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This table sets out the output types for REF-category 'exhibitions and performances', including a broad definition and examples, which are provided for guidance only and do not represent a definitive list.

Output type REF eligible? In scope of the Open Access Policy?


A single or series of public events, or short-term, long-term or permanent installations, at which works of interest are displayed.  

Solo exhibitions Y N
Curation of exhibitions Y N
Contributions to collaborative group exhibitions Y N
Original artistic works and/or designs Y N
Historical, political, social, technical/technological or scientific research and information Y N
Works exhibited in a gallery, museum, artist's book or electronic format Y N


A live or recorded performance (by, for example, an actor, musician, dancer, conductor, artist) to an external audience.  The 'author' can have one or more of a variety of major roles (e.g. lead performer, director, writer) in the production which should meet the REF definition of research*.

Performance of a play, musical, opera, concert, television or radio production, performance artwork Y N
Theatre productions (stage play, mime, circus, puppet show, variety act, comedy show) Y N
Concerts and recitals (music or dance) Y N
Broadcast performances and other modes of presentation Y N
Production of an audio/visual medium (such as CD or DVD recording) Y N
Artistic direction of a staged production Y N
Input into a theatre production (for example, design, dramaturgy) Y N

Definition of research for the REF

For the purposes of the REF, research is defined as a process of investigation leading to new insights, effectively shared.

It includes work of direct relevance to the needs of commerce, industry, culture, society, and to the public and voluntary sectors; scholarship; the invention and generation of ideas, images, performances, artefacts including design, where these lead to new or substantially improved insights; and the use of existing knowledge in experimental development to produce new or substantially improved materials, devices, products and processes, including design and construction.>It includes research that is published, disseminated or made publicly available in the form of assessable research outputs, and confidential reports (any item produced for and lodged, in the publication period, with a company, government body or other research sponsor(s), but which has not been published because of its commercial or other sensitivity).

It excludes routine testing and routine analysis of materials, components and processes such as for the maintenance of national standards, as distinct from the development of new analytical techniques. It also excludes the development of teaching materials that do not embody original research.