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Press release

  • 27 January 2005
  • Universities given £3.75 million to develop 'creativity centre'

    First year Product Design students working on the Creative Styling course at the University of Susse

    First year Product Design students working on the Creative Styling course at the University of Susse

    The Universities of Sussex and Brighton are to receive a Government grant of £3.75 million in recognition of their excellence in creativity, design and innovation.


    The money is to be used to develop creative approaches to teaching and learning and to set up two 'creativity zones' - one for each of the universities.


    The zones  would be places where undergraduate and postgraduate students from a wide range of disciplines can meet to swap ideas and explore new approaches in environments equipped with state-of-the-art computer technology and software.


    For example, engineering and product design students could be encouraged to experiment with narrative devices used by creative writing students to come up with designs, while creative writing students may adopt design morphology (thinking in shapes) to develop storylines.


    Professor Peter Childs, convenor in product design at Sussex and the project's director, says: "We are delighted with this grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).  Both Sussex and Brighton have already proved their creative excellence in several areas, including engineering, creative writing, music composition and advanced technology. The centre will enable the rolling out of innovative learning experiences across the universities and encourage a move away from the ubiquitous PowerPoint presentation."


    He said the bid was made jointly because the two universities have already proved to be successful collaborators for degree programmes such as automotive engineering. The creativity zones, which will involve refurbishing existing buildings ready for use by July 2006, will benefit more than a thousand students studying a wide diversity of subjects, from artificial intelligence to history of art and product design. An early emphasis will be on the application of creative methods to design mechanical components and technology-based products such as cordless hand-tools and fluid seals.


    The grant is one of 75 being awarded to higher education institutions this year by HEFCE to create Centres of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs).  Universities and HE colleges were invited to propose CETLs in any subject, group of subjects, or teaching and learning areas where they could show evidence of distinctive excellence.


    The bid from Sussex and Brighton was to create a Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Creativity.  Professor Childs adds: "This provides the opportunity to define creativity as the central tenet of the University of Sussex."


    Richard Morris, product design convenor at the University of Brighton, says: "This just shows what can be achieved when universities collaborate."


    Notes for editors 

    University of Sussex press contacts:  Jacqui Bealing or Maggie Clune,

    Tel: 01273 678888

    HEFCE: press officer: Philip Walker,

    tel 0117 931 7363,




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