Research beyond borders

http://www.jpi-culturalheritage.eu/


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Funding call: Heritage in Changing Environments

The new JPI CH funding call ‘Heritage in Changing Environments’ is now open and full guidance is available on the JPICH website.

town-2430571_1280The call is designed to support the development of new, research-based ideas and knowledge in response to the rapidly and widely changing context with which heritage and heritage practice is faced. It invites research projects that help cultural heritage to meet societal challenges and contribute to the development of society.

Three broad categories of the changing environments of heritage are addressed in this call: changing (physical) environments; changing social and economic environments; and changing political and cultural environments. Projects funded through this call will use cultural heritage to address global challenges such as the impacts of climate change, environmental deterioration, migration, demographic and social change, and diasporic change, urbanisation and de-ruralisation, economic inequity, changing perceptions and sustainability.

The main eligibility criteria are:

  • Duration of projects: up to 36 months
  • Each project proposal must comprise of at least three research teams, each based in an eligible institution in a different country participating in the Changing Environments Call. The maximum number of research teams in a project proposal is five
  • Applications must be in accordance with the eligibility requirements relevant for the national research teams in the transnational research consortia and not exceed the maximum budgets to be requested therein.

All proposals are to be submitted through the JPICH website. The deadline for submitting proposals is 30 November 2017, 14:00 CEST.

Contacts: Dr Claire Pascolini-Campbell

c.pascolini-campbell@ahrc.ac.uk

Mrs Karen Buchanan

k.buchanan@ahrc.ac.uk

http://www.jpi-culturalheritage.eu/

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Cultural Heritage and Rapid Urbanisation in India

CHRUI

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) are pleased to announce a joint call for research proposals addressing the theme of ‘Cultural Heritage and Rapid Urbanisation in India’.  This call closes on 7th December.

Funding of up to £200,000 per project for UK applicants is available on a full economic cost (fEC) basis with AHRC meeting 80% of the fEC. Matched resources are available from ICHR for Indian applicants. Proposals should have a maximum duration of 24 months and will be expected to start on 14th February 2018.

The aim of this call is to allow researchers in the UK and India to collaborate on joint research projects which will address critical issues concerning cultural heritage, history and urbanisation in India, including those key challenges that emerged from the workshop. It is expected that projects funded under this call will explore how historical experiences of urbanisation can inform contemporary issues and policy and also examine the role that heritage can play in sustainable economic growth and social cohesion.

Further information, including details of how to apply, can be found on the website.

Queries may be directed to newtonfund@ahrc.ac.uk or telephone 01793 416060.


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Newton RCUK-Colciencias Research Partnerships Call 2017

Newton RCUK-Colciencias Research Partnerships Call 2017

Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Administrative Department of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia (Colciencias) are pleased to invite applications to the Newton RCUK-Colciencias Research Partnerships Call 2017.  This Call closes for applications on 30th November 2017.

This initiative will provide funding for internationally competitive, transformative and high-quality collaborative research projects which address a broad range of areas related to post-conflict transitions in Colombia under three main themes:  participation and inclusion, working towards reconciliation, and education for peacebuilding.

This call aims to bring together researchers from Colombia and the UK, as well as civil society practitioners and public sector stakeholders in order to allow the pursuit of shared research interests. Research proposals should be focused on research that will benefit the Colombian nation in general and at least one of the 170 municipalities targeted under the Development Programs with a Regional Focus (PDET) in particular. More information can be found here (only in Spanish).

Details of how to apply and contact details for queries may be found on the website

Enquiries may also be directed to enquiries@ahrc.ac.uk or by telephoning 01793 416000.


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Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructures Information Days – London and Newcastle

Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructures Information Days – London and Newcastle

Events have been organised in London and Newcastle to publicise upcoming opportunities in the Research Infrastructures (RIs) Work Programme 2018–20. Both meetings will provide an overview of Research Infrastructures Work Programme RTD and e-infrastructure calls, outline a recent success story that demonstrates how to put together a winning proposal, give an overview of services offered by the UK Research Office and include a presentation from Katie Ward (UK National Contact Point) covering the call timetable.

For more information see the H2020 website:

Tuesday 14 November, The Natural History Museum, London

Wednesday 22 November, The University of Newcastle

For more information, please contact Thomas Gray, Portfolio Manager on 01793 416039.

