Two young people dance artistically in casual clothes.

Inclusive Social and Economic Development and Enriching Lives through Culture

We’re taking action so everyone has the opportunities they need to reach their potential, whatever their background.

Improving access to training and education. Providing support for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Giving a voice to people facing discrimination and inequality. At , we’re taking action so everyone has the opportunities they need to reach their potential, whatever their background.

And this starts with breaking down barriers. Whether this means tackling the issues facing marginalised communities, such as those living in poverty, or supporting groups facing discrimination based on race or gender.

Working together, our community creates an environment that encourages innovation and economic growth. We want to share the benefits of economic development across society, not only through enterprise, but also through culture which transforms lives.


Student with a large video camera

How we help

Our teaching, public engagement, research and knowledge exchange connect us to the wider community and create meaningful conversations. We provide our students and researchers with a platform to explore what matters to them. This means everyone at feels a sense of our contribution to global challenges, individually and collectively.

We work across the creative arts to share new ideas and entertain audiences. At the same time, we preserve and celebrate the heritage of our diverse communities, allowing individuals to learn about history and traditions.

Making an Impact

Designing the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard

Society continues to face the urgent issue of how we can tackle race discrimination by employers. Our research into discrimination in the NHS revealed patterns of underrepresentation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff within senior and board levels of the NHS.

The Business School was commissioned to design the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard. The ongoing positive impact includes an increased likelihood of BME staff being appointed from shortlisting, more BME staff appointed at senior/Board level, and less likelihood of disciplinary action against BME staff.

Inspiring new blockchain initiatives

Musicians rely on streaming platforms like Spotify and YouTube to reach their audiences. However, there is a lack of transparency which limits their ability to be fairly compensated. Our research explores how the music industry can use blockchain technology to change how they develop and distribute content.

Our Blockchain for the Creative Industries cluster published the research report: ‘Music on the Blockchain’. According to Nick Mason, drummer from Pink Floyd, "if blockchain technology can help the commercial and contractual relationships in music keep pace with technology and the communication between artists and fans then it could be truly revolutionary". The research continues to look at establishing more transparent transactions as part of streaming deals for artists and songwriters.

A comprehensive survey of discrimination against indigenous peoples and minorities

Indigenous cultures are under threat of extinction because of the way development is being imposed on them, destroying their land and way of life. Our researchers analysed international and comparative law to inform developments around the rights of minorities to education and the need for consent-based engagement. Now their rights are more prominent in government and corporate reporting and have become part of the focus of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Teaming up with the local groups

Professor Lorraine Leeson, Arts and Social Practice, works with a group of older men living in east London called The Geezers. They have worked together for more than ten years as part of her inclusive art practice. Together they uncover solutions for sustainable energy and other challenges in their community.

Supporting communities through the arts video thumbnail

I met this group called ‘The Geezers’ who based at an Age UK centre in Bow and I asked them a question; what technology would you like to see that would benefit yourself, your community? 

Somebody replied, Ted it was at the time, to say whatever happened to tidal power?  He said there's a tidal river down the road. Older people can't afford to heat their home, so why aren't we using it to power our community? And I had to say I know absolutely nothing about tidal power but I'll take you every step of the way that I can. 

And we had our name going by electricity driven by the Thames water outside the Houses of Parliament, and that was amazing. I think as academics we've got the facilities and the means and the methods to actually engage with people. It's through the engagement that we, I think, really make a difference.


Supporting communities through the arts

knowledge action
Group of elderly people sitting and painting together

We create new knowledge and put it into action. We benefit society, the economy, the environment, health and wellbeing, and culture and communities.

Strategy 2031

Discover the vision driving us forward into the next decade