Research beyond borders

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Humanities in Europe – Information day

An information day about European Funding is taking place on 18th February 2015 in Swindon. Its free to attend and most importantly its aimed specifically at humanities researchers.

The National Contact Points for several European Commission areas of funding will be presenting an overview of their areas including highlighting humanities opportunities where relevant and you can also book 1-2-1 appointments. Areas covered will include, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, European Research Council, Research Infrastructures, and Societal Challenges.The AHRC will also be there to present an overview of their funding opportunities for international research.

More information and registration is available on the ESRC website

Note: National Contact Points are funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to support access to European Commission Funding. Although based at specific institutions they help everyone with application and scheme queries.

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Digging into Data 2013: Conference Report

Laura Bones, Programmes Coordinator at the AHRC, reports on the recent Digging into Data 2013 conference.

MontrealOn Saturday I was in Montreal for the 2013 Digging into Data conference. This was an opportunity for the round 2 award holders to present their projects in a ten minute ‘lightning round’ presentation.

The highlight for me was the opening keynote by Professor John Willinsky, from the University of Stanford, who talked about the need, not only for open access but for open data and the researcher’s responsibility to curate their data so that others can use it in the future. He used examples such as a play he had been to called ‘arguendo’, which showed columns of data bowing on screen, which really brought his talk to life for me.

The closing keynote was from Professor Sally Wyatt. She talked about the importance of invisible work in such collaborations and discussed the benefits and challenges of openness in terms of access, content, sources, hardware and data. 14 teams gave presentations, explaining the main aims, methods and outcomes of their awards. In the panel sessions they were asked questions from award holders in round 1, about general themes that affected all teams. The presentation that I found most interesting was the IMPACT project, which aimed to explore patterns of health disease and funerary behaviour in Egyptian records, by using a CT machine to look at mummies. They have now discovered that heart disease was present in a large proportion of mummies, so it is not just modern diet that causes it.

The main challenges that arose out of the panel sessions were those of sustainability, open access and interdisciplinary and international cooperation but the award holders also thought the cooperation element was really brought out by the programme.

The delegates really valued the opportunity to network with other award holders and share best practice. We had a very successful conference and I look forward to the next one where we will be able to learn about the projects for Digging into Data round 3.

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The Time and the Place – Celebrating European Culture and Identity

‘The Time and the Place: Culture and Identity in Today’s Europe’, is series of concerts and creative events from a Europe-wide choice of artists which aims to present and reflect on the findings of the first set of Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) projects to be funded, which are now drawing to a close.

To be held at King’s Place in London on the 31 May and 1 June 2013, the festival will feature artistic responses, performance events, film screenings, panel discussions and exhibitions presenting the findings of the HERA projects.

These projects, which were co-funded by the AHRC, aimed to establish modern cultural identities in a rapidly evolving Europe. The unique series of performances to be presented will focus on two key ideas – how the past relates to the present and how creativity can lead to new forms of innovation. The artists taking part reflect their cultural roots across a large and varied landscape from Northern Scandinavia to Eastern Europe.

As an example, one of the performers, Budapest Bár, is a world class gypsy band inspired by the evocative and eccentric Budapest café culture of the 1920s and 30s. The band, very popular in their native Hungary, return to London to open the festival following a highly commended performance last July for the BT River of Music festival. The second day of the programme will see the projects themselves presenting their findings in a series of interactive and participatory activities.

HERA is supported by a consortium of national arts and humanities research councils, and exists to push the boundaries of research at an international level. This joint research programme which funded the projects endeavours to show why the humanities have profound importance in our lives today as they respond to questions that cannot be easily tackled by the hard sciences. Ultimately, projects aims to contribute to our understanding of what it means to be human today in an ever-changing world.

Further details of the event are available at:

Details can also be found at the HERA website ( where more information about the Network and projects funded is also available.