Pencil drawing of beetle


LICA is committed to leading interdisciplinary and international research in contemporary arts and rigorous enquiry into the relationship between creative practice, theory and criticism

Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA, encompassing Architecture, Design, Film, Fine Art, and Theatre) continues to deliver world leading research.

The Research Excellence Framework 2021 ranked us 20th in the country based on our multi-disciplinary submission to the Art and Design panel. We performed particularly well with respect to our Research Impact (8th) and our Research Environment (9th). This is a testament to the contemporary relevance of our research, making a positive difference in peoples’ lives and to organisations and communities nationally and internationally. It also demonstrates that LICA is an excellent place to study and do high quality research.

The results are a credit to all the staff and students who work in LICA. The full results can be found on the REF 2021 results webpage.

Our research is organised across three research centres — Imagination, Cultures and Practices.


ImaginationLancaster is an open and exploratory research lab that investigates emerging issues, technologies and practices to advance knowledge and develop solutions that contribute to the common good. We conduct applied and theoretical research into products, places and systems – using innovative strategies including disruptive design techniques that combine traditional and social science methods with practice-based methods arising from the arts.



Creative Cultures and Contexts (Cultures) is a research centre based in the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA) at Lancaster University. It features scholars who carry research into the history and theory of Fine Art, Dance, Theatre and Performance, Film, Digital Art and Design. Collaboration occurs with scholars from History, and those involved in research into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin American and Spanish cultures.



The Centre for Practice features scholars pursuing research-based practice across the disciplines of Art, Design, Film, and Performance. The Centre is based at the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA) at Lancaster University, and includes scholars working in the (inter)disciplines of Fine Art, Drama, Dance, Theatre and Performance, Design, and Film.