While it’s unlikely that you’re unaware of the threats to the Arts and Humanities from the Government’s spending cuts, you may not know that there is a group working to defend them.
Humanities Matter is “a campaign to celebrate and support world-leading humanities and social science teaching and research in UK universities”, and is steered by a group of academic staff, mainly from research intensive universities. The campaign is relatively new (it started towards the end of last year), but seems to be gathering momentum lately as it becomes better known and more widely endorsed by both staff within Higher Education and those outside (including, for instance, the novelist Sarah Waters and Jenny Uglow, the editorial director of Chatto and Windus). Our own Dean of Faculty also supports the campaign, as he made clear in his latest message.
The most recent post on the group’s blog, http://humanitiesmatter.com/outlines the recent changes to how both the AHRC and British Academy fund research. For the AHRC, alignment with Government agendas means that funding is ‘significantly tied’ to projects that investigate the ‘Big Society’, while for the British Academy it has meant losing some of its smaller grant schemes to focus on concentrating funding in larger awards (as also seems to be the case for the ESRC).
Those of you who are registered for next week’s Research Staff conference may want to consider how these changes contribute to the ‘challenging environment’ in which you are trying to establish a career, and those of who are joining ‘The Funding Challenge’ workshop might also wish to take the opportunity to discuss the implications of these changes with the presenters from EPSRC and the British Academy.
If you’re interested in learning more about Humanities Matter, visit the blog and/or sign up for their e-mail alerts.