The AHRC’s Cultural Engagement Fund is a pilot scheme designed to strengthen and develop a university’s broader strategy for supporting the engagement of its arts and humanities academic staff with local creative sector SMEs. As a result of a call for applications, forty-five universities are now supporting recently completed PhD students in the arts and humanities to undertake three-month projects. The projects not only support valuable collaboration between universities and cultural organisations, but also provide the early career researchers with opportunities to develop a wide range of skills, particularly in relation to supporting the wider impact of arts and humanities research.
At the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, Dr Simon Barber is working with Edition Records, a high-profile British jazz record company, to help them develop the way they engage with jazz fans online, using social media to create cultural spaces for fans to enrich their interaction with the music and musicians associated with the label, and to create new opportunities for the label staff and musicians to make a living out of jazz. The label already pays significant attention to product design and photography, and so the project will focus on exploring the significance of label branding within a jazz context through online dissemination of the Edition brand, particularly through experimental approaches to social media marketing. The project transfers knowledge and methodologies related to the cultural use of new technologies, platforms and applications; it develops an important research partnership, and produces new knowledge relevant to teaching and research interests within the University.
The AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.
Each project will report back on their experience and how they developed their skills later in the year.