Organisers had to put out extra chairs to cater for the demand at the CMCI-initiated “Researching the Arts –Why Bother?” public debate held in the splendour of the Weston Room at KCL’s Maughan Library.
The event was conceived by centre director Dr Richard Howells in collaboration with the Institute of Ideas and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, along with Time Out London as media partners. Interest was such that extra seating had to be arranged, with some 80 people attending the event, including a very healthy showing from MA CCI students.
In addition to Richard Howells, speakers included Paul Glinkowski, Rootstein Hopkins Research Fellow at the University of the Arts; Professor Jonathan Bate, professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick, Fellow of the British Academy and Royal Society of Literature and Council member, Arts and Humanities Research Council; and Professor Kim Knott, professor of Religious Studies at the University of Leeds and director of the AHRC Diasporas, Migration and Identities programme. The chair was Tiffany Jenkins, director of the arts and society programme at the Institute of Ideas.
Presentations from the panel were followed by lively debate from the floor, with many interesting questions and comments from a wide variety of people including Institute of Ideas director Claire Fox, also known to a wider public for her work on radio and television, including BBC Radio 4’s “The Moral Maze”.
Richard Howells is delighted with the success of the event and its part in putting the importance of arts research on the political –as well as the academic- agenda.
UPDATE: The debate was featured in the 23-29th October edition of the Times Higher Education, page 8, under the tantalising headline: “Arts PhDs still out of favour with sheep farmers”. Those of you who were there will get the reference! The full article can be seen at : http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=404055&c=1