23 November 2012

Blow up the humanities? A British perspective on university futures

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In Blow Up The Humanities, Professor Toby Miller has provocatively outlined an argument for a new model of humanities teaching and scholarship that will address the social, cultural and economic crises it faces. In England, the newly formed Council for the Defence of British Universities argues the university system is being deliberately designed to subordinate everything to the economic imperative. Autonomy is said to be under threat, public fee support is being withdrawn and dissemination models face challenges from the push to open-access.

David Sweeney argues that the evidence in the humanities is bright – students are voting with their feet and choosing to study the humanities. At a £9k annual fee, the financial mode for humanities departments is sound. Employers continue to hire humanities graduates.

This lecture proposes that the humanities have a firm foundation on which to build, and identifies strategies to face the future with confidence. Sweeney will also discuss the UK Research Excellence Framework impact exercise, whose pilot demonstrated that humanities impact is evident and can be measured: “a powerful story emerges about the strength and benefits of research in the humanities, research that transforms the intellectual and cultural landscape, generates commercial capital and sustains citizenship and civil society”.

David Sweeney has been Director (Research, Innovation and Skills) of the Higher Education Funding Council for England since 2008. In this role he is responsible for developing policy on research (including the Research Excellence Framework), business and community, and employer engagement.

When: Tuesday 27 November, 11am-12pm
Where: Theatrette, Humanities Research Centre, Sir Roland Wilson Building (120), McCoy Circuit, ANU

Click here to register.

Free and open to the public

Enquiries: T 02 6125 8983 E Colin.Steele@anu.edu.au

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