Our Civic Commitment

We are proud to be the only university in our city and county and we value the civic responsibilities this brings. Here, we explore some recent examples of civic activity that have taken place, highlighting our ongoing commitment to supporting our local communities.

University supports Derby recording studio to find new home

Earlier this year we were pleased to be able to step in and help the owner of a popular local recording studio and music venue find a new location for his business – by offering the use one of our buildings.  

Jay Dean needed to relocate Dubrek Studios, which was based on Becket Street, so we offered him the lease of the ground floor of our 67 Bridge Street building for up to three years. 

The business officially opened in its new location on April 8, 2022.

Jay said: “At Dubrek Studios we're very pleased that the University of Derby offered its premises at a very critical time for us. We're excited to now be fully open, next to the University’s Banks Mill Studios. Our cafe/bar is open every day, along with rehearsal and recording facilities for musicians, as well as our art gallery, which currently features the work of a local artist. We also have an exciting programme of events with something for everyone." 

John Crossley, Head of Discipline – Music and Performing Arts at the University of Derby, said: "We are really pleased to be able to play our part in ensuring that this important, thriving, local business has a future in Derby. This exciting development will create fantastic opportunities for our students in terms of work experience, mentoring and shadowing. We see this as a true synergy of education and real-world experience, which is so important in equipping our graduates for their future careers.” 

Music studio
Room with nice sofas and paintings

Businesses across Derbyshire can access fully-funded support from the University

The University offers fully funded support to local businesses to help them grow and innovate, as part of the East Midlands Accelerator Programme. 

Working in partnership with East Midlands Chamber, Derbyshire County Council, Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire and The Food and Drink Forum, the University is offering fully funded workshops, training, masterclasses, events and networking to regional businesses through Derbyshire Accelerator.

Professor Kamil Omoteso, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Science at the University, said: "We are delighted to be part of Derbyshire Accelerator and providing the support needed to help businesses recover, grow and innovate following the pandemic. By taking part in the programme, participants can access support with leadership and workforce development, digital innovation and adoption, product, process and service innovation, as well as the Derbyshire Net Zero Accelerator to help them realise their growth ambitions.” 

Professor Kamil Omoteso

Participants can access support with leadership and workforce development, digital innovation and adoption, product, process and service innovation, as well as the Derbyshire Net Zero Accelerator to help them realise their growth ambitions.

Professor Kamil Omoteso
Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences

University led consortium awarded grant to support Amber Valley communities

A grant of up to £826,000 is going to help make a cultural impact in Amber Valley after it was awarded to a consortium, led by colleagues at the University, for its Make/Shift project, which will provide a new programme of cultural activity to communities within the area.

The funding was awarded as part of the Arts Council England Creative People and Places National Portfolio 22-25 programme.

The project, which is due to start in 2022, aims to reflect communities within Amber Valley, their aspirations, the past, present and future of the area, connecting people through diverse arts opportunities linked to wellbeing, nature and recovery and inspiring them to work toward a shared artistic and cultural future.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: "As a university we have a strong civic role to play and are committed to transforming lives and opening the doors to opportunities for all, so it is fantastic that by working as a partnership we will be able to use this funding to engage with and support communities to shape art and cultural provision through the Make/Shift project.”

University's led research project to improve lives for dementia sufferers

A pioneering new research project, which will address the impact of diagnosis on the bonds between people with young onset dementia and their caregivers using creative approaches, has been awarded £113,000 in funding by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). 

The study, led by the University of Derby in collaboration with the University of Northampton, will research the impact of a series of arts in health workshops for people with younger onset dementia and their caregiver(s), with the aim of improving quality of life, family relationships and the ability to manage a dementia diagnosis for participants. 

Dr Clive Holmwood, Lead Investigator for the project and Associate Professor in the Discipline of Therapeutic Arts at the University of Derby, said: Myself and co-investigator Dr Gemma Collard-Stokes, are really looking forward to working collaboratively with this important group of people and the University of Northampton on this arts-based research, which will meaningfully support the attachment between the carer and the person being cared for. 

“Our hope is to take our findings from this initial project and continue to develop this research and toolkit so it can have further national and international impact.” 

Dr Alison Ward, Associate Professor in Health Research at the University of Northampton, added: “When we think of dementia we tend to picture older people and their carers and the impact dementia can have on them. But dementia can have equally devastating outcomes for younger people and those who care for them.  

“We hope this important research will improve our understanding of the role art can play in supporting younger people diagnosed with dementia.” 

University embarking on NCCPE Engage Watermark award

We are proud to be working towards the completion of the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement's (NCCPE’s) Engage Watermark award process, which will recognise the University’s excellence in public engagement. 

NCCPE is an internationally recognised organisation, which has shaped the Research Excellence Framework (REF) and Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) criteria. Gaining the NCCPE Watermark is a key part of our Innovation and Research Strategy, Civic University agenda, commitment to research impact, as well as a fulfilment of the Knowledge Exchange Concordat. 

In 2018, the University signed the NCCPE’s Manifesto for Public Engagement and this work builds on that. 

Dr Larissa Allwork, Associate Professor in History and Impact at the University, who is leading on the University’s NCCPE watermark award, said: “In 2018, the University of Derby signed the NCCPE’s manifesto for the ‘Engaged University’ which recognises its commitment to benefitting society through public engagement. This underpins the University’s current pursuit of an NCCPE Engage Watermark Award, supports the research impact agenda and coalesces with the aims of the Civic University Agreement.” 

Written by Ellie Masena