Animal Research Cluster

The Animal Research Cluster contributes to the interdisciplinary debate in the subject around what it is to be beyond the human. The research considers microbes, mammals, political action, marginalisation, extremity, resistance and beastly behaviour, and the various combinations possible, to add to the animal discourse and the field. 

Our aims

Animal is a term used widely to name any living creature other than the human. We use it to describe physiological, behavioural or psychological difference. It designates the non-human in a manner that is often pejorative. 

The interdisciplinary field of animal studies has, as a consequence, grown in significance in recent years. It has scholars and artists dedicated to challenging anthropocentrism (centred on humans) and exploring what it is to be animal in its many forms. The researchers in the cluster help contribute to this debate. They look at microbes, mammals, political action, marginalisation, extremity, resistance and beastly behaviour, amongst others.

This cluster offers thoughtful and provocative readings of this world of difference through practical and theoretical acts of interdisciplinary research and dissemination. 

“The international and interdisciplinary field of animal studies is significant for reflection and analysis on issues that extend beyond the anthropocentric. The growth in significance of the debates and discussions central to the field, that aim to better understand and position the non-human within human-centricity, has seen a welcome swell in arts, humanities and scientific approaches to the subject. This is important as it reflects on human life, its behaviours and ways of being.

Having worked within art and animal studies specifically for nearly two decades, I recognise the necessity and importance of cross-disciplinary debate and exchange. The interdisciplinary membership of the Animal Research Cluster allows the crossovers and synergies of the sciences and the arts and humanities to flourish in recognition of their equal contributions to the field.” - Professor Ang Bartram (founder and co-lead of the Cluster)

Research Cluster Team

Our research

“The international field of animal studies in the arts, humanities and social sciences has flourished since its launch in the early 1980s. Major international conferences in the field have now been held on all five continents, the concerns of which have addressed animal welfare and animal advocacy as well as academic research.

Since 2019, the Animal research cluster at University of Derby has grown to encompass research representative of the breadth of this field. It will shortly host a third international conference in the Uncommon Worlds series, which will include exhibitions as well as academic research. This ongoing work will continue to be a major contribution to the work of the new Creative and Cultural Industries Research Centre at University of Derby.” - Professor Steve Baker (expert in art and animal studies, and author of The Postmodern Animal, Picturing the Beast and Artist Animal), external Cluster member. 

Join us

If you are interested in finding out more about the Animal Research Cluster, would like to join the cluster or are considering applying for a PhD in this area please contact: Professor Ang Bartram or Dr Graham Rowe


  • Draw | Breath | Animal, exhibition by Angela Bartram and Lee Deigaard, Eccles and Tippets Galleries, Logan, Utah, November-December 2021 
  • Draw | Breath | Animal, Communitas Lecture by Angela Bartram and Lee Deigaard, Eccles and Tippets Galleries, Logan, Utah, November-December 2021 
  • Desiring a Connection with Others: Learning from and with dogs through artistic research, article, Tabula Rasa, 2021
  • El deseo de una conexión con otros. Aprendiendo de y con los perros mediante la investigación artística, article in Spanish in Tabula Rasa, 2021. 
  • Reflections in Anticipation of Loss, presentation at British Animal Studies Network conference, 2021.  
  • Be Your Dog (re-worked) exhibited at Mink Festival: A Zoo of the Pandemic, online, 2021. 
  • ANTONYM: Life With and Without Animals: an online exhibition, curator and exhibitor, Artcore, 2020.  
  • Life with and without animals: the second (Un)common worlds conference, organiser, University of Derby, 2020. 
  • Be your dog (workshop), at Feminist Canine Ethnography conference, University of Amsterdam, 2020.  
  • White, J. & Sims, R. (2021) Improving equine welfare through Human Habit Formation, Animals, 11(8), 2156,