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Major boost for arts and humanities


Newcastle University has been awarded a share of £11.2 million to fund up to 157 full-time postgraduate students.

Newcastle, Durham Universities and Queen’s University Belfast are to receive a total of £11.2 million from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to establish the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership (NBDTP). 

With funding for approximately 157 full-time postgraduate students over five years, the award will develop the next generation of researchers in arts and humanities.

The universities have teamed up with high-profile partners from the media, the museums and heritage sector, and the creative economy, including Durham Cathedral, The Sage Gateshead and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, The Bowes Museum, New Writing North and Seven Stories.  They will give the students access to their impressive archives and collections for their research, while the students will also benefit from a wide variety of training opportunities during placements at some of the country’s leading cultural organisations.

Professor Charles Harvey, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, said: “This is wonderful news and a very exciting collaboration to be involved in. Our three universities have a track record of excellence in the arts and humanities and our new partnership can only build upon this shared expertise.

“What makes this new partnership so exciting is that we are going to be working with some of the finest arts and humanities organisations in the country, including a World Heritage Site, the National Centre for Children’s Books and the National Media Museum in Bradford. This will give our students access to these outstanding resources for their research and, just as importantly, hands-on experience working alongside professionals.”  

Professor Neill Marshall, Dean of Postgraduate Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, who is leading the partnership at Newcastle University, said: “In these difficult times when so many arts organisations are under strain and funding is stretched, this is a real vote of confidence in Newcastle, Durham, Queen’s and our vision of collaboration with our partners.

“This is particularly true in the North East where we are lucky to have so many leading cultural organisations on our doorstep. The students will help to support them in the work they do and create even stronger links between the universities and cultural sector.”

Professor Seth Kunin, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Arts and Humanities) at Durham University commented: “The AHRC’s decision is excellent news not just for our universities, but also for our regions more widely. Students from the NBDTP will be working closely with public, private and charitable organisations and the wider community across the North East and Northern Ireland.”

Professor Robin Coningham, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Social Sciences and Health) at Durham University added: “We are delighted that the quality of our joint bid has been rewarded. The new NBDTP will offer postgraduate students the very best advanced and specialist research training and support in state-of-the-art facilities.”

The funding has been awarded by the Art and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the first students will begin their studies in 2014.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (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. 

published on: 15 October 2013