AHRC Commons Fellowship - R Clay

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Heritage and Cultural Learning Hub

Abstract

The AHRC Commons will be aimed at gathering together arts and humanities researchers alongside cognate bodies and international peers to develop joint initiatives, connect dispersed undertakings, provide for a discussion and build a shared case for the importance of arts and humanities research to national and international life.' The remit of the AHRC Commons is broad and an overview is outlined in full in the Strategy.

The AHRC Commons Fellow will be able to demonstrate strategic leadership and have the ability to manage complex projects.

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
AH/M504221/1 01/09/2014 31/08/2015 £425,471
AH/M504221/2 Transfer AH/M504221/1 01/09/2015 31/08/2017 £283,871
 
Title Utopia: in search of the dream 
Description 3 x 60-minute BBC4 documentaries that were written and presented by the AHRC Commons Fellow (Clay) and that aired in August 2017. Notions of 'the commons' and 'commonsing' past and present were cross-cutting themes throughout the series that explored utopian thinking and practice across cultures, periods, and art forms. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact The films were critically lauded by reviewers and previewers across the UK's broadsheet press, viewing figures were good, and large numbers of individuals commented on social media on the films and their thoughts on utopia. The films economically benefitted the production company, Clear Story, and have been licensed to 2 overseas markets (with more pending). 
 
Description The membership of the AHRC Commons community is diverse (including anyone from any sector engaged in arts and humanities research). Following consultation with over 700 of its members, we found that there was strong support for AHRC Commons initiative's aim of bringing members together at a national event to exchange knowledge and build a stronger case for the value of the arts and humanities nationally and internationally. With the support of members of the community, the AHRC Commons team organised a national event, 'Common Ground' that was attended by more than 450 people of various career stages who were based in universities, cultural or heritage organisations, SMEs, third sector organisations, or who were freelancers/sole traders. Evaluation of 'Commons Ground' showed that respondents thought that attending the event had helped them to generate new knowledge, develop understanding of a wide range of other research initiatives and/or projects, gain a better understanding of the diversity of cross-disciplinary projects, and engage in informal conversations that led to the sharing of knowledge. In short, the AHRC Commons initiative demonstrated that participants in cross-disciplinary and cross-sector collaborations report that their work benefits from such efforts and they appreciate having opportunities to make new face-to-face connections beyond their usual professional networks.
Exploitation Route While the national 'Common Ground' event enabled new links to be made between the 450 people present, it is also likely that the whole AHRC Commons initiative has shaped members of this cross-disciplinary and cross-sector community to conceptualise their modes of work in relation to the mutating traditions of 'the commons' and of 'commonsing'.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

URL http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/about/ahrc-commons/
 
Description The findings of our first year of consultation with more than 700 members of the AHRC Commons (which is to say, anyone from any sector engaged in arts and humanities research projects) was reported to a session of the Museum Association conference in 2015 attended by c.200 museum professionals. The session was focused on the relationships between HEIs and the museum sector. On-going consultation with the members of the AHRC Commons community during 2016 and 2017 demonstrated a widespread desire for a national event to be held that would allow them to gather and share knowledge, understanding, best practice, inspiration and to generate new connections. With the support of members of the community, the AHRC Commons team organised a national event, 'Common Ground' at the University of York that was attended by more than 450 people of various career stages who were based in universities, cultural or heritage organisations, SMEs, third sector organisations, or who were freelancers/sole traders. Accordingly, activities at the event were diverse, ranging from presentations to debates, from a hackathon to performances of dance, opera, theatre and song, from the production of digital tools to badges, blue plaques and art works, from training sessions to demonstrations of research techniques and results. Evaluation of the event during the 8 weeks that followed showed that 90% (56) of respondents thought that attending 'Common Ground' had helped them to generate new knowledge. Analysis of the questionnaire identified key themes relating to how 'Common Ground' helped respondents to: develop knowledge of a wide range of other research initiatives and/or projects; develop a better understanding of the diversity of cross-disciplinary projects, thereby gaining new perspectives; and engage in informal conversations that led to the sharing of knowledge. As one respondent noted, such conversations could 'result in cross-disciplinary collaborations that push knowledge in new directions'. Some respondents noted that 'Common Ground' had encouraged them to think beyond 'traditional' research projects and means of engagement. Respondents also noted that 'Common Ground; had helped them develop new approaches to public engagement, improved knowledge of new technologies, of issues relating to public engagement, and of working in collaboration with schools and with community groups. More specifically, in the word's of one respondent, 'Common Ground' 'helped me establish a way forward of building an app of my own'. Another said that the event had 'helped us think about how we [...] we might emulate [REACT's] work in deprived (abandoned) northern communities close to home'. The People's Museum (Manchester) noted that their team had been 'enabled' by being 'in an environment where concerns of archive, the public, politics and opinions were shared and seen to be researched and engaged with.' Anecdotal evidence emerged during the final year of the Fellowship that notions of 'Commons' and 'Commonsing' were shaping new cross-disciplinary and cross-sector projects. For his part, the AHRC Commons Fellow used lessons learned from the initiative and wrote and presented 3 x 60-minute BBC4 documentaries, 'Utopia: in search of the dream' (broadcast August 2017) in which notions of 'the commons' and of 'commonsing' past and present featured as cross-cutting themes throughout the series.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Environment,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description AHRC Commons consultation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact In a series of meetings, focus groups, and workshops held across the UK, my research team and I engaged with over 700 members of the diverse AHRC Commons community (which is to say, a wide range of people from various sectors who are engaged in arts and humanities research). In almost all engagements, our discussion of the AHRC Commons initiative provoked questions, discussion, and near unanimous support for the AHRC Commons initiative. The consultation process helped my team to formulate the format and themes of the first AHRC Commons national event (to be held on 21 June 2016 at University of York) and to recruit 20 'zone leads' who will 'curate' activities at that event involving up 230 members of the AHRC Commons community. In total, the event will gather up 600 members of the AHRC Commons to exchange knowledge, develop new initiatives, and begin to articulate a strong argument for the value of the arts and humanities nationally and internationally
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/about/ahrc-commons/
 
