Proposed strategy theme

Radical creativity

We are asking our staff and students to see the world differently. We want them to challeng perceptions to drive imaginative change.

Our University has a rich tradition of artistic and creative activity that has gone against the orthodoxy. The kind of original and lateral thinking that we want to focus on here goes further. It runs through every department and all parts of our community life.

Where disruption meets inspiration

To make this happen, both words in the title of this theme should be equally weighted. This is about radicalism in the form of innovation, disruption, challenge and risk, as well as quirky and inspirational originality.

This is an opportunity to bring about a step-change in global collaboration and cross-disciplinary thinking. We will shape the world creatively by bringing together different perspectives, approaches, paradigms and bodies of knowledge.

Our current activity

Creative teaching and learning and engagement

This theme will empower Middlesex academics, across departments and all of our campuses, who are passionate about innovative approaches to teaching that combine technology, collaboration and one-to-one support. To take a handful to examples: we provide all Maths students at our Hendon campus with iPads to access instant feedback. Staff and students created a 24/7 immersive project turning the Hendon Grove building into a mocked-up A&E department. And the MDX Living Pavilion is a sustainable and organically evolving addition to the London campus designed by Architectural Technology students.

Innovative and interdisciplinary research

We excel in interdisciplinary research, often with wide-ranging partners, that showcases the incredible possibilities of this theme. Take the activities of artist-centred dance-based research centre ResCen. Their work includes a partnership with Japan’s Oberlin University Institute of Gerontology on the role of dance and creativity in the wellbeing of the elderly. And research by our Music and Cognition Communication Lab evaluates young children’s musical engagement and language skills.

Thank you

We are grateful to you for taking time to answer our consultation questions. Your answers will help shape the future of our strategy – and of Middlesex towards 2031.

We will bring together feedback from across our community and share them with you over the next few months.

Approaching employability and skills creatively

We take creative approaches to get our students ready for the future. We regularly host the UK finals of international robotics competition Eurobot. At the 2019 Grand Finals in Paris, our Team Brainstorm won a special innovation prize for the text-to-speech instruction system and touchscreen interface they built into their devices.

In the challenging employment climate of 2020, we are leveraging our extensive arts alumni network and industry connections to help students. The Arts and Creative Industries faculty have set up LinkedIn groups connecting students with mentors across different sized companies and in all genres of arts and entertainment. We also co-ordinated a digital portfolio website to help creative graduates reach potential employers and media with their work.

Our Film lecturer Eddie McCaffery has led work on a project across the UK higher education sector to connect student lawyers, accountants and marketers with job openings in creative industries that they might not otherwise think of. Alongside this, our crowd-funding platform continues to help raise money for thought-provoking projects, such as disabled Photography student Dexter McLean’s portraits of Jamaicans in the UK and in Jamaica.

Success stories from our community

Science and creativity exploded for disadvantaged young people

Multi-award winning co-created educational experience SMASHFest combines wildly imaginative elements with a firm rooting in science. It was co-founded by our Senior Lecturer in Product Design and Engineering Wyn Griffiths. SMASHFest involves our students and staff in the design process, and as volunteers, with the aim of making science and creative subjects more accessible to educationally disadvantaged young people and their families. The project has input from school and youth groups and a range of organisations from learned societies to theatre companies. This year’s Space Plague experience takes participants through an immersive, unexpectedly topical narrative about tackling a mysterious disease.

Creative research ideas in response to COVID-19

In response to the global pandemic, Professor of Biophysics and Engineering Richard Bayford has swiftly adapted the device to monitor the lungs of premature babies he created for the pioneering CRADL project for adult COVID patients. This addresses physician’s need for an accurate picture of lung function that existing equipment can’t provide. So far Richard has worked with a manufacturer to produce an adult-sized electrode belt, forged a new partnership with an NHS Trust in Scotland, and secured funding from UK Research and Innovation for a trial.

First ever pencil portrait in the House of Commons from Middlesex alumni

In the House of Commons, there is a remarkable pencil portrait of the late Bernie Grant MP, created by Middlesex alumnus Kelvin Okafor. Challenging outdated expectations through his work and his activity, Kelvin is the first black artist to be permanently exhibited in the House of Commons. Working just with charcoal and graphite, Kelvin captures the inner essence of his subjects whether they are famous celebrities, friends or family members. He was catapulted onto the world stage in 2013 and has been a huge success with the general public and seasoned art collectors ever since.

We want to hear from you

We have set the scene with some examples of the work we do in this area. We know this is not a complete list by any means, so now we are looking for your help.

Help us enhance our reputation and build up a better picture of activity by sharing examples of your work and from outside Middlesex.

Thank you

We are grateful to you for taking time to answer our consultation questions. Your answers will help shape the future of our strategy – and of Middlesex towards 2031.

We will bring together feedback from across our community and share them with you over the next few months.

More on our themes

Find out more about the themes and help us to build up a picture of work around them.

Healthy lives, thriving society >

Social justice and EDI >

Environment and sustainability >

Changing society through entrepreneurial action >

Technological innovation >


Engage with our strategy

Want to share more detail or files with us? We are very keen to hear more.

Email us at [email protected]