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Impact Case Studies

Spanish Art in County Durham

Professor Andrew Beresford's research on the prominence of Spanish art in County Durham, on violent imagery in such art, and on eye-tracking in relation to the exhibiting of art, brings together public, cultural, curatorial and economic benefits, affecting which works of art are displayed to the public, and how. His research has been of direct benefit to:

  • Public access to Spanish art and to an understanding of its position in County Durham's heritage
  • Public understanding of the distinctive qualities of Spanish art, particularly the relationship between suffering, pain and piety
  • The Bowes Museum and The Auckland Project to secure artworks and funding, to create exhibitions and to change regional tourism development policy

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Rome in the World

Professor Stefano Cracolici's project, Rome in the World, has brought the transnational dimension of nineteenth-century Roman artistic, literary, religious and archaeological heritage to the awareness of faith communities, museum curators and heritage professionals, providing them with a new comprehensive narrative to frame the identification, preservation and presentation of cultural assets previously understood only in terms of local interest. Across Mexico, Chile, Italy, Canada and England, Professor Cracolici's research and consultancy have:

  • Shaped the curation of exhibitions and the cultural contextualisation of artworks
  • Informed museum programming and had a material benefit on the training of tour guides
  • Contributed to the restoration of important heritage assets, including the development of a former Catholic seminary into a significant tourist site, as well as decisively informing the public presentation of Catholic heritage. Visitors in general and faith communities, in particular, are now better informed about the transnational dimension of 19th-century Rome and its Catholic artistic heritage

Securing the Legacy of the Late Spanish Filmmaker Bigas Luna

Professor Santiago Fouz Hernández, in collaboration with art curator Betty Bigas, organised an international series of events to consolidate and promote globally the cultural legacy and socio-historical importance of the films of José Juan Bigas Luna (1946-2013), one of Spain's most important filmmakers. These events have:

  • Raised the profile of Spanish and European cinema and culture and contributing to Spain's cultural diplomacy
  • Diversified the international cultural offer and audience development in 14 major cities around the world
  • Enhanced cultural organisations and shaped ways of working
  • Generated income for festival and cinema programmes
  • Enhanced Bigas Luna's legacy and estate

The Bigas Luna Tribute events were launched in San Francisco in 2015 and are still ongoing. For more information, visit 

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Performing Arab Cancer

This impact case study emerges out of Professor Abir Hamdar's expertise in Arab medical humanities and, in particular, her research on female illness, disability and cancer in Arab culture. Professor Hamdar conducted extensive interviews with female cancer patients and their family members, whose testimonies were then adapted for the stage. The outcome is a stage play/ethnodrama written by Professor Hamdar, I Am Waiting for You, which premiered in Beirut, Lebanon in July 2017. The performance marked the first instance in which cancer testimonials were embodied on the Arab stage and performed to both the general public and to healthcare practitioners and trainees in the region. The impact of this research include:

  • Breaking taboos and lessening fear of cancer
  • Giving a voice to cancer patients and facilitating support networks
  • Forging new relations and enabling dialogue with the medical community
  • Informing how doctors evaluate patient narratives

Supported by AHRC Research Network Grant (2016-2021).

Lorca and Theatre Censorship

Dr Michael Thompson's case study has two strands of activity, both focussing on La casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba), a set text in all English exam boards' syllabuses for A-level Spanish, and the Spanish play most frequently performed in the UK. The first strand comprised collaboration with the Spanish Theatre Company in London around their successful production of the play, while the second involved development of workshops for A-level students with the Hexham-based multilingual theatre company Théâtre Sans Frontières. Impact from the project includes:

  • Research findings were turned into drama-based activities integrating language learning, textual interpretation and contextual knowledge, transforming students' and teachers' approaches to the work
  • The project has changed partner organisations' working methods and modified the way teachers work on The House of Bernarda Alba with A-level students, helping them to develop a wider range of interpretations of the text and understand its relevance to the historical topics on the syllabus

Research supported by AHRC Research Grant (2008-2011). Activity with the Spanish Theatre Company was also supported by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.

To learn more, visit La Casa de Bernarda Alba 2018 | Cervantes Theatre and Lorca and Censorship - Workshop materials | TSF.