BA Liberal Arts with International Study / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Engagement Project: Creativity, Culture, and Community

Course unit fact file
Unit code SALC30010
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


This innovative course engages students in creative, reflective, and community-orientated approaches to research, communication, and social responsibility. In the first half of the course, students are inducted into methodologies, methods, and ethics in research design, thinking through key principles in the design and evaluation of cultural, creative and community projects. 
In discussion with the course leader, students will then develop a bespoke piece of research in relation to a particular community organisation, project, or group. The class will split into two streams to allow for teaching to be tailored to the students’ projects and to build smaller learning communities for peer support. The course emphasises the range of skills, knowledge, and roles that can contribute in different ways to addressing contemporary challenges and cultivating knowledge across communities.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Arts and the City: People, Power, and Protest SALC21152 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


·    To develop and demonstrate independent interdisciplinary research skills;
·    To enable students to produce and present a piece of community-facing research;
·    To apply skills and training for interdisciplinary and challenge-led research developed across the Liberal Arts programme;
·    To develop research through dialogue with key non-academic stakeholders that is sound and ethical.


The course is designed to support students’ skills in research methodologies, ethics, and values and to encourage students’ reflective practice in conducting research. 
Semester 1: 
·    Methodologies for social change 
·    Qualitative methods: focus groups, interviews, autoethnography, creative arts-based research
·    Literature Reviews and case studies
·    Ethics and values in research 
·    Research journals and reflective practice 
·    Communicating with research partners and collaborators 
·    Research design and proposals
Semester 2: 
·    Developing a research portfolio 
·    Interpreting findings
·    Communicating findings and results 
·    Integrating reflective practice and reflexivity into findings 
·    Peer feedback 
Students will also be expected to meet with their academic supervisor twice each semester to discuss their progress and ideas. 

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be taught using a variety of interactive and experiential teaching styles to reflect the emphasis on developing practical skills in research and communicating with different stakeholders and communities in research projects. The early parts of the course will focus on research design, methods, and ethics, and on discussing of research ideas with the course leader. Students will be encouraged to consider ideas for working with a research partner and to meet with possible partners in the first semester. The second part of the course enables structured support for reflecting on, interpreting, and communicating their research project. The workshops will provide space for action-learning and peer feedback to encourage the benefits of conducting independent research within a learning community. 

Knowledge and understanding

·    Specialist knowledge of a key challenge that faces communities and/or stakeholders in Manchester;
·    Skilled competence with relevant interdisciplinary theories and methodologies; 
·    Detailed and critical awareness of connections between universities and public life.

Intellectual skills

·    Critical reading and application of this in development of an argument; 
·    Critical and analytical skills;
·    Understanding of need for research ethics and ability to implement them in own research agenda;
·    Development of own research agenda and selection of appropriate theories and methods through which to explore a chosen theme/case study. 

Practical skills

·    Ability to work with key stakeholders, including those outside of the university context;
·    Independent approach to research;
·    Communicating research in non-essay formats (i.e. report, poster, video) and experiencing different writing and presentation styles.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

·    Self-organisation skills and an ability to plan research in order to meet course deadlines;
·    An ability to work independently and responding to feedback from others;
·    Insight into demands of different stakeholders and experience of working with non-university stakeholders;
·    Effective oral and written communication skills. 

Employability skills

Group/team working
Experience working with a non-academic partner;
· Self-organisation skills, including working to deadlines; · Interpersonal skills; · Ability to recognise academic skillset and its applicability to non-academic contexts.

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Formative or Summative Weighting within unit (%)

Research proposal outline

Formative n/a

Research proposal

Summative 30%

Research portfolio (includes discussion of process of research, methods, findings, incorporation of feedback)

Summative 70%


Resit Assessment

Assessment task

Research report

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Peer feedback on research ideas in seminars and workshops


Academic and placement supervisory feedback on research ideas


Written feedback on formally submitted research plan


Written feedback on all summative work within 15 working days of deadline



Recommended reading

·    W. Alex Edmonds, An Applied Guide to Research Designs: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods (Los Angeles, CA: SAGE, 2017).
·    Malcom Crowe, ‘Research Today’, in John Atkinson and Malcolm Crowe (eds.), Interdisciplinary Research: Diverse Approaches in Science, Technology, Health and Society (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2006), pp. 1-24.
·    Veronica Strang and Tom McLeish, ‘Evaluating Interdisciplinary Research: A Practical Guide’, Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University, (2015).
·    Steph Menken and Machiel Keestra (eds.), ‘Part 2: The Manual - “The How”’, An Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research: Theory and Practice (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2016), pp. 51-101.
·    Katri Huutoniemi, ‘Evaluating Interdisciplinary Research’, in Robert Frodeman, Julie Thompson Klein, and Carl Mitcham (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinary Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 309-320.
Other readings will be negotiated with academic supervisor based on the student’s chosen project and placement. 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
External visits 1
Lectures 22
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Wren Radford Unit coordinator

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