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Beyond Text

Performances, Sounds, Images, and Objects


With increased movement and cross-fertilization between countries and cultures, and the acceleration of global communications, we have entered an era where not only the written word, but also performances, sounds, images and objects can be circulated more rapidly and widely than ever before. In response to this, the AHRC created Beyond Text, a strategic programme to generate new understandings of, and research into, the impact and significance of the way we communicate.


Beyond Text is a programme that was developed by the AHRC following a two year period of consultation with the arts and humanities research communities. Introduced in 2007, it aimed to support a multidisciplinary community of scholars and practitioners drawn from Higher Education, museums, galleries, libraries, business, policy, media, technology and the law to explore the ways in which communication is articulated, transmitted, received and controlled. It also aimed to enhance the connections between those who make and preserve works, and those who study them.

The programme

Beyond Text centred on five thematic, interdisciplinary areas: Making and Unmaking; Performance, Improvisation and Embodied Knowledge; Technology, Innovation and Tradition; mediations; Transmission and Memory. These themes provided a framework to investigate the formation and transformations of performances, sounds, images, and objects in a wide field of social, historical and geographical contexts, tracing their reception, assimilation and adaptation across temporal and cultural boundaries. The programme had a budget of £5.5 million over 5 years and ran from 2007 to 2012.

For further information, visit the Beyond Text website