Who We Are

Cultural engagement within communities has the power to build resilience and cohesion. Culture plays a vital role in the construction of social identities, especially group identity, and research into cultural engagement offers wide-ranging opportunities to understand the significance of cultural methods in promoting social unity.

The Cultures and Communities Research Institute, led by Swansea University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, brings together researchers to explore the needs, identities and values of different communities across time and place.

What We Do

We examine the significance of culture in creating social identities, engaging with cultural organisations, practitioners and creative industries to deliver impact to community groups.

Aiming to unite academics, external researchers and organisations for interdisciplinary research bids, we offer connections with experts working across all areas of culture and community engagement. We are proudly rooted in our contemporary Welsh communities, yet our members also offer expertise across international and historic research contexts.

The term ‘culture’ is flexible; the very concept of culture is something we interrogate in our work, ensuring our research reflects the ever-changing ways in which communities and creative practitioners define, and are influenced by, the notion.

Our research topics evolve with the interest of our members across local, national and global contexts, and can broadly fit into the following themes:

Exploring our pasts to navigate our futures:


we engage researchers who have a common interest in understanding the nature of communities and the roles that cultures play in their construction and implications. We focus on geographical, social, linguistic, epistemological, or otherwise defined communities to examine their histories, lived worlds, and imagined futures.

Culture and identification in changing times:


with focus on experiences of minoritised groups or identities that have been historically under-represented, we engage with issues of minority and linguistic rights, participation and governance, and group experiences in relation to culture, identity, language, and belonging.

Collaborative enquiry into cultures and communities:


we promote and envision a range of practical cultural activities and planning, analysing the place of culture in vitalising – or inhibiting – change in society. We consider how culture can become a tool for regeneration of communities, examining wellbeing and community cohesion through cultural activity.

Our activities include member events for inter-disciplinary working, speaker sessions, working group facilitation, and open forums amongst members to discuss particular areas of interest.

How you can get involved

To discuss membership, email Professor David Turner, Institute Director: D.M.Turner@swansea.ac.uk.

We welcome researchers at all career stages, and encourage internal and external academics, researchers, cultural practitioners, cultural and heritage organisations, and community groups to reach out for collaborative research opportunities.

About the Director: Professor David Turner is a social and cultural historian, with expertise in disability, medicine, gender and the body. His current research explores the long history of disabled people’s political activism in Britain since the sixteenth century. Professor Turner is a founding member of the Centre for Heritage Research and Training (CHART), and has worked as a historical advisor for the BBC and National Museums Wales.