 

 


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HERA 4th Call Announced

HERA

The New HERA funding Call ‘Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe’ is now open and full guidance is available on the HERA website.

 

The beneficiaries of this call are eligible researchers located in the HERA JRP PS countries: Austria, Belgium (Wallonia), Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom, irrespective of their nationality.

The research programme will fund new and exciting humanities-centred projects involving researchers from four or more participating countries. Proposals can be up to €1 Million in value, and 24-36 months in duration. The deadline for the submission of Outline Proposals is Tuesday 24 October 2017, 14:00 CEST (Central European Summer Time).

The UK ‘component’ of a proposals can be up to €350,000 fEC (80% of which can be requested from HERA ie €280,000).

The AHRC are running a webinar on the HERA call 1.30-2.30 on Thursday 7th September. Please register here if you like to participate.

If you are looking for partners, you can use the HERA partner search tool . Further information on eligibility, call guidance, knowledge exchange and application process is available on the HERA website.


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The arts in health: the icing on the cake?

In this latest Guest Blog, Daisy Fancourt, DaisyFancourtNew Generation Thinker 2017 and Senior Research Associate in the Department of Behavioural Science and Health at UCL  talks about the effect of arts on health. Interestingly, Daisy also appeared on BBC Breakfast on 19th July talking about the All-Party report “Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing” on the benefits of arts prescribing and arts in health.

Creative Health

 

On 17 March, I took part in my first interview as a 2017-2018 BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker at the Free Thinking Festival at Sage, Gateshead. Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough, a previous New Generation Thinker herself, was my interviewer. She asked about my work: how I got interested in the field and what I’m working on. But then Eleanor asked a question I wasn’t expecting. “What’s the limit here. The arts can support our health in some ways, but surely they can’t, for example, fix a broken leg?”

art

This is a good question, not because the arts can fix broken legs, but because it is a question that comes from wanting to understand the scope of what research is showing: wanting to know how excited we should get about the new research papers coming out each month, but also where this excitement should stop because the arts do have a limit. They do not represent complete solutions to all health problems.

This question has stuck with me since. Although there is now a plethora of evidence showing the effects of the arts on a range of mental and physical health conditions [https://global.oup.com/academic/product/arts-in-health-9780198792079?lang=en&cc=in], it could be possible to see the use of the arts in health as the icing on the cake: a wonderful way of enhancing health within societies once the fundamentals of healthcare are in place, but unnecessary, perhaps even flippant, in the context of major health challenges. However, if we look around the world, we actually see the opposite. Sometimes, in the face of the toughest health challenges, there are still important roles for the arts. A pertinent example of this is the Ebola virus epidemic from 2013-2016.

During the outbreak in West Africa, some of the major challenges were the abundant rumours and misunderstandings about the disease. There were instances of people who were affected hiding from medical staff, Ebola survivors being outcast from their societies and even healthcare workers being murdered. [http://democracyinafrica.org/improving-public-health-messaging-on-ebola] To combat this misinformation and support public health messaging, one of the strands of action was to mobilise the arts.weowntv

Spread Knowledge to Stop Ebola’ programme was developed by WeOwnTV; a San Francisco-based non-profit organisation. It involved Sierra Leoneans themselves being trained in film making and creating short films in their own words to raise public understanding about Ebola. The films built on local oral traditions and storytelling and combatted misinformation. www.sierraleone.weowntv.org

Stop Ebola Now: Through Creative Storytelling’ was a programme with UNICEF Liberia that involved the development of a 5-episode radio serial drama that addressed the reality of the Ebola epidemic. The programmes were sensitive to local cultural values and perceptions of Liberian audiences. The programmes contained songs and jingles alongside drama to help fight myths, including those surrounding survivors to help them reintegrate into communities. www.mediaimpact.org/ebola/guide.html 

liberia

 

And Songs such as Ebola in Town by Rapper Shadow were released that warned about how Ebola could be caught. With the most crucial messages looped over an electro-dance beat, the rap song became popular in Liberia along with a ‘no-touching’ dance. Details of songs regarding Ebola can be found here

Of course the Arts can directly fix a broken leg. But they are also not confined to only being the ‘icing on the cake’. During emergency situations such as epidemics, the arts do have a role to play: they have the power to turn critical health messages into something accessible, emotive and sensitive to cultural traditions. They have the power to make people listen.