Description AHRC Commons national event, 'Common Grond' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact With the support of members of the cross-disciplinary and cross-sector AHRC Commons community, the AHRC Commons team organised a national event, 'Common Ground' at the University of York that was attended by more than 450 people of various career stages who were based in universities, cultural or heritage organisations, SMEs, third sector organisations, or who were freelancers/sole traders. Accordingly, activities at the event were diverse, ranging from presentations to debates, from a hackathon to performances of dance, opera, theatre and song, from the production of digital tools to badges, blue plaques and art works, from training sessions to demonstrations of research techniques and results. Evaluation of the event during the 8 weeks that followed showed that 90% (56) of respondents thought that attending 'Common Ground' had helped them to generate new knowledge. Analysis of the questionnaire identified key themes relating to how 'Common Ground' helped respondents to: develop knowledge of a wide range of other research initiatives and/or projects; develop a better understanding of the diversity of cross-disciplinary projects, thereby gaining new perspectives; and engage in informal conversations that led to the sharing of knowledge. As one respondent noted, such conversations could 'result in cross-disciplinary collaborations that push knowledge in new directions'. Some respondents noted that 'Common Ground' had encouraged them to think beyond 'traditional' research projects and means of engagement. Respondents also noted that 'Common Ground; had helped them develop new approaches to public engagement, improved knowledge of new technologies, of issues relating to public engagement, and of working in collaboration with schools and with community groups. More specifically, in the word's of one respondent, 'Common Ground' 'helped me establish a way forward of building an app of my own'. Another said that the event had 'helped us think about how we [...] we might emulate [REACT's] work in deprived (abandoned) northern communities close to home'. The People's Museum (Manchester) noted that their team had been 'enabled' by being 'in an environment where concerns of archive, the public, politics and opinions were shared and seen to be researched and engaged with.' Anecdotal evidence emerged during the final year of the Fellowship that notions of 'Commons' and 'Commonsing' were shaping new cross-disciplinary and cross-sector projects. For his part, the AHRC Commons Fellow used lessons learned from the initiative and wrote and presented 3 x 60-minute BBC4 documentaries, 'Utopia: in search of the dream' (broadcast August 2017) in which notions of 'the commons' and of 'commonsing' past and present featured as cross-cutting themes throughout the series.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/about/ahrc-commons/
 
Description Utopia: in search of the dream 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 3 x 60-minute BBC4 documentaries that were written and presented by the AHRC Commons Fellow (Clay) and that aired nationally in August 2017. Notions of 'the commons' and 'commonsing' past and present were cross-cutting themes throughout the series that explored utopian thinking and practice across cultures, periods, and art forms. The films were critically lauded by reviewers and previewers across the UK's broadsheet press, viewing figures were good, and large numbers of individuals commented on social media on the films and their thoughts on utopia (including about 'commons' and 'commonsing'). The films economically benefitted the production company, Clear Story, and have been licensed to 2 overseas markets (with more pending).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017