Supporting University Cultural Engagement

Date: 26/02/2013

Forty-five universities are supporting recently completed PhD students in the arts and humanities to undertake three-month projects under the AHRC's Cultural Engagement Fund pilot scheme.

The projects not only support valuable collaboration between universities and cultural organisations, but also provide the early career researchers with opportunities to develop a wide range of skills, particularly in relation to supporting the wider impact of arts and humanities research.

Dr Ian Lyne, Associate Director of Programmes commented: The range of projects and the variety of local partners involved has been terrific. We have been hugely impressed by the number of Universities that have decided to co-fund projects in order to create more opportunities for their recently completed PhD students.

The AHRC's Cultural Engagement Fund pilot scheme offered funding to strengthen or develop a university's broader strategy for supporting the engagement of its arts and humanities academic staff with local creative sector SMEs, or public and third sector cultural or civic organisations. To pilot the scheme it was open to those universities who have been in receipt of Block Grant Partnership funding.

Dr Lyne went on to comment, If this pilot proves to be successful, there is the potential to repeat it in future years, depending on the availability of funding.

One example of a project funded at the University of Reading is the ‘Enemies of the State’ projec. This project will engage local, non-academic audiences with the town's history of the imprisonment of Irish patriots following the 1916 Easter Rising. The project will make links between the history of detainment and contemporary, post-9/11 issues of counter-terrorism and civil liberties. Access to local archives on Irish internment in the Berkshire Record Office will be improved and a public exhibition opened in May with a programme of external speakers.

Each project will report back on their experience and how they developed their skills later in the year.

Notes to editors

  • For further information, please contact: Danielle Moore-Chick, AHRC: 01793 416021 d.moore-chick@ahrc.ac.uk
  • AHRC Cultural Engagement funding is awarded to contribute to the costs of individuals working on short three-month Cultural Engagement projects. Each participating university received £40k, which could be used either to cover the full economic costs of employing a single individual for three months, or used in combination with other funding to support individuals on two or more projects. These short-term project posts could be full-time or part-time, and were aimed at recently completed PhD students in the arts and humanities (including students who have recently submitted their theses, and are awaiting examination).
  • 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.
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