NCACE Festival of Cultural Knowledge Exchange

10 – 14 October 2022

Our Areas of Work

NCACE is focussed on activities across four distinct yet interconnected areas. These are: Brokerage, Collaboration Support and Networking; Skills and Capacity Development; Evidencing and Impact Development and Showcasing and Communication, with programme evaluation ongoing throughout the project.

Brokerage, Collaboration Support and Networking

Whilst Knowledge Exchange, in its wider sense, between higher education research and the arts and cultural sectors is a well-established activity with many different models, manifestations and positive effects, there is often a lack of awareness on both sides about how to make it happen. 

NCACE is focussed on creating positive ecologies and environments in which to foster excellent Knowledge Exchange and collaboration between Higher Education and the arts and cultural sector and on supporting ambition around the wider potential and impacts for such work.

Associated activities and getting involved

Throughout each year NCACE is running annual workshops and an Ideas Lab to bring together researchers and arts and culture sector professionals for challenge-led ideas generation.

Over the summer and into the autumn our regional partners will be leading on a series of "What If" Conversations 2021 events bringing together their academic and arts and cultural networks to consider a series of questions with a local and regional focus, that also speak to national challenges.

We are hosting our first Ideas Lab Co-Creating a New and Different Future for Arts / Higher Education Collaboration on 13 October 2021.

Across the life of the programme we anticipate the workshops and lab will focus on the following themes: health, climate change, place-making and levelling out and technologies for social good.

Please contact us if you would like to be involved.

Skills and Capacity Development

Within Higher Education, there are challenges faced by KE professionals and researchers alike, with a lack of opportunities for networking, peer to peer learning and professional development often cited. 

For arts sector professionals, the need for better practical knowledge and know-how in this area is still a key concern for many, and the phrase ‘I don’t know where to start’ is all too common. 

NCACE aims to provide support and development opportunities for: Knowledge Exchange Professionals, academics with a keen interest in developing social impacts, and arts/culture sector workers who wish to develop partnerships with universities.

Associated activities and getting involved

Every year we will run a ‘state of the nation’ style event on supporting and showcasing excellent knowledge exchange with the arts and culture sector. In 2021 this was our launch event Knowledge Conversations: The Power of Collaborative Action. Our next event is in early 2022.

We have launched our NCACE Knowledge Impacts Network (KIN). The network will be open to anyone who works in or is interested in Knowledge Exchange and wider partnerships, and collaborative activities between Higher Education and the Arts and Culture Sectors. We are particularly focussed on work that supports wider social, cultural, environmental and economic impacts. Recordings for past KIN events can be found here.

We held our first Leadership workshop with Clore Leadership in April 2021, we will host a leadership workshop every year.

Please contact us if you would like to be involved.

Evidencing and Impact Development

NCACE is establishing an Evidence Hub to address the need for more evidence and analysis about the scale, extent, nature, drivers, motivations and impacts of KE and wider relationships between Higher Education and the arts/cultural sectors.

Our Evidence Hub comprises of three interrelated areas: NCACE Blogs, a series of NCACE Evidence Café events and our currently in-development NCACE Evidence Repository.

Associated activities and getting involved

As we start to develop the NCACE Evidence Hub, we are keen to hear from those of you who may like to contribute case studies, reports or other materials that focus on collaborative activities between HE and the arts and, in particular, where there are social, cultural or environmental impacts arising from that work. This will help us to develop and co-create our Evidence Repository. We are interested in hearing from you if you are a researcher or knowledge exchange professional working with the arts or if you are an arts professional working with universities.

In spring 2021 we launched the NCACE Evidence Café, these sessions are now held on a bi-monthly basis. We also hold an annual policy workshop, with our first event taking place in June 2021 - 'Collaborations in Placemaking: Shining a Light on the Contribution of Higher Education and Cultural Partnerships'.

Please contact us if you would like to be involved.

Showcasing and Communications

Communicating the wider benefits of knowledge exchange and helping to narrate this emerging field continues to be a key need. NCACE aims to showcase models of good practice in KE with the arts and cultural sectors from universities across both through our Evidence Hub, other online resources and publications as well as a bi-annual mini-festival.

Associated activities

NCACE produces a Monthly Update Bulletin and we run key social media channels through which you can keep abreast of our activities. 

The NCACE Blog supports writing about Knowledge Exchange between HEIs and the arts/culture sector, and themes of relevance to the centre’s mission and audience. We are keen to hear about your collaborative projects or related works and invite you to contribute to our blog. You can access the NCACE Blog Guidelines here. For further information contact Noshin Sultan on

NCACE plan to run two mini-festivals, in 2022 and 2024, to raise the profile of Knowledge Exchange best practice and to showcase its outcomes.


Evaluation, as a valuable tool for learning, will be an integral part of this programme from the outset. Its purpose is to enable the ongoing evaluation of both the processes used to deliver the programme, as well as the programme outputs, outcomes and impacts. Importantly, it is supporting an ongoing dialogue and iteration across each area of work, in order to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in programme co-design and delivery. Evaluation will be guided by relevant principles, including Theory of Change, while stakeholders across the programme will further drive the co-creation of our evaluation framework.

Getting Involved

We invite academic and non-academic staff in HEIs, as well as arts and culture sector workers and practitioners to participate across all areas of NCACE activities. 

Find out how to participate and you can also contact us in the first instance if you would like to be involved.