Introducing the Mapping the Arts and Humanities project, which is seeking to map the extraordinary diversity of arts and humanities research infrastructure in the UK

The Mapping the Arts and Humanities project will capture the range of institutes, centres and networks that support arts and humanities research across the country, and produce an interactive tool that will allow researchers to connect with potential collaborators outside of their existing networks.

Policymakers will also be able to locate where policy-relevant expertise is concentrated, and external organisations will be able to identify academic partners.

Professor Jo Fox, Dean of the School of Advanced Study and Chair of the Mapping the Arts and Humanities project board, explains:

“Despite having access to more information about research than ever before, research networks, centres, hubs or clusters of activity in the arts and humanities can be hard to find. Equally, researchers can often be unaware of facilities that are available to them, particularly when they are outside their own discipline.

 

Our new map will provide a consolidated source of information that will help us all to find and connect with research activity more easily, and boost visibility for research infrastructure across the country.”

Research infrastructure come in all shapes and sizes. There are well-established research centres based in university departments, informal groups and networks that cross disciplinary and institutional boundaries, as well as learned and professional societies that provide support to the research community.

However, much of this vital infrastructure is unconnected and difficult to discover. Research groups can be hidden among the sub-pages of university websites, and many smaller hubs and networks do not have a social media presence. This can make it difficult to identify where research is taking place and who to contact about it.

The mapping process seeks to solve this visibility issue, and also provide insights into the UK’s arts and humanities research landscape. This will help funders and research councils – such as the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Research England, who commissioned the project – to build on existing strengths, and identify where further support might be needed.

Dr Jaideep Gupte, Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation at the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), says:

“AHRC is thrilled to be supporting this project which will significantly bolster our understanding of arts and humanities research strengths and capability across the UK. A wide and diverse range of facilities, networks and centres support our world-class researchers.

 

“This project will provide a comprehensive picture, for the first time, of what and where these are, helping us to better support excellence, make new connections, and maximise the impact, reach and recognition of the arts and humanities.”

The project team have already collected hundreds of pieces of research infrastructure across the country but have only just scratched the surface.

The map is set to launch in November 2023. In the meantime, the project team will share new findings and insights from the mapping process on the project blog and on social media.

 Notes for editors

  1. For more information about the Mapping the Arts and Humanities project, please contact George Meredith, Arts & Humanities Research Promotion Officer at the School of Advanced Study: George.Meredith@sas.ac.uk.
  2. The Mapping the Arts & Humanities project is based in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, and commissioned by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Research England. The project is seeking to map the UK’s diverse arts and humanities research infrastructure, and highlight the connections between the organisations, institutions and networks that provide such key support for the arts and humanities. https://humanities.org.uk/
  3. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. Through its institutes and specialist hubs for digital humanities and public engagement, SAS trains the next generation of humanities researchers, devises innovative methods for new discoveries, connects humanities researchers and practitioners across disciplines and sectors, and provides unique humanities research infrastructure to create new knowledge and new formats for collaboration. Find out more at www.sas.ac.ukor follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.
  4. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in higher education. It consists of 17 independent member institutions of outstanding reputation, together with a number of prestigious central academic bodies and activities. Learn more about the University of London at https://www.london.ac.uk
  5. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, funds internationally outstanding independent researchers across the whole range of the arts and humanities: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages and literature, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. The quality and range of research supported by AHRC works for the good of UK society and culture and contributes both to UK economic success and to the culture and welfare of societies across the globe.
  6. Research England shapes healthy, dynamic research and knowledge exchange in English universities. It distributes over £2bn to universities in England every year; works to understand their strategies, capabilities and capacity; and supports and challenges universities to create new knowledge, strengthen the economy, and enrich society.