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New map reveals diversity of UK arts and humanities research infrastructure 

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A new website launched today by the School of Advanced Study at the University of London reveals the extraordinary diversity of arts and humanities research infrastructure across the UK for the first time.  

Mapping the Arts and Humanities poster

Mapping the Arts and Humanities uncovers the range of institutes, centres and networks that support arts and humanities research, making it easier for users to discover and connect with research activity.  

The project has collected the details of over 3000 pieces of infrastructure, which cover a huge variety of subjects and research specialisms, from literature and history, to law, design and visual arts.    

Previously, much of this vital infrastructure was unconnected and difficult to find, often hidden among sub-pages of university websites or buried among thousands of search engine results. Mapping the Arts and Humanities brings this information together in one place and provides a consolidated source of information about the UK’s arts and humanities research landscape.   

Professor Jo Fox, Dean of the School of Advanced Study and sponsor of the project, said:  

“Mapping the Arts and Humanities is an important step in uncovering the hidden research resources that drive new discoveries, and a critical resource for anyone who wants to better understand the rich research landscape of the arts and humanities in the UK.”  

The map will enable researchers to identify potential collaborators outside their usual networks and boost visibility for research infrastructure across the country. It will also help policymakers locate relevant expertise to inform policy, and external organisations connect with academic partners.   

The resource provides a range of ways to access information about research infrastructure.  

Users can search for infrastructure via the keyword search, and filter results by type, subject, and university affiliation. Results can also be filtered by whether the infrastructure offers funding, which will help early career researchers discover new opportunities in their field. Alternatively, users can browse an interactive map of the UK and zoom into discover research taking place in their area, or further afield.  

The data that powers the map provides a unique source of information and insight into the UK’s research landscape. At a glance visualisations reveal how different types of arts and humanities research infrastructure are connected, and the spread of infrastructure across the main disciplines. Users can download the project’s API to run more intensive analyses of the data.  

These data insights will help the research community – as well as funders and research councils such as the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Research England, who commissioned the project – to better understand the make-up of the sector, and identify where more funding or support is needed. This will help to ensure a sustainable future for arts and humanities research.  

Professor Christopher Smith, Executive Chair of AHRC, said: 

"AHRC is delighted to welcome this new resource, which will play an invaluable role in elucidating the full range of arts and humanities infrastructure for the benefit of researchers, policymakers and a wide range of organisations.”  

Dame Jessica Corner, Executive Chair of Research England, said: 

“The important insights this will deliver for understanding the arts and humanities research landscape will not only aid funders like Research England in making strategic funding decisions, but will also foster greater collaboration and connection between universities and researchers.”  

Today’s launch is just the first step in the life of the project. The website is designed to be a sustainable community resource and will continue to evolve as more infrastructure upload and update their information. Widespread community involvement and engagement will ensure it remains a dynamic picture of the arts and humanities, and the fantastic research taking place across the UK.  

Join the mapping community today, and see what you’ll discover.   

Hand placing a pin on a map