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Showcasing community

Date: 12/03/2013

Harnessing the power of digital technologies to help communities to explore their cultures and heritage is the focus of a new £4m funding call announced at the Connected Communities showcase. The new initiative on Digital Community Research Co-Production in the Arts and Humanities announced by Rt Hon. David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science is part of the RCUK Connected Communities Programme.

The Connected Communities Programme is a cross-Council programme designed to help us understand the changing nature of communities in their historical and cultural contexts and the role of communities in sustaining and enhancing our quality of life. The new funding call will bring together arts and humanities researchers, community engagement experts and specialists in digital technologies.

The new call will be funded as a part of the additional capital funding allocated to the AHRC in the autumn of 2012, to exploit the potential of digital transformations in the arts and humanities and ‘Big data’. The resulting research will develop ‘assets’ such as new or enhanced digital databases, archives, galleries and creative outputs which will be a sustainable resource and legacy for future research and for communities.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: This £4 million capital investment in the Connected Community projects will lead to the development of new ways to engage communities in creating, interpreting and using arts and humanities research data. This will leave a sustainable resource and legacy for future research and for communities.

This is one of a number of new initiatives under the Connected Communities Programme announced at the showcase. Other initiatives will support research on design and communities and community commemoration of the centenary of the First World War.

The Showcase event also launches five new major research projects under the Connected Communities Programme. The successful awards jointly funded by the AHRC with the Economic and Social Research Council are:

  • Dementia and Imagination: connecting communities and developing well-being through socially engaged visual arts practice, led by Dr Gillian Windle at Bangor University £1.2m.
  • Representing Communities: developing the creative power of people to improve health and well-being, led by Professor Gareth Williams at Cardiff University, £1.2m.
  • Creative Practice as Mutual Recovery: connecting communities for mental health and well-being led by Professor Paul Crawford at Nottingham University, £1.2m.
  • The social, historical, cultural and democratic context of civic engagement: Imagining different communities and making them happen led by PI Professor Graham Crow at the University of Edinburgh, £1.9m.
  • Productive Margins: Regulating for Engagement led by Dr Morag McDermont, Bristol University, £1.9m.

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC: on behalf of the Cross-Council Connected Communities Programme I am delighted to announce our support for these ambitious and innovative projects. In particular, I welcome their collaborative nature. Over 60 partner organisations of many different kinds are playing a key role, adding to the many hundreds of communities and partner organisations already contributing to the research.  The projects bring together researchers from over 20 disciplines, from the arts and humanities, social sciences, health and digital technologies, plus a range of international partners. It is truly boundary-crossing collaboration connecting countries, organisations and disciplines as well as communities.

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

Notes to editors

  • Digital Community Research Co-Production in the Arts and Humanities. Further details, along with the formal call for research proposals, will be issued in April 2013 with a closing date for full proposals in early summer 2013, details can be found at: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Research-funding/Connected-Communities/Pages/Planned-activities.aspx
  • Connected Communities is a new cross-Council Programme being led by the AHRC in partnership with the EPSRC, ESRC, MRC and NERC and a range of other organisations to understand the changing nature of communities in their historical and cultural contexts and the value of communities in sustaining and enhancing our future quality of life.
  • The 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.
  • The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.


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