Arts & Humanities Research Institute Centres have continued delivering their plans for research and education activities in 2021, by adopting effective digital solutions across varied activity strands. The success of these digital adaptions is visible in the high engagement during Centre for Digital Culture’s May online conference on technology and government in pandemic times, and in the digital versions of the Annual Runciman Lecture and Annual Jamie Rumble Memorial Fund Lecture ran by Centre for Hellenic Studies.
The Centres have exhibited resilience in the face of COVID-19 restrictions and have been exemplary in setting examples of international and national collaborations in research. For example, the Camões Centre for Portuguese Language and Culture is in the process of developing a website for the Decolonised Dictionary of the Portuguese Language, working with international partners and contributors. Programmes like the ‘21 in 21 encounters’ from the Centre for Hellenic Studies; digitally adapted collaborations by Centre for Life Writing Research; and virtual networking opportunities/workshops created by all Research Centres have been providing opportunities to foster networks amongst scholars at all career levels and those from underrepresented backgrounds in the UK.
The Centres have also utilised digital social media platforms and blogs to reach wider audiences and to build research networks. For example, the Centre for Early Modern Studies set up a new blog and ‘Keywords’ blog series which has gained thousands of unique views and has brought together 30 different researchers from 12 institutions. Some Centres were successful in extending their collaborative activities beyond academia, engaging with global museums, archives and artists.
The opportunity to engage with current issues beyond academia has been a visible strand in all Centre activities to date. The Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies continued their lecture series on the theme of ‘Contagion’, with a series of online events; The London Shakespeare Centre continued to work on the Early Modern Scholars of Colour Network (EMSOC), an anti-racist network for scholars of colour in Early Modern/Shakespeare studies, which the Centre is establishing with Shakespeare’s Globe. Queer@Kings Centre held three online reading groups, and provided support for a LGBTQ History Month event, in collaboration with ParaPride, their Activist-in-Residence.
Finally, Research Centres have taken the opportunity to produce material reflecting on their processes and practices, with key learning informing support guides for staff, students and external partners, published on the AHRI’s Support page.