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New grants explore cutting-edge relationships between the sciences and the arts and humanities

Date: 24/09/2014

Seven new Innovation Awards funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) will be expanding and exploring the Science in Culture theme through 12-month projects. These new awards will provide researchers with the opportunity to focus on innovative and collaborative inter-relationships between the sciences and the arts and humanities, and to develop shared ways of working in new or emerging fields.

The full list of projects includes:

The Eye's Mind - a study of the neural basis of visual imagination and its role in culture, Professor Adam Zeman from University of Exeter

This project will unite researchers who normally work in isolation from one another in order to study our distinctively human ability to imagine and will highlight links between our experience, brain science and art and will throw light on the wide variation in our capacity to ‘visualise’.

Metamorphoses: Gaming Art and Science with Ovid, Dr. Charlotte Sleigh from University of Kent

This project centres on analysis of a 300-year-old English copy of Ovid's Metamorphoses. It will explore the ways in which science and art hybridise to create new meanings for us, in a world that is packed with data of biological, literary and visual varieties. A final exhibition of the work of a scientist and an artist will encourage visitors to reflect on their own opinions and experiences of the art/science boundary as well as the languages and the practices that are used in each field.

Poetry by Numbers, Then and Now: Metre, Mathematics, Machines and Manufacture, Dr Jason Hall from University of Exeter

This project centres on a one-off machine from the early 19th century; a Latin Verse Machine which “composes lines of poetry”. The project is interested in uncovering and documenting the competencies, methodologies and skill sets needed for the construction of such a device, as well as the extent to which the convergence of these specialisms can be put to productive use in the current day to inform restoration projects relating to Britain's technological heritage.

Ancient Sounds: mixing acoustic phonetics, statistics and comparative philology to bring speech back from the past, John Coleman from University of Oxford

This project will apply and further develop new software methods developed in the last few years which work backwards from a number of sources of contemporary audio recordings of simple words in modern languages to regenerate audible spoken words from the past. This work brings science and computation into an area of work that was previously firmly part of Classics and Linguistics.

Iron from the sky: The Science and Culture of Iron in Ancient Egypt, Monica Grady from Open University

This project will explore how iron was used across Egypt at different times by examining museum collections to see the different types of objects Egyptians used iron to produce. Evidence of what they thought iron to be will be derived from many sources including museum artefacts and ancient texts.

Dark Matters: an interrogation of thresholds of (im)perceptibility through theoretical cosmology, fine art and anthropology of science, Rebecca Ellis from Lancaster University

This project will bring together an unlikely alliance between theoretical cosmology, fine art and anthropology of science to explore the relationship between human knowledge and perception and the realm of the imperceptible. The focus for this investigation is invisible dark matter and dark energy. The project aims to identify how disciplinary differences disrupt, challenge and trigger fresh insights as they engage with things that are difficult or perhaps impossible to sense.

Cyberselves in Immersive Technologies, Tony Prescott from University of Sheffield

People have long been fascinated with the idea of projecting the self-outside of the body, or into a different body, or even into a radically different world. This project seeks to explore and understand the notion of immersion both in its historical and cultural contexts, and in the ‘here and now’, examining how immersive technology operates and how it effects our brains on bodies.

Professor Barry Smith, AHRC Leadership Fellow for Science in Culture Theme commented: Some of the most innovative projects we see these days come from significant collaborations between the sciences, the arts and humanities. These novel interactions bring about new approaches to a shared topic, creating the potential for new knowledge, opening up new fields of inquiry and bringing about new ways of working.

For further information contact Alex Pryce (AHRC) on 01793 41 6025 or on a.pryce@ahrc.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

  • 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. www.ahrc.ac.uk
  • Find out more about the AHRC's Science in Culture theme on the AHRC website. Further information about existing projects is available from the Science in Culture theme website.
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