The Portland Inn Project

Staffordshire University is committed to making a difference through its research and impact in communities.


The Portland Inn Project (2016-ongoing) is a collaboration between Associate Professor Anna Francis, professional artist Rebecca Davies, and the community of The Portland St Area of Stoke-on-Trent.


The project, part of an ongoing programme of research since 2007, takes place in Hanley, an area facing multiple social and economic disadvantages. Anna uses action research approaches to support community development in the area. She applies arts practices to empower community members to strengthen and revitalize public assets, including the derelict Portland Inn pub.

The Portland Inn Project shows how co-creation can lead to secure, sustainable buy-in from funding partners and community stakeholders and help to address local issues including social isolation, economic exclusion, skills deficits, and criminality.

The action research has fostered community development and cohesion; influenced local government policy; created new community hub spaces, and instituted skills development programmes in an area where 40.9% of over-16s have no formal qualifications. It has also influenced other social arts organisations nationwide through training and networking events.

The Research, Innovation and Impact Services team can provide information about all aspects of research at Staffordshire University.

Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

6th for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020