Area Studies (UoA 27)
Research Excellence Framework 2014
The Centre for European and International Studies Research is delighted to report a continuing track-record of excellence, demonstrated in the REF 2014. Entering 42 individuals (39 FTE) and five Impact Case Studies for assessment under Area Studies, we have increased the world-leading (4*) proportion of our profile from 15% in 2008’s European Studies entry to 25% this year.
We have done this while continuing to submit almost twice as many individuals as the average Area Studies entry, and nurturing a new generation of early-career researchers, who make up almost 40% of our profile. This achievement has been acknowledged in the rating of our research environment as 30% 4* and 60% 3* - one of the top performances in the country for this element of the exercise. We are also delighted with a score of 40% 4* and 44% 3* for our impact profile, marking the world-leading excellence of our engagement beyond the research community.
Our Area Studies submission comprised work from eight research clusters: Cohabited Space, Francophone Africa, International Development Studies and Security Issues, Language across Borders, Social and Cultural History, Sociology and Social Theory, Transnational Europe and Women's and Gender Studies. 42 staff were submitted, making this the University of Portsmouth’s second largest submission to REF 2014. The submission included five impact case studies illustrating our impact on public policy and in the education sphere, and the engagement of our researchers with cultural organisations.
- UoP made one of the largest submissions to REF 2014 in Area Studies and is in the top 4 universities for research power# in Area Studies in the UK.
- 25% of our research was rated world-leading (4*) and 68% either world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). This compares to 15% 4* and 45% either world-leading or internationally excellent in 2008. Overall, the unit has 26.79 FTE staff whose work was rated at 4*/3*. This places Portsmouth in the top ten universities in the UK for 4* and 4*/3*-rated research.
- 40% of our impact was rated outstanding 4* and 84% as either outstanding or as being very considerable in terms of reach and significance. This places Portsmouth in the top ten universities in the UK for impact in area studies.
- 90% of our Environment was rated as 4* (world leading) or 3* (internationally excellent).
- The Grade Point Average for the equivalent submission (to European Studies in 2008) was 2.4 and this has risen to 2.9 in 2014. Our GPA this year for Impact (3.24) and Environment (3.20) was significantly above the national average.
#Research power is defined as the product of the QI x Cat A FTE submitted (Reed Elsevier REF tool).
Research groups / Research themes
(Hakak, Marten-Finnis, Tremlett), diasporic and minority communities in historical and contemporary contexts;
(Chafer, Majumdar, Rutazibwa, Vince, Warson), the internal histories, colonial legacies and globalised futures of Francophone Africa;
International development studies and security issues
(Bradley, Chafer, Cheng, Garrod, Holmes, Lee, Maniruzzaman, Rutazibwa, Spencer) legal, social, cultural and political implications of security in a globalised international sphere;
Language across borders
(Clarke, Crabbe, Evans, Fasulo, Polyzou, Saraceni, Wright, Zinken) cross-boundary approaches to the study of language practices, through linguistics and associated disciplines;
Social and cultural history
(Andress, Beaven, Bell, Burkett, Esbester, Gibbons, Hough, James, Krause, Mathisen, McCall) modern and contemporary American, British and European histories;
Sociology and social theory
(Burridge, Hakak, Jabbar, Leddy-Owen, Peggs, Smart, Stewart) social thought, social exclusion, the ethics of human/non-human interactions, sport and consumer culture;
(Crack, Flenley, Germond, Heard-Lauréote, Kaiser, Stoddard, Tremlett) international organizations, NGOs, expert networks, policy formation and diffusion, and transnational narratives in a museum and heritage context; and
Women's and gender studies
(Bradley, Holmes, Peggs, Polyzou, Vince) histories of feminism, gender and international development, and contemporary activism in Africa and Asia, language and sexuality.
Impact Case Studies
Exhibiting Europe: transnationalising museum networks and narratives
The Exhibiting Europe project has generated change in the museum world with a pan-European reach. It has had significant impact on museum organisations, by helping them to improve their networking and lobbying activities; museum professionals, by suggesting ways to ‘transnationalize’ their activities and historical narratives; and policy-makers in the cultural and museum field, by contributing to a high level policy dialogue with the European Parliament, the European Commission and EU member-states about ways to ‘narrate’ Europe and European integration.
French and British Africa policy. enhancing understanding, improving cooperation
Political instability and insecurity in Africa have become increasingly salient issues since the 1990s. For historical reasons the UK and France are the two EU member states with long-standing commitments in Africa. Chafer’s research has had an impact in three main ways: by providing research-based evidence that has informed decision-making, by providing policy recommendations regarding opportunities for cooperation and by sustaining ‘institutional memory’ concerning the Saint-Malo process, which promised enhanced Anglo-French cooperation on Africa policy. In these ways it has made a significant contribution to enhancing peace and security on the continent.
Popular culture and the city: exhibiting inclusive and challenging urban histories
Brad Beaven’s research into the changing character and form of popular culture in the English city between 1850 and 1945 underpinned the ‘Portsmouth Voices’ project, a collaboration with Portsmouth City Museum supported by a £223,500 Heritage Lottery Fund award. Previous exhibitions had presented rather narrow and parochial narratives of Portsmouth’s history. Beaven’s research significantly structured the project’s engagement with class, gender and ethnicity in narrating the city’s past, and played a guiding role in the curation of a major exhibition that successfully challenged preconceived ideas on generation, race and sexuality. In presenting both an inclusive and challenging story of Portsmouth’s history, the exhibition attracted significant visitor numbers and a new section of the public who engaged with the Museum for the first time.
Transforming the educational delivery and public understanding of french revolutionary terror
Through a range of publications and public engagements, the research of Professor David Andress into the French Revolution and its international and historical ramifications has achieved a notable impact on students and teachers in the educational sphere, becoming an influential interpretation in syllabi at undergraduate and postgraduate levels across the English-speaking world, as well as for A-level studies within the UK. This research impact has also been extended into the broader culture through engagement with public audiences, with a highly positive response, and participation in a major BBC factual production.
Infrastructure and facilities
Infrastructural support for CEISR is provided in a number of further concrete ways: Access to the services in FHSS of a full-time Faculty Research Secretary for general administration, of the Faculty Business Development Manager in support of financial costings for events and external funding bids, and of the FHSS Web Communication Officer for the promotion of the Centre’s online presence.
At University level, the services of the Research and Innovation Service, including two Research Grants Officers and a Research Impact Officer, who work closely with researchers, and especially with the strategic project teams, to develop funding plans and to progress the elaboration of specific bids.
A dedicated library budget for research purposes, and additional library investments in substantial standalone resources over the REF period, including Mass Observation releases II and III (£18,000), Victorian Popular Culture collection (£23,500), Illustrated London News archive (£18,900), First World War personal experiences archive (£12,600), Spanish Civil War archive collection (£6,800), some £12,000 for additional access to politics and linguistics journal archives, and over £12,000 annually for Nexis UK global newspaper access.