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A Community Engagement project undertaken with the POoR Collective and local Battersea youth club, Carney's Community

Key details


  • 27 September 2022


  • RCA

Read time

  • 2 minutes

The RCA is rated as having 'high' or 'very high' engagement across 5 of the 7 KEF perspectives:

  • Public & Community Engagement
  • Working with Business
  • IP & Commercialisation
  • Local Growth & Regeneration
  • CPD & Grad Start-Ups

The RCA’s Knowledge Exchange activity in the categories of Public & Community Engagement and Working with Business has been rated at the very highest level, well above the College’s cluster average. Recent initiatives contributing to Local Growth & Regeneration join the College’s performance in IP & Commercialisation in being recognised as high-performing areas above the cluster average.

The Knowledge Exchange Framework uses robust data and metrics to provide public information about the rich and diverse ways in which English universities engage with and contribute to society and the economy, locally, nationally, and internationally. It allows universities to understand and improve their own performance in knowledge exchange, and provides businesses and other users with more information to help them access the world-class knowledge and expertise within English universities.

The RCA’s KEF2 results continue to demonstrate the strength and value that engaging with the UK's arts specialist institutions brings to partners in business and industry, the public sector and NGOs, as well as to local communities.

Speaking on the announcement of the results, Dr Emma Wakelin, Director of Research and Innovation, Royal College of Art, said:

“Moving the Research & Innovation teams into our flagship new Battersea campus has enabled us to engage more deeply with our neighbours in Battersea and Wandsworth over the last year. I’m delighted that the College’s KEF2 results continue to demonstrate the strength and value that engaging with the UK’s arts specialist institutions brings to partners in business and industry, the public sector and NGOs, as well as to our local communities. I also welcome the evidence KEF2 provides of the strength of the cultural, social and economic contributions of the Arts cluster of creative institutions overall.”

The full KEF dashboards are available at https://kef.ac.uk/

The case studies listed below represent a cross-section of knowledge exchange related projects that have been undertaken at the RCA:

CPD & Grad Start-Ups: Mykkö from Aurélie Fontan

The InnovationRCA incubation programme has supported Mykkö, a grad start-up that develops sustainable fabrics. Aurélie Fontan (MA Fashion 2021) created bio-fabric Mykkö – a regenerative and circular plant-based leather alternative made with living fungal mycelium that is engineered to be fully renewable, carbon neutral and biodegradable.

Aurelie Fontan Studio Mykko

Public & Community Engagement: ​​A Greener Picture - Photography and Climate Change

15 primary schools across Wandsworth participated in this collaboration between Wandsworth Council’s Arts Service and the RCA in 2021. In workshops led by recent RCA photography graduates, 670 pupils created sculptures and cyanotypes which they then photographed. The sessions examined and explored our relationship to the natural world and how photography can help us change the way we see things and communicate issues.

A Greener Picture

Working with Business: Northumbrian Water Group

Dr Ninela Ivanova, Innovation Fellow and Rama Gheerawo, HHCD Director led a custom executive education course for Innovation Leads from across Northumbrian Water Group, UK between January and June 2022. The Creative Leadership for Inclusive Innovation programme gave the Innovation Leads the opportunity to tackle six self-defined innovation challenges of relevance to their work in NWG employing a design thinking approach.

Northumbrian Water Group Executive Education course

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Explore Knowledge Exchange and Innovation at the RCA