For more information on the use of the arts in Ebola response, visit http://arts.ufl.edu/academics/center-for-arts-in-medicine/resources/artist-repository/

To find out more about the use of the arts in health, my new book Arts in Health: Designing and Researching Interventions is now available to order: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/arts-in-health-9780198792079?lang=en&cc=in

Follow #ArtsinHealth

If you are interested in international collaboration, did you know AHRC allows international collaborators on most of its schemes?  Please see our Website for details of such opportunities.

New Generation Thinkers 2018 is now open for applications.  For more information please visit the website

NGTi


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Emoji, Texting and Social Media: How Do They Impact Language?

In this latest Guest Blog, Alex Loktionov, AHRC International Placement Scheme Fellow at the Library of Congress, talks Emoji’s Texting and Social Media.  Join him in his discussions with Dame Wendy Hall, during her time as Kluge Chair in Technology and Society , and  Jessica Lingel, Kluge Fellow, Assistant Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania .

This Blog Post originally appeared on the Library of Congress Blog on 15th June 2017, and our thanks is given for their kind permission to re-produce.

I’m here with Dame Wendy Hall, Kluge Chair in Technology and Society, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and early pioneer in web protocols; with Alexandre Loktionov, AHRC Fellow at the Kluge Center and an expert on hieroglyphic and cuneiform legal texts; and with Jessica Lingel, Kluge Fellow, assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on social media.

We ventured into talking about emoji and social media during a hallway conversation and thought it would be fun to pursue this further via blog.

The text of our Google Docs conversation was edited for length and clarity.

DT: There is much to explore, but it began with emoji, so let’s start there: elevated art form or corruption of language?

AL: For me, they’re essentially hieroglyphs and so a perfectly legitimate extension of language. They’re signs which, without having a phonetic value of their own, can ‘color’ the meaning of the preceding word or phrase. In Egyptology, these are called ‘determinatives’ — as they determine how written words should be understood. The concept has been around for 5,000 years, and it’s remarkably versatile because of its efficiency. You can cut down your character count if you supplement words with pictures — and that’s useful both to Twitter users today and to Ancient Egyptians laboriously carving signs into a rock stela.

DT: How does everyone feel about using emoji to write literature? The Library of Congress acquired an emoji version of none other than “Moby Dick” just a few years ago.

AL: I think you can definitely write literature with emoji — the question is, who will be able to read it? Do we have enough standardization in sign deployment? I think a full emoji dictionary/sign list would be necessary, unless, of course, we want to create a literature with multiple strands of interpretation (in a literal sense — where people see the same signs but interpret them in different ways).

JFL: I think part of it is about a fascination with how technology may be reshaping cultural production. I’m thinking of games around Twitter and literature, for example; the Guardian ran a challenge asking authors to write a story in 140 characters or less. (There’s a long and wonderful history of literature produced through challenges/games like these; I’m thinking of Shelley and Hemingway.) At the root, I think, is an anxiety around what it means to make art and how technology is making art better or worse.

DT: I’m optimistic because I see technological innovations opening up the range of what is possible artistically — Gutenberg, and so forth. On the other hand, certain technological turns have been very specific in their application. Think of Morse code: incredibly useful in certain contexts, but unlikely that we will ever write a novel in Morse.

AL: I think that gets to the heart of it — we have to think of the purpose of the means of communication, and in the case of emoji, we as a culture need to decide what they are: do we want them to be a bona fide script with full capability, or are they just a tool reserved for very specific purposes (alongside conventional means of writing)?

JFL: I don’t know about Morse Code novels, but Morse code poetry is definitely a thing.

AL: It’s also worth thinking about canonicity — can emoji become canonical, in a way in which originally purely utilitarian hieroglyphs could after several millennia? Are we in this for the long run?

DT: Right, will there ever be an emoji dictionary? Perhaps there is already?

WH: There is a crowd-sourced emoji dictionary. It’s not very helpful at the moment, but then, neither was Wikipedia initially.

