UCLan wins prestigious Times Higher Education Award for unique digital arts project
Global Sound Movement recognised at Oscars of higher educator sector
The University has been crowned a winner at the 2016 Times Higher Education (THE) Awards for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts.
UCLan beat off competition from five other UK universities to win the award at what is widely regarded as the Oscars of the higher education sector. It won the arts category prize for its Global Sound Movement (GSM) project, a unique digital arts initiative that captures the sounds of rare and exotic musical instruments from remote villages across the globe for commercial use with profits donated back to the communities.
Led by UCLan’s Faculty of Culture and the Creative Industries, the project travels to international areas where music is intrinsic to the communities’ individual culture; often where hand-built instruments are constructed from locally sourced materials forming the basis of the unique sound of that location. As well as providing a way for remote, economically deprived communities to showcase their rare and distinctive music to a global audience, GSM provides local musicians with a sustainable income stream which could help lift them out of poverty.
"The Global Sound Movement project connects people through music and everyone involved benefits, from the communities we visit to our students who themselves learn so much from the whole experience."
Senior lecturer in Brand Management Paresh Parmar is one of the leaders on the project. Speaking at the THE Awards ceremony he said: “To win this award is absolutely brilliant. The Global Sound Movement project connects people through music and everyone involved benefits, from the communities we visit to our students who themselves learn so much from the whole experience. It truly transforms lives and that is something I think really resonated with the judges.”
The project, which brought together a multidisciplinary team of staff and students in a highly collaborative process of teaching, learning and research, was praised by the judges for realising UCLan’s innovative vision of learning taking place ‘in the wild’.
UCLan’s win was one of six gongs handed to North West Universities at the event, reflecting the region’s buoyant and vibrant higher education sector. The University was also shortlisted in the Entrepreneurial University of the Year category for the third year in succession, reflecting UCLan’s growing status as one of the most innovative institutions in the higher education sector.
UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas said: “I am delighted the University has won this award in recognition of such a unique and ground-breaking project that truly reflects our international outlook and has proved to be a revolutionary sustainable fundraising platform.
“The THE Awards attract hundreds of talented entrants every year so to be nominated in two categories and go onto win one is fantastic and reflects the hard work and commitment of our dedicated staff and students.”
"The THE Awards attract hundreds of talented entrants every year so to be nominated in two categories and go onto win one is fantastic and reflects the hard work and commitment of our dedicated staff and students."
The black-tie event took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London, and was hosted by actor Richard E. Grant. Over 1,200 guests – including the great and good of the higher education sector as well as shortlisted teams from institutions across the UK – gathered to celebrate the extraordinary talent, creativity and resourcefulness of our universities.
Winners were chosen by a panel of judges including Alison Johns, chief executive of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, Joanna Newman, vice-principal (international), King’s College London, and Malia Bouattia, president of the National Union of Students.
John Gill, editor of THE said: “The spirit of relentless improvement, of competing but also working together for the greater public good, will be vital for our universities and the country in the months and years ahead. Universities face major challenges as a result of Brexit, but as can be seen from the extraordinary group of winners this year, the THE Awards serve as a timely reminder of just how strong they are as a group: “world class” is a cliché, but an apt one in this case”.