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Sheffield Hallam University
Country: United Kingdom
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254 Projects, page 1 of 51
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/F020082/1
    Funder Contribution: 16,403 GBP
    Partners: SHU

    The applicant holds an AHRC Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts. The research program is entitled 'The production and application of Japanese alloys and patination' and will run from May 2007- April 2010. \n\nIn this application we seek funding to support research into the application of the niiro patination technique which is used to patinate irogane alloys. This research was outlined in the original fellowship application and is central to the overall research program. Funding from AHRC will ensure that the research is carried out to the highest quality. \n\nThe Western tradition of metal patination and colouring is based on the use of a small range of metals and alloys which are coloured by the application of a wide range of patination solutions. In contrast to this, Japanese metalworkers developed a wide range of irogane alloys which are coloured with a single patination solution (the niiro eki or boiling colour solution). This approach allows different alloys to be combined in one piece and patinated, producing a multi-coloured piece of metalwork.\n\nThere are several barriers to consistent niiro patination. For example, the frequent 'patchiness' of the colour obtained results in time consuming re-polishing and re-patination. Variations in colour and colour consistency make the planning of a workpiece difficult. There is disagreement amongst Japanese craftspeople on the optimum composition and correct application of the niiro patination solution. In this study we aim to develop a reliable and easy-to-use patination process using standard ingredients available in the UK.\n\nThe research will ask:\n\n1. How should the surface be prepared prior to patination to ensure even patination?\n\n2. How can we optimize the ingredients and composition of the niiro solution to achieve good patination on the alloys prepared in our earlier study?\n\n3. How should we apply the patination solution to the alloys?\n\n4. What is the full range of colours that we can achieve with the niiro patination solution?\n\nIt is proposed to study the effects of niiro colouration on the alloys developed in the previous proposal, paying particular attention to the performance of alloys produced and finished by hand and by semi-commercial processes. Traditional niiro solutions and solutions made with laboratory or commercial grade chemical agents will be tested on both samples and studio work, and any differences between them will be characterised. \n\nA limited number of researchers have published work on the chemistry of niiro patinated surfaces, on surface preparation, and on substitutes for some parts of the traditional recipes. However, a full understanding of the process and the variations that occur is still to be achieved.\n\nThe research will be located at Sheffield Hallam University using the facilities and expertise of the Art and Design Research Centre (ADRC) and the Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI). There is a strong team of highly experienced and internationally recognised Metalwork and Jewellery staff at ADRC to support the research. MERI has the background of precious metals research, and the extensive equipment and materials characterisation techniques essential to support this research. \n\nPapers will be submitted to scientific, design and craft related journals and at least two conferences. The University website will be utilized for the publication of papers etc. Commercial collaborators will be sought through SHU to exploit any materials or processes that are developed.\n\nThis project is a fundamental part of the larger research programme as understanding and control of the niiro solution is crucial to the patination of the irogane alloys. The niiro solution will be tested under laboratory conditions and through studio work. A combination of laboratory based testing on small samples with practice based testing on larger workpieces in the studio will allow for a through study of niiro patination.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: EP/G030898/1
    Funder Contribution: 1,873,020 GBP
    Partners: SHU