AL: Yes, exactly — I know there’s a grammar (of sorts), but not sure about a dictionary. And the trouble is, you can write a dictionary or a grammar, but it then has to gain acceptance on a wide level to actually be of any use.

WH: Absolutely, this is all about evolution. If anyone took the trouble to formalize emoji at the moment, the emoji world would have completely changed by the time any formalization was agreed on. I’m not aware of a grammar for emoji. Shows you how little I use them really.

JFL: Well, in a very literal sense there is definitely an emoji dictionary, in that for emoji to function across different devices, they need to exist in unicode, which includes definitions of what each character/image/symbol means. But these definitions have little to say about the different cultural appropriations of symbols. Part of what Wendy and Alexandre are talking about here is the way that the flexibility of emoji has allowed for their popularity.

AL: Very true — maybe computers can standardize them in a way we humans struggle to at the moment. Computers communicating among themselves one day, maybe? With all the talk of artificial intelligence.

DT: It would be constantly updated and crowdsourced, so this would be a very different, rapidly evolving way of canonizing.

AL: Absolutely, and especially because levels of preservation are probably going to be very low. We probably don’t have as many printed emoji as we have hieroglyphs, alphabetic words or whatever else. They get used, and then so often just disappear into the ether. And (traditional) dictionaries rely on being able to collate attestations. So does canon, at least in conventional form.

DT: I’m curious about use. To play into stereotypes, my sense is that men use emoji less than women. This is coming from someone who can barely use a semicolon at the end of a sentence to indicate mirth;

DT: That is about my range of emoji use. What do you think, have men embraced this form of communication, or is it still uncharted territory?

AL: I definitely haven’t. I feel like I can maybe comment on it in an academic sort of way, but personally I’m very attached to our tried-and-tested alphabetic way of doing things.

JFL: Meh. I think this is very culturally dependent. My sense is that emoji use is somewhat bimodally distributed in terms of age. My undergrad students love emoji, but so does my mom. There is definitely a cultural preoccupation with whether or not men can or should use emoji. And then, of course, there’s a longstanding set of generalizations about women being better at communication than men, or perhaps more precisely, the idea that communication is a feminine skill, as opposed to hyper-rational thinking, which is typically (in the West) coded as a feature of masculinity. (Insert skeptical comments regarding women’s preoccupation with feeding families as somehow frivolous and men’s preoccupation with sports as manly, etc.)

DT: Perhaps there is an irony here, in that emoji originated, if I’m not mistaken, out of a corporate context, with a preoccupation with marketing and brand identity. And now, social media companies are seeking to measure emoji use to quantify emotional states and produce commercially useful data.

AL: That’s essentially the notion of the “determinative,” which is a central pillar of Ancient Egyptian. A single sign determines an emotional state, but the difference is that the sign accompanies a word for that state which is spelt out. Here it’s more complex and harder to quantify, I would imagine —  there are fifty types of happy emoji or whatever, with fluid meaning, how exactly do you quantify the intensity or “type” of happiness being felt? We’re back to the challenge of operating without a dictionary or standardization — effectively just power of the crowd. I think they are also very useful to non-native speakers (I’m thinking of members of my family in Russia, who try to express themselves in English, fail, and then convert to emoji-speak to get their message across).

DT: I’ll venture emoji are still looked upon with some suspicion, as in they are best used in frivolous types of conversation. Are they simply a parallel form of language, useful in some social contexts, or with new technological developments, are we moving toward greater standardization and perhaps a more formalized use?

JFL: Arguably, this goes back to the discussion of gender. Are emoji considered frivolous because they’re used to convey emotion, and thus feminized? There are also parallels to Twitter here, where early Twitter users were characterized as pointless and frivolous, even though these records of everyday life are deeply constitutive of who we are as a society.

DT: A great point. And now Twitter drives public opinion, policy and elections.

WH: Dan — here is the reference I sent yesterday that talks about the different ways men and women do and don’t use emoji.

JFL: Also, here’s an academic study (from 2000) about men vs. women using emoticons.

AL: We could end up with parallel scripts, perhaps. That’s historically very common — in my field, Ancient Egypt, there was a period, for example, when there were three scripts in operation simultaneously — one for carving on stone, and mainly to do with death; one for high-order literature, some royal administration and other important tasks done in life (written with a brush on papyrus); and a shorthand for routine tasks, like counting cattle or whatever.

