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UK and US join forces, launching fellowships programme on digital research in cultural institutions

Date: 25/05/2018

Smithsonian and AHRC logos

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Smithsonian Institution have launched a new call for joint fellowships in digital scholarship. Building on a successful history of collaboration between the AHRC and the Smithsonian, the call aims to deliver a transformational impact on digital research methods and scholarship by building new partnerships between world-leading museums and cultural institutions on both sides of the Atlantic.

The scheme aims to:

  • build capacity through the innovative application of digital methods and technologies to research in museums and cultural/heritage institutions
  • drive new, cross-disciplinary approaches and accelerate thinking about the potential for digital scholarship in such institutions
  • facilitate pilot projects in areas of mutual interest
  • pioneer new approaches to audience engagement and experience
  • support dialogue and outreach about the value and impact of digitisation and digital collections

The fellowships will be awarded for a one year period, including a 3-6 month funded placement, and should form part of a wider research project. This will enable UK fellows to undertake placements at the Smithsonian and for US fellows to undertake placements at renowned institutions in the UK.

The joint scheme builds on a successful history of partnership between the AHRC and Smithsonian Institution including AHRC’s International Placement Scheme, through which the Smithsonian hosts a new cohort of PHD students and early career researchers every year. Over the last five years the Smithsonian has hosted 27 AHRC fellows, carrying out research on a variety of topics, including the ethics of medical research and the origins of commercial whaling in Europe.

A key element of the new partnership will also be the development of new ways of working in digital research and public access, focusing on areas including data analysis, museum curation, audience engagement, and enhanced access to museum and archival collections.

Adam Walker, Strategic Lead for Global at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, said: “This latest partnership between the Smithsonian Institution and the AHRC offers a unique opportunity for researchers focused on the use of digital research methods in museums and cultural institutions.

“By bringing together world leading institutions in the US and the UK, these fellowships have the potential to achieve a transformative impact on the landscape of digital collections research in the UK, US and beyond.”

The call will open to applications on Friday, June 8 and close on Thursday, July 26. For more information, visit the AHRC-Smithsonian Fellowships in Digital Scholarship call page here. (https://ahrc.ukri.org/funding/apply-for-funding/archived-opportunities/fellowships-in-digital-scholarship/)”


For more information and images, contact:
Press and Social Media Officer Joe Lewis T: 01793 41 6021 M: 07925891633 E: j.lewis@ahrc.ac.uk

Notes to editors:
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million 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 and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe. You can find out more information via www.ahrc.ac.uk or following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress, at www.facebook.com/artsandhumanitiesresearchcouncil or Instagram at @ahrcpress.

Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. The Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 19 museums, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. There are 6,700 Smithsonian employees and 6,900 volunteers. There were 30 million visits to the Smithsonian in 2017. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History. www.smithsonian.org

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