the Links network hosted by Prof Linda Drew at Ravensbourne bringing together art, design and creative higher education Subject Associations to support art and design pedagogy, inform our pedagogy policy work, as well as helping us maintain healthy interaction between art and design pedagogy and research. The network relaunched with a CHEAD Links Meeting in April 2016. The next Links meeting will be 9 February 2017.
  • We run a Research Alliance with a strategy group made up of art and design research leaders — Prof Paul Seawright and Prof Karen Fleming of Ulster University, Prof Kerstin Mey, University of Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, and Emeritus Prof Jim Roddis of Sheffield Hallam — which informs our policy work relating to research. We are also seeding strategic research into maximising design research effectiveness led by Professor Ian Gwilt | Lab4Living | Sheffield Hallam University. The next Research Alliance meeting will be 2 February 2017: Approaches to Design Research
  • CHEAD is actively working toward redefining and relaunching the Gallery Network in Autumn 2017, a professional network for colleagues with Galleries and Collections in the CHEAD membership led by Dr Virginia Button of Falmouth School of Art with the aim of promoting knowledge and understanding throughout and beyond the gallery network and to promote and share best practice.
  • Following our recent one-day event looking at the expanding role of data in HE policy and research, we are currently forming a new network to explore how we can maximise the effectiveness of data and metrics in art and design HE.


  • CHEAD ran a series of sold-out Leadership Seminars with a programme devised by Prof Judy Glasman, University of Hertfordshire — the final seminar of the series will be Building a Sustainable Future,  27 January 2017, hosted by Linda Drew at Ravensbourne.
  • Prof Vicky Gunn will be offering two interactive workshops in May 2017 on TEF Years 2 and 3 metrics which will be announced shortly.

Art & Design Skills Pipeline

CHEAD is concerned not only for EU and overseas student recruitment but is also responding to a crisis in UK art and design education in schools revealed by The National Society for Education in Art and Design Survey (NSEAD) Report 2015-16. We responded to the Consultation on Implementation of English Baccalaureate as well as the most recent consultation relating to the introduction of grammar schools and changes to HE access agreements. We are consulting with NSEAD and other partners as well as the CHEAD Links network to explore how the art and design HE sector can focus its existing work with schools more effectively with a view to commissioning joint research to map existing art and design teacher training, HE schools outreach and CPD models to identify a sustainable way forward.

And much more . . .

Prof Judy Glasman also organises our annual sponsorship of the THE Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts, presented by our Chair, Prof Anita Taylor.

CHEAD is entering into a partnership with the new Art.Art top level domain to explore its possibilities for the UK art and design HE sector, also led by Prof Anita Taylor.

CHEAD supports, collates and contributes to research relating to art and design Higher education as well as monitoring and disseminating policy intelligence on behalf of our members. You can follow our policy work on our blog, find copies of our policy responses and key presentations on our Resources page and information about CHEAD events here.

We would particularly like to thank CHEAD members for supporting and informing our policy work, especially CHEAD’s Treasurer Prof Kerstin Mey, and Gillian Youngs of Westminster University, Prof Linda Drew of Ravensbourne, Prof Vicky Gunn of Glasgow School of Art, Prof Karen Fleming of Ulster University, Prof Jim Roddis and Prof Sally Wade of Sheffield Hallam, Prof Susan Orr at UAL, and Dr Jill Fernie-Clarke, Cleveland College of Art & Design. We also thank our partners and collaborators in key sector organisations including Policy Connect, the Creative Industries Federation, Design Council, Crafts Council and Arts Council, NESTA, University Alliance, GuildHE, UKADIA, GLAD, HEAD Trust, NSEAD, and many others.

We thank all of our members for the enthusiasm and engagement which has ensured our success in 2016, we look forward to working together in 2017 — and wish everyone a happy and relaxing festive season!

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