AL: And again here, it’s noteworthy that these multiple scripts are a reflection of the different material forms of writing — on a stone surface with a chisel, or with a brush or reed pen on papyrus. The material on which you write is so important — in that sense I firmly believe that it’s natural for something like a smartphone to give rise to a new script.

AL: I love the emoji grammar. The sign list is basically essential to early Egyptological textbooks developed back in the Thirties, like this one, for instance (obviously it was digitized more recently).

WH: Don’t forget how the Chinese language has developed over the years and how they are using cartoons/pictures now to escape censorship. This is developing (I believe) into quite a sophisticated language that defeats the machines (at the moment).

JFL: Absolutely. Danah Boyd and Alice Marwick have written about how teens use cultural references to hide messages from people (read: parents) who are in their social networks but can’t follow cultural references. For what it’s worth, I’ve written a paper with Aram Sinnreich about different modes of hidden communication used by people who are incarcerated and how that could inspire forms of protest among media activists.

WH: There is ongoing discussion about when machines will actually be able to “understand” the words/pictures/concepts they are manipulating. When will machines be able to understand emoji? Will the evolution of emoji make cognitive AI easier or harder to achieve?

DT: Wendy can you say a bit more about cognitive AI? What do you mean by this?

WH: It has been defined as the fourth wave of AI (the first being Turing and Minsky in the 50s and 60s — can computers think; the second being the rule-based expert systems of the 70s and 80s; the third being the machine learning/deep learning systems that we can build today because there is so much more computing power than there was when AI was first conceived). We will have cognitive AI when machines actually understand the information/concepts they are dealing with. At the moment they appear intelligent (e.g . Siri) but without actually “knowing” what they are talking about. This is years away —  it will take another radical evolution in computers to achieve.

DT: It sounds like we are all optimistic about the creative potential of emoji — and perhaps alternative forms of communication in general. What I am hearing from Alex is that we have historical precedents in ancient language. Wendy and Jessa, you are pointing out their subversive nature — how activists and others are using new forms of language to circumvent traditional authorities.

AL: From a historical perspective, we’re certainly very rich in precedent — and in that sense I always feel a little surprised when people talk about modes of communication like emoji, or text-speak for that matter, as being somehow “new.” No — the technology driving them may be new, but the phenomenon of parallel scripts or using pictures to convey emotion (pictograms/determinatives) has been around for millennia. Society is currently adjusting to a new writing medium — the phone/tablet, or indeed even just the computer. In historical terms, even the computer is incredibly new. When paper first appeared in China, or papyrus in Egypt, there was a floruit of new written expression (it being a much more versatile medium than the stone surface which preceded it). Now we’ve got another medium which is more versatile than paper and, importantly, which has the capacity for instant deletion. In that sense, of course, emoji (or indeed anything typed on a computer) can afford to be more frivolous as its creator can send it back into the ether with one hit of the backspace. You can’t do that with an inscription.

DT: Well said, Alex. Jessa, Wendy, concluding thoughts?

JFL: 💁😃😂😆😐😕😦😪💀👀👌

WH: 👏

DT: Thanks everyone. It’s been super;

The Arts and Humanities Research Council International Placement Scheme  that Alex Loktionov applied for is likely to be open for applications between Mid Nov – Mid Jan 2018.  Check our website and twitter feeds for more information. And if you follow @ahrcpress and #ahrcips on twitter, you can then tweet back, adding an emoji…

We asked Alex about the application process:

‘I’d strongly advise people to apply to this scheme – and especially if initially you think you’re not the ‘right fit’. The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library and as such I’m sure it has something to offer almost any humanities scholar.

As an Egyptologist, I was a little bit unsure whether this opportunity would be right for me, as this place is not usually connected to ancient history. However, this has turned out to be a great benefit – I’ve discovered things in the collection which nobody in my discipline has looked at before, allowing me to situate my own research on Egyptian law within a broader framework of African and Middle Eastern justice.

The setting is extremely interdisciplinary – discussing, collaborating and networking with leading scholars in fields like computing and social media has proved really uplifting. I’d never thought that my subject could actually be this ‘relevant’ to the modern world before!’ Alex Loktionov