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Connected Communities Leadership Fellows announced

Date: 10/07/2012

It was announced today at the Connected Communities third annual Summit that Professor George McKay of the University of Salford and Professor Keri Facer of the University of Bristol have been appointed Leadership Fellows of the AHRC-led Connected Communities programme and will take up their new posts in the autumn.

Professor McKay and Professor Facer will lead developments around two of the Programme's cross-cutting themes and will work in close collaboration with senior AHRC Programmes staff to foster collaborations and partnerships within and outside the academy in support of the Programme.

Professor Facer will focus on the Programme's ‘Connecting research with communities’ theme by developing community engagement with and leadership of research activities.

Speaking of her appointment, Professor Facer said: I'm very excited to be offered the opportunity to work with and learn from the fantastic network of researchers and community partners that make up the Connected Communities Programme. My hope is that together we can explore new methods, ideas and opportunities for the sorts of research that will enable all of our communities to thrive over the coming years and really make the case for rethinking the way we do research today.

Professor McKay will focus on the Programme's theme on 'Understanding changing community cultures and histories and patterns of connectivity within and between communities', including developing the distinctive contributions that arts and humanities research can bring to our understanding of changing communities.

Professor McKay said: To work centrally with the Connected Communities Programme and its ever-widening constituency of scholars, community partners, and creatives is a really wonderful opportunity. I've long been committed to working with community artists and social activists, writing with them as well as about them - those positions make different relationships, of course - and am hugely enthusiastic about learning more, and helping shape great new opportunities in research, knowledge exchange and engagement.

Professor Mark Llewellyn, AHRC's Director of Research, welcomed the appointment of the Leadership Fellows, saying: The Leadership Fellowships are key roles for the ongoing enrichment and strategic development of research taking place within Connected Communities. The programme has been evolving to cover a wide portfolio of activities from initial scoping studies through to larger scale projects, and these appointments will help in furthering the connections between existing grants and future research frameworks. The experience, research interests and intellectual generosity of George and Keri will bring a strong sense of leadership and purpose to their individual and complementary work on the programme. We look forward to working closely with them and supporting their engagement with existing and future researchers in Connected Communities over the next few years.

Professor Facer and Professor McKay's Fellowships will start in the autumn of 2012 and will be for an initial three year period.

Connected Communities is a cross-Research Council research programme, led by the AHRC, in close partnership with the ESRC, EPSRC, MRC and NERC.

For further information please go to the Connected Communities page.

Notes to editors

  • Professor Facer is Professor of Educational and Social Futures at the University of Bristol's Graduate School of Education where her work is broadly concerned with creating new relationships between universities, schools and wider society in pursuit of social justice. With a background in the arts, social sciences and digital innovation, Professor Facer was formerly Research Director at Futurelab where she brought together researchers, educators, civil society groups, digital artists, computer scientists and young people in collaborative projects. She is currently working with the RSA on its Area-Based Curriculum programme, with the NCCPE on the Connected Communities 'Researching the Engaged University' Project, with the BBC on informal learning, and with a coalition of community groups, researchers and educators on Education for the Crisis.
  • Professor George McKay is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Salford, and Director of the university's Communication, Cultural and Media Studies Research Centre at MediaCityUK. His work is broadly in cultural politics, ranging from popular music to the cultures of social movements, and from festivals to gardening. His AHRC-funded book Shakin' All Over: Popular Music and Disability is due for publication in 2013. He is currently involved in a HERA EUFP7 project on European jazz and a Connected Communities project on gardening, as well as being lead organiser of the 2012 International Association for the Study of Popular Music conference at Salford in September.
  • The Connected Communities Summit in Manchester (11-12 July 2012) brings together over 120 researchers currently funded under the Programme from a wide range of disciplines and community partners and practitioners. A key theme for this year's Summit is the challenges and opportunities for the co-creation and co-design of research with communities.


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