Research | what we do

The University of Leeds has an international reputation for the cutting-edge research which its outstanding people and world-leading facilities generate. Excellence in research is increasingly dependent on partnerships and collaboration.

The Cultural Institute offers a single gateway of information, support and practical advice to connect external partners with our world-leading researchers across all of the disciplines in the University, inviting them to contribute new ideas and expertise to projects from their inception, right through to bids for external funding that support our work together.

The Cultural Institute brokers conversations between academics and the creative and cultural sector, strengthening existing partnerships and acting as a catalyst for new ones. Our active programme of creative labs, workshops, showcases, competitions, awards and prizes helps us nurture these connections.

Working on a national research programme with the University of Leeds was hugely influential to our organisation for reputational, creative, developmental and sustainability reasons.

Wieke Eringa, Artistic Director, Yorkshire Dance


In 2017, the Cultural Institute awarded over £20,000 of funding to researchers through the latest round of Ignite. Eleven projects have secured grants between £500 and £2,000 to develop a partnership project between the University and external organisations, to advance research impact and explore ideas and areas for development. See the full list of funded projects 

Leeds Creative Labs

Leeds Creative Labs is our pioneering ‘blue skies’ programme, harnessing the varied skills and talents of University of Leeds academics and creative innovators to spark fresh connections and reap surprising benefits. By pairing creative professionals with researchers from the University, the initiative provides funding, inspiration and opportunity for artists and researchers to explore, innovate, co-produce and take risks.

Immersive technologies

We are advancing the role of virtual reality in the Arts and Humanities, and connecting cutting-edge research in immersive technology to our creative industries. We’re bringing together researchers across diverse disciplines with the aim to develop distinctive new cultural products, and with artists enabling the creation of new research through the development of arts/science-led virtual spaces.

Arts and Health 

Over the next three years, we will focus on bringing researchers from across the University together with creative practitioners, to explore how humanity's most pressing questions can be approached through the intersection of arts and health. We will act as a broker with the creative and cultural sector, strengthening existing partnerships and acting as a catalyst for new ones with a number of events, workshops, presentations and symposia.

To find out more about our work in this area or register your interest in participating in our programmes please email

DARE prize

A £15,000 prize, awarded by the DARE partnership between the University of Leeds and Opera North, challenges artists and scientists to think differently about the creative process. The inaugural DARE Art Prize 2017 has been awarded to composer Samuel Hertz. He will be with working in collaboration with researchers at the University and Opera North staff to explore sounds below the limits of human hearing and collaborate on the creation of groundbreaking new work. Read more

Research workshops

Cultural Institute research workshops aim to build collaborations and create new knowledge. They are open to people working in the cultural and creative sector and academics from any discipline from the University of Leeds.

Cultural sector professionals and practitioners are invited to meet some of the leading researchers in the cultural economy, exploring areas as diverse as audiences in a digital age, the creative workforce and historical and contemporary perspectives on intellectual property.