Research beyond borders

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A Flurry of AHRC International Opportunities

International Placement Scheme (IPS)

The IPS call is open – as well as continuing with opportunities to visit some fantastic organisations in the USA and Japan, this year we have an exciting new host – the Shanghai Theatre Academy. The IPS scheme enables doctoral students, doctoral level researchers and Early Career Researchers to undertake a fellowship of 2-6 months. More information is available on the AHRC website and the deadline is 15th January 2015.

If you want to know what being a IPS fellow is like, we have several blog posts from previous award holders about their experiences, just click on the International Placement Scheme Tag to read more . We are always open to new suggestions of hosts, if you have a suggestion of somewhere that should be a part of this scheme, please do comment. One our current hosts, Harry Ransom center was previously suggested via a comment so it can work!

Cultural Heritage and Rapid Urbanisation Workshop in India

The AHRC, Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) and the British Library are organising a workshop on ‘Cultural Heritage and Rapid Urbanisation in India’. Funding is available for 20 UK based researchers to attend. Expression of Interest must be submitted by 4pm 30th January 2015. For more information please see the AHRC website.

International Co-Investigator continues

The AHRC pilot for International Co-investigator (Co-I) has been extended until 31st December 2016. We are very pleased with how this is progressing and have extended this to allow us to fully review all aspects of international Co-I on a grant through both application and award. International Co-Investigators are eligible on research grants, research networking and follow on fund applications (other schemes may also allow this but this is decided on a case by case basis so please consult call guidance).


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Humanities Fellowships at the National Humanities Center, USA


The National Humanities Center in the USA is seeking applicants for academic-year or one-semester residencies in 2015/16.  Fellowship applicants must have a PhD or equivalent scholarly credentials. Emerging scholars as well as senior scholars from all areas of the humanities are welcome. The Center does not normally support the revision of doctoral dissertations.

Located in the progressive Triangle region of North Carolina, the Center affords access to the rich cultural and intellectual communities supported by the area’s research institutes and universities. Fellows have private studies; the library service delivers all research materials. Scholars from all parts of the globe are encouraged to apply; travel expenses in addition to a stipend are provided. The deadline for applications is October 15, 2014. For further information please see the National Humanities Center website

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Researching Heifetz at the Library of Congress

In this guest blog, Dr Dario Sarlo explains how the chance to work with unique archival material at the Library of Congress provided him with opportunities for international research collaborations and to share his research worldwide.

It all started back in 2006 with a letter from the AHRC – well, a rather bulky packet, actually. I had won an AHRC doctoral award at Goldsmiths, University of London to support my research into the legacy of the violinist Jascha Heifetz. When I accepted my doctoral award, I had no idea just how it would shape my career.

Heifetz 1A year into my PhD, I won another AHRC competition. This time, for a 6-month International Placement Scheme (IPS) Fellowship to study the archives of the Jascha Heifetz Collection at the Library of Congress’ John W. Kluge Centre. I had always hoped to spend time in this extraordinary institution,so the IPS Fellowship was a perfect opportunity. During my IPS Fellowship I examined tens of thousands of archival items, and the work I did became the basis of my thesis, which I completed in 2011.

I made many useful and rewarding international connections whilst in the USA, resulting in two exciting side projects: I co-edited a translation of a 600-page Heifetz biography by the Russian author Galina Kopytova, which was published by Indiana University Press in 2013 (Jascha Heifetz: Early Years in Russia): I also provided extensive research for a New York film producer’s documentary Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler.

Although I achieved everything I set out to on my AHRC IPS Fellowship, there was still a great deal of research I wanted to carry out at the Library on Congress, so after I received my doctorate, I applied for one of the Kluge Center’s own Postdoctoral Fellowships. I am the first AHRC IPS Fellow to return with this award and I am sure that my experience as an AHRC IPS Fellow was a factor in me winning the Kluge Centre Fellowship.

During my 2013-14 Kluge Centre Fellowship, I have returned to the Library of Congress’ archives to complete a monograph based on my doctoral research: The Performance Style of Jascha Heifetz will be published by Ashgate in 2015.Image

Last month, as part of my Kluge Centre Fellowship, I organised and participated in an international panel discussion on Heifetz. I was joined at the event, which took place here at the Library of Congress, by two distinguished guests: Ayke Agus from Los Angeles (author of Heifetz as I Knew Him, 2001) and Arthur Vered from London (author of Jascha Heifetz, 1986). Rare Heifetz materials I have been researching here were exhibited to the public. The whole event was filmed and will be webcast by the Library of Congress – an incredible platform from which to share my research with an international audience.