    Research into ageing aimed at improving the lives of older and disabled people has received, over the last 11 years, significant financial support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). In particular, the EQUAL (extending quality of life of older and disabled people) programme and associated network has encouraged a wide range of research; including design of the built environment to encourage safe and enjoyable use by older people, inclusive products which can be used by everyone including older people, and technological applications in the home to maintain independence in later life. The research has had a significant impact upon a range of groups; for example it has led to major changes to building regulations and to housing corporation specifications and has also identified best practice in a range of social, health, planning and design professions. A number of trial products have also been developed. With the increasing proportion of older people in the population, there is a growing urgency for evidence and knowledge to inform solutions to enable older people, for example, to maintain their independence, to continue to be active in the workplace for as long as they choose, and to benefit from emerging technologies. Meeting these and other challenges will be the focus of the work of the KT EQUAL consortium which brings together experts in engineering, construction, architecture, participatory and inclusive design, rehabilitation, psychology, change management and public engagement to work collaboratively with each other and with older people to promote knowledge transfer in innovative and effective ways. From the outset, EQUAL recognised the importance of involving older people so that they can both inform what research is undertaken in this area, and help to determine how that research is conducted. This will characterise the approach and working methods of the KT EQUAL Consortium. We will consult with older people, their carers, those that work with older people, with policy makers and with others. Older people will be invited onto project groups to directly influence the work programme of the Consortium. Views of a wider group of participants (including older people) will be sought through a variety of activities which will take place in different venues across the country. In these ways, older people will help us to identify the research topics and research results which are of importance to them, and what should happen as a result. A priority for the KT EQUAL consortium will be to actively draw the attention of industry and others to the needs of the ageing population and to the outcomes and impact of the EQUAL and SPARC programmes which offer great potential benefits for society, including excellent investment opportunities for industry. This will be achieved in part through events to raise awareness and a high profile in the media. We will work with stakeholders such as manufacturers, technologists, designers, as well as those responsible for delivering public services throughout. The Consortium will also encourage researchers to publicise their work in ways that will be understood by a wide audience so that new ideas might be taken forward by older people themselves, by professions working directly with older people and by those developing services/ products for older people.The KT EQUAL Consortium will also take over from SPARC to support the career development of researchers who are interested and committed to research concerning older people. We need to support the workforce that has already been funded through the EQUAL programme as well as identifying new researchers. We will also address the pressing need to develop the capacity of older people to engage and participate in ageing research and in the application of its findings..

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/D001838/1
    Funder Contribution: 143,468 GBP
    Partners: SHU

    The central problem behind this research is how to understand and transmit the expert knowledge of skilled craftspeople. In particular we are interested in craft skills that may be disappearing, despite there being people interested in preserving those skills and learning them. For example many traditional rural skills are essential for preserving our heritage of buildings and other aspects of rural life, but there are few people left to pass on the knowledge and learners do not have the time for traditional apprenticeships.\nThe research is being carried out by designers and our interest is to understand how design professionals can play a part in addressing this problem.\nPrevious research at Sheffield Hallam University has shown that it is possible to use computer based interactive materials to help learners, who have had some initial instruction from a craft master, to continue to develop these skills at their own pace. As well as developing a system for designing these interactive materials we have methods for discovering the craft master's tacit (unspoken) knowledge and testing our understanding through a programme of experimental learning sessions.\nIn this project we propose to bring this work to a conclusion in two ways. Firstly we will investigate how to bring in an 'expert learner', a craftsperson with good relevant skills and experience, to work with an interactive media designer, who cannot be expected to understand the subtleties of craft practice. Secondly we will bring together all the methods and knowledge from the research programme, which started in 2001, into a prototype learning resource. This will be evaluated by asking a group of craft practitioners, experts and students, to use the prototype as part of a learning programme which will culminate in them producing new creative work using these skills.\nThe area of craft skill chosen for this work is traditional custom knife making. Sheffield still has a number of master craftsmen making custom knives and some of them have agreed to support the work by giving training to our expert learner. The learners taking part in the evaluation will come from a new generation of creative metalworkers whose interests lie in adapting old skills to new craft practices. This creates an opportunity to open up a new investigation into how skills can be transmitted and transformed in ways that were common among pre-industrial craftsmen but have faded away since the industrial revolution brought in a more functional idea of making, that allowed less room for reflection and artistry.\nThe second aspect of the research will therefore observe and record the effect of bringing together a community of craftspeople to learn a set of skills, each with a different agenda and ideas about how to apply those skills. One of the outcomes of the research will be an exhibition of work from this group and we expect to identify new research questions from this first step.\nThe research brings together a number of aspects of design research at Sheffield Hallam University. It draws on expertise in the role of tacit (unspoken) knowledge in design, interactive learning materials, contemporary craft metalwork, video production and human computer interface design, all based in the Cultural, Communication and Computing Research Institute. The research is 'practice-led' in the sense that much of the investigation is pursued through making and evaluating things. The relationship between creative practice and development of new knowledge has been a feature of this and other design research at the university where creative practices may be an important feature of the methods, but the focus is on developing useful knowledge that has implications beyond the problems of designing.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: 509996
    Funder Contribution: 89,110 GBP
    Partners: SHU

    To develop and embed bespoke manufacturing processes to produce high volumes of a high value novel flake product.