Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) attaches great importance to the ethical implications of all research and practice activities carried out by its staff and students. We are guided by the principles of dignity, respect and care for others, and honesty first and foremost. The principles of integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, and leadership are also important. These principles apply equally to all staff and students in the College, and we share them with the wider University that we are part of.

At ECA we’ve interpreted ethics as something that runs through all of our practice and activity, and as being about shared values and principles. However, there are points at which ethics gets formalised into a process of peer review. Although these points – for example, the filling-in of ethics forms or submissions to review committees – are important, they are in no way the limit or sum of ethics. They provide critical support, and sometimes overview, but the onus is on all of us to help be a part of an ethical organisation.

ECA has developed a three-tiered system for its ethical peer review of staff and student activities that broadly fall under the rubric of research. It is simple to use, and also ensures any complex cases can be given quick attention. These procedures have been developed in line with recommendations from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Ethics Committee and Research Ethics Framework, and are undertaken in connection with any considerations that may be required by external collaborators, funders, or other external bodies. They can be considered as useful tools for research design, and though staff can work through them independently, students should do so under the guidance of their supervisors or tutors.


ECA staff and students: Please visit our main ethics site

The main ECA Ethics pages are to be found on the ECA intranet (SharePoint). There, ECA staff can find out more about ethics, ethics at ECA and how to apply for ethical approval.

For queries relating to ethics at ECA, please contact the ECA Director of Ethics, Dr Rachel Harkness r.j.harkness@ed.ac.uk

Staff research ethics queries can also be directed to the Research, Knowledge Exchange and Impact office at ECA.RKEO@ed.ac.uk