Radical Hearts and Open Minds

The universities of East Anglia (UEA), Essex, Kent and Sussex were established in the early 1960s, a time of optimism and change, when old conventions were being questioned and traditions being challenged. All three aimed to be different, to work across disciplinary boundaries, and to offer alternative ways of thinking.

This is enshrined in UEA’s motto (‘do different’) and in the founding principles of Essex (‘freer, more daring, more experimental’), Kent purpose (‘a community…where people of the various disciplines mix up’), and Sussex’s promise (‘disruptive by design’).

Socially aware, radical and disruptive

The result has been sixty years of socially aware, radical and disruptive research and education, forged in communities built on equality, respect, and intellectual freedom.

Within these communities, research and education are not held to be separate, but part of a whole: research is integral to education, and education to research, with both underpinned by innovative professional support.

This is clear when research excellence is mapped against teaching excellence. The three Eastern Arc partners are in the top 10% of UK universities that have achieved the highest scores in both research intensity and teaching excellence.

Outward looking, accepting of change and welcoming of external influences

As well as a shared outlook, the three universities are similar in size and location. All are on the North Sea rim, a region rooted in the land but shaped by travel, trade and migration, resulting in a mind-set that is outward looking, accepting of change and welcoming of external influences.

In 2013 Eastern Arc was established to encourage closer ties between these three ideologically-aligned universities. In this, the second phase of the collaboration, we are taking the next step and building on those foundations in order to respond to pressing global issues.