None of this could have happened without the AHRC and the IPS award! The opportunities that the International Placement Scheme offered are still impacting on my career 7 years later.

Dario Sarlo @DarioSarlo

The 2014/15 AHRC IPS Library of Congress Fellows will be announced in July 2014. More information on the AHRC International Placement Scheme and its host institutions can be found on the AHRC website.

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The Arts and Humanities Research Landscape in the US

When the AHRC asked me to write a 300 word blog describing the arts and humanities research landscape in the US, I smiled and said, “Oh, of course. Not a problem.”  Meanwhile my homunculus was screaming, “300 words? That is ridiculous. An impossible task!”  As an American working at the British Embassy, I have found myself often trying to explain the complex layered system of government and the even more complex social structure to my often bewildered or bemused British colleagues.  In this case the conversation would range from a detailed explanation of both the federal system and Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ. So instead you get some key bullet points to understanding the complex US arts and humanities landscape.  

  • The US does not have an equivalent funder to the AHRC.  Also, there is less federal funding for arts and humanities research.
  • In the US, funding for arts and humanities research is spread across at least three federal government agencies, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The Smithsonian Institute is also a major contributor to arts and humanities research, but the research is done internally.
  • Congressional support of these organizations waxes and wanes according to who is in political power and the strength of the economy.
  • In addition to Federal government funders, many state and local government agencies fund arts and humanities research, usually focused on their local communities.
  • Alongside Federal funding, the United States boasts the world’s strongest networks of private foundations. The top 50 US foundations spent over $2.3 billion on over 5000 grants in arts and culture in 2011. A state by state map of funders can be found here.
  • Foundational funds also fluctuate with economic fluctuations.

Despite the complexity, there is a vibrant and dynamic arts and humanities research in the US.  The AHRC, with the assistance of the RCUK team here in Washington DC, is working to tighten and simplify relationships with the US federal agencies. Already there is a lead agency agreement between AHRC and NSF.  We hope this trend continues so that the UK and US arts and humanities research communities can more closely cooperate, more efficiently leverage funds, and produce world-class research.

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*New* opportunity for US-UK collaborations

There is an exciting new opportunity for UK/USA research collaboration on the theme of ‘Bridging Cultures: Using humanities scholarship to study Health and Well being.’ This is linked to the AHRC Science in Culture Theme .

The result of a collaboration between The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and AHRC, the call aims to advance research that focuses on the humanities and health and well-being. Applications are invited for support of collaborative research projects that use humanities disciplines to better understand health, well-being, disability, medical science and technology, or other aspects of the health sciences. As this list suggests, the call is wide in scope but projects might investigate, for example, literary narratives of healing, the role of culture or cultural difference in health and medicine, or comparative cultural perspectives on disability.

Applications must involve a scholar from both the UK and USA and be submitted to the NEH Collaborative Research Program . The deadline for applications is 6th December 2012.  All successful applications will be jointly funded by both NEH and AHRC. Further information is available here.


International Placement Scheme – awards announced

The AHRC run an International Placement Scheme  for AHRC-funded PhD students and early career researchers to spend time at an overseas organisation with dedicated access to their world-class research facilities, expertise and networking opportunities.

Successful Library of Congress Award Holders from Univesity of Lincoln (© University of Lincoln)

 We’ve just announced the awarded placements from the last call – 65 in total, going to one of four hosts:

  •  Library of Congress – USA
  •  National Institutes for the Humanities  (NIHU) – Japan
  •  Huntington Library – USA
  •  SARAI-CSDS  – India

Andrew and Adam, as featured in the post photo are two University of Lincoln students who are about to head off to the Library of Congress for their research on popular attitudes and comics during the second world war. The funding for the next round of the scheme isn’t confirmed yet, but we are hoping to run it in a similar way.  Please note the timetable may be brought forward  so expect an announcement later in the autumn. If you’re an early career researcher, it’s well-worth considering applying as this scheme is open to more than just PhD students: previous award holders are extremely positive about the value these awards have on their research. You can hear one of them speak here.

 We are always looking for ways to expand the scheme:  if you have any ideas of other places which might make great future hosts please let us know (either post in comments or contact Pippa Craggs – see ‘about’ link above).  Note that these partnerships require a level of support from the host institution and can take a while for the AHRC to set up.