We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

Care for the Future and Science in Culture leaderships fellows announced

Date: 14/11/2012

Leadership Fellows have been announced for two of the AHRC's themes – Care for the Future and Science in Culture. They are Professor Andrew Thompson for Care for the Future and Professor Barry Smith for Science in Culture.

Identified through the Future Directions consultation in 2009, the AHRC's themes provide a funding focus for emerging areas of interest to arts and humanities researchers. These Leadership Fellows will provide intellectual and strategic leadership for the further development of the themes and will work closely with senior AHRC Programmes staff to develop partnerships within and beyond academia.

Professor Mark Llewellyn, Director of the Research at the AHRC, said: The appointment of Theme Leadership Fellows and the current call for the large theme grants make clear our investment in approaches that help cut across disciplinary remits, new research agendas in order to answer some of the big questions of our time. We're really looking forward to working with Andrew and Barry over the next few years as they lead on different kinds of engagements between researchers and users, and work with current and future award holders in stimulating new debates and contexts for arts and humanities perspectives.

The ‘Science in Culture’ theme aims to develop the reciprocal relationship between science disciplines and the arts and humanities. The sciences and the arts and humanities often seek to answer very different kinds of questions about human nature, the nature of the world we live in as well as the relationship between the two. Sometimes, however, the questions we seek to answer do not neatly fall within the remit of one or the other. Arts and humanities research can help us answer questions such as:

  • What are the nature, value and scope of scientific research?
  • What roles do culture, imagination, argumentation, creativity, discovery and curiosity play in scientific enquiry?
  • How might the arts and humanities engage with the sciences as systems of knowledge from the perspective of their cultural context, development and impact?
  • How might such interaction enhance public engagement and educational approaches, and inform policy debates?

Professor Barry Smith said: The AHRC's Science in Culture Theme offers a great opportunity for real integration of research in the arts and humanities into large-scale scientific projects.

Professor Smith went on to say, One example of Science in Culture could be neurobiology, these days, anyone with an interest in emotion, imagination, memory, or the basis of decision-making and cooperation needs to know something about recent findings in that area. The way these findings bear on our conceptions of human experience is opening up the possibility of exciting new areas of research, such as those already taking place in musicology and the visual arts. And it's increasingly clear that researchers in the arts and humanities are playing a role, not just as critics and commentators, but as genuine contributors to joint research with their colleagues in the sciences. I look forward to working with the AHRC to bring this about.

‘Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the Past’ is exploring the new novel ways we can understand the context of historical events, attitudes and institutions, and how that informs the future. There are a number of core elements that are relevant to Care for the Future, such as an exploration of the values and beliefs of individuals, communities, and institutions.

Professor Andrew Thompson commented: The past is all around us. The futures' uncertainties weigh heavily on the present and are turning us back to history for insights into the age in which we live. Environmental change, pressures on welfare, technological advances, humanitarian interventions, and the causes and effects of globalisation are all being subject to historical scrutiny in myriad ways. Resentment over historical injustices, and calls for apologies for past wrongs, are prominent in the public domain, while many organisations look to their pasts to discover its lessons, or come to terms with its difficult and divisive consequences.

Professor Thompson went on to say, I am very much looking forward to working with the AHRC, wider research community and key cultural partners to realise the potential of this exciting theme.

All the Leadership Fellows for of the AHRC themes have now been identified, Professor Andrew Prescott of King's College London for the Digital Transformations theme and Professor Charles Forsdick of the University of Liverpool for Translating Cultures.

For further information, please contact: Danielle Moore-Chick, AHRC: 01793 416021 d.moore-chick@ahrc.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

  • Professor Barry Smith is Associate Dean of the School, and Director of the Institute of Philosophy at University of London's School of Advanced Study, for further information see: http://research.sas.ac.uk/search/staff/26/professor-barry-c.-smith/
  • Professor Andrew Thompson is a Chair in History at the University of Exeter, for further information see: http://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/history/staff/thompson
  • The AHRC's themes provide a funding focus for emerging areas of interest to arts and humanities researchers. These areas have been grouped under our four themes Care for the Future: Thinking Forward through the PastDigital Transformations in the Arts and Humanities, Science in Culture, Translating Cultures.
  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.
  • About the University of Exeter: The Sunday Times University of the Year 2012-13, the University of Exeter is a Russell Group university and in the top one percent of institutions globally. It combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction. Exeter has over 18,000 students and is ranked 7th in The Sunday Times University Guide, 10th in the UK in The Times Good University Guide 2012 and 10th in the Guardian University Guide. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 90% of the University's research was rated as being at internationally recognised levels and 16 of its 31 subjects are ranked in the top 10, with 27 subjects ranked in the top 20. The University has invested strategically to deliver more than £350 million worth of new facilities across its campuses for 2012, including landmark new student services centres - the Forum in Exeter and The Exchange in Cornwall - and world-class new facilities for Biosciences, the Business School and the Environment and Sustainability Institute. www.exeter.ac.uk
  • The School of Advanced Study at the University of London is the UK's national centre for the support and promotion of research in the humanities and social sciences. The School brings together the specialised scholarship and resources of 10 prestigious institutes dedicated to serving the research communities of their disciplines, nationally and internationally. Together the institutes complement the work of others by supporting, inspiring and advancing research through the provision of a range of services far beyond the capacity of any one individual university. The member institutes of the School are the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Germanic & Romance Studies, Historical Research, Musical Research, Philosophy, Study of the Americas, and The Warburg Institute. www.sas.ac.uk
Return to news list