Funding challenges in the arts

I think everyone in the Higher Education sector is aware that funding cuts will affect our research and teaching experience over the next few years. So how can we go about trying to protect our ability to research in the face of such difficulties?

Unfortunately the cuts to the British public sector are starting to have an impact on arts and humanities researchers and lecturers. For example, the British Academy has cut its small grants programme, as outlined in this excellent blog by Phil Ward: please click here. As Ward says, this will especially impact on early career scholars attempting to get a foot in the funding door.

While promotion and career progression are so closely tied to the acquisition of large funding awards, the removal of smaller awards such as this will have the affect of making competition for the larger awards even more fierce. So, how should we go about trying to undertake research in such challenging circumstances?

Research from home? Online resources mean that for many scholars travelling great distances to archives is not always necessary now.

Research outside term time  only? Without funding it is nearly impossible to spare the time during the teaching parts of the year to get down to some serious research or writing. So, forget the idea of an actual holiday, and make sure you dedicate your breaks to research instead.

Small grants from libraries/archives? The situation globally is not completely hopeless. There are still some institutions offering scholars money to study for short periods of time (a few weeks or a few months). Libraries, especially in the US, offer decent visiting scholarships over the summer months.

The situation is far from ideal, but if you want to continue to be a research active scholar, increasingly lateral thinking will be required.


About Catherine Armstrong

Dr Catherine Armstrong is a Senior Lecturer in History at Manchester Metropolitan University, specialising in North American History. She is a former teaching fellow in History at the University of Warwick and Oxford Brookes University. Catherine was also Director of Historical Studies in the Open Studies department at the University of Warwick. Her first book ‘Writing North America in the Seventeenth Century’ was published by Ashgate in June 2007. As a long-time jobseeker for an academic role herself, Catherine is in a unique position to understand and offer her knowledge and experience to those developing an academic career.

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