B: Bridging Arts and Science
E: Educating new research practitioners
A: Activating Arts/Science collaborative research
C: Creating cutting-edge practice in real world contexts
O: Opening digital space for on line interactive technologies
N: Networking across the globe

The Beacon Institute is a collaboration between Kent’s Centre for Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance, the Gulbenkian Theatre, Arts and Science academics across the University of Kent’s three Faculties, a developing network of national and international collaborators and a range of non-higher education partners. The Beacon Institute project realises our ambition for a flagship organization to pioneer interdisciplinary creative arts practice and research.

Projects associated with the proposed institute have the capacity to generate new interdisciplinary knowledge of how performance affects audiences and participants, to illuminate scientific processes through arts practices, to change lives through applied science and performance research, to engage new audiences, to enfranchise disadvantaged communities and to influence professional practice in arts, education and health contexts. The collaboration between arts and science that will be exemplified by the Beacon Institute’s projects also responds to the agendas of funders for the rigorous collection of qualitative and quantitative data that evidences and measures impact.

The Beacon Institute will pioneer new directions in research and practice across and between the cultures of arts and science. The institute’s initial phase will be focused on creating the structural frameworks to secure its future. First-year outputs are to include four new pilot projects, each receiving research and development funding. The pilot APPS (Applied Practice in Performance and Science) will feature an array of collaborations that are all new to Kent: dance and science; music and health; interactive digital media with cognitive psychology; and spectatorship, performance and sports science. Funding will also support an array of projects including development of an evaluation methodology for documenting and evaluating participatory arts in health, education and social contexts; a suite of training programmes ranging from short courses for arts professionals to an extended cross-disciplinary PhD; open space exchanges to generate new collaborations and project ideas, a joint synchronized “lighthouses” rollout involving our three flagship international partners and the development of an interactive website appropriate to practice based exchange.