Place-based research concept: crowd of people standing on a computer motherboard (full-bleed)
Plymouth's cross-institutional place-based research aligns with government agendas for people and place, as well as UKRI and British Academy priorities. A critical mass of SHAPE – Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts for People and the Economy – researchers in collaboration with STEMM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine – colleagues are tackling global challenges associated with health, marine and sustainability. 
The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business is a hub for interdisciplinary, impactful research with strengths in smart cities, environmental building, coastal communities, heritage and place-making, digital and immersive technologies, arts-health research, environmental cultures, lifelong education, and global displacement. 

Exploring the modern world through the lens of place

We investigate the intricate relationships between communities, the natural world, and technology. 
Locally, we co-create sustainable solutions to complex problems in order to build resilient and thriving neighbourhoods, cities, and regions. Our work transcends geographical, social and political boundaries to become applicable on a global level.

Our research is organised under five priority themes


Making place a primary context of study

Place-based research explores how a location's unique features and dynamics affect social, economic, cultural, environmental, and political phenomena. This approach:
  • involves a geographic concentration on a particular location
  • promotes a contextual understanding by taking into account historical and environmental factors
  • encourages community involvement to make the research more relevant
  • examines interconnected elements within the chosen place through an interdisciplinary approach

Plymouth Perspectives on Place

Young people taking part in a climate change protest
Union Street,  Plymouth, decorated for a community event

 Building resilience with place-based solutions

Can social sciences, humanities and the arts play a major role in creating community-led policy?
Professor Katharine Willis examines how place-based research underpins social equity. 
Read the full article on 19 July
Publishing in New Statesman

Impacting communities through research and knowledge exchange

Close up of man with glasses looking at a screen

Leveraging SHAPE expertise in the STEMM agenda

We also work with colleagues across health, marine and sustainability through projects driven by the University's Strategic Research Institutes.

Getty image. Abstract health science consist health plus digital technology concept modern medical technology,Treatment,medicine on hi tech future blue background. for template, web design or presentation

SHAP(E)ing Health
Unlocking the potential of arts - health collaboration - Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research

Sue Austin

Marine Culture
Exploring arts and humanities perspectives on marine environment - Marine Institute

360 Virtual Tours​ - plymouth

Creative Associates
Developing novel, innovative and creative ways of communicating research - Sustainable Earth Institute


Latest news

Young people taking part in a climate change protest
The power of place in tackling climate change

How the University of Plymouth empowers communities to imagine a better future

12 July 2024