Public engagement – AHRC

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is passionate about the importance of public engagement with both the research that we fund directly, and in arts and humanities research in general.

We believe the public engagement that we fund makes arts and humanities research higher quality, better informed, more relevant and useful to the public. It helps to improve the life of individuals and the country, and to make the case to continue arts and humanities research in the future.

What we do

The aim of AHRC’s public engagement team is to:

  • create and support public engagement opportunities and partnerships for our research community
  • understand and monitor the full public engagement landscape in the arts and humanities, so we know how best to help our community and whether we’re making a difference
  • support public engagement at AHRC and UKRI to create an arts and humanities funding environment where the highest-quality public engagement can flourish
  • provide support for skills and training in the arts and humanities research community, so our researchers understand the importance of public engagement and know how to engage the public throughout the research process

Our programmes

Some of our continuing public engagement programmes include:

  • New Generation Thinkers, our flagship public engagement scheme for early career researchers run in partnership with the BBC
  • Being Human festival, co-founded and funded by us along with the British Academy, and delivered by the School of Advanced Study, University of London
  • the New Thinking podcast, part of BBC Radio 3’s Arts & Ideas series in partnership with the BBC, where we support researchers to share their research

75 years of the NHS

2023 marked the 75th anniversary of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), one of the world’s largest healthcare providers and social institutions, as well as 75 years since HMS Windrush arrived in Britain. ​

We invested in partnerships that brought the public into dialogue around the past, present and future of health and social care.

Dr Kim Moore, writer-in-residence at Manchester Trafford General Hospital supported NHS staff to share their personal stories of working for the NHS in poetry and prose.​

Untold Stories of the NHS, led by Manchester Metropolitan University, produced an exhibition at the Manchester Poetry Library, an anthology of writing and a new play about one nurse’s COVID-19 diary.

100 years of the BBC

From Strictly Come Dancing to Call the Midwife, seven AHRC-funded projects engaged people across the UK in creative projects about the role of the BBC in their lives.

Individuals from marginalised and diverse backgrounds worked with researchers to create inspiring new podcasts, exhibitions, films, music and dance.

XR Stories (an AHRC creative cluster) also explored what the future of broadcast media looks like. Two exhibitions revealed the experiences of young people in Yorkshire around making and consuming media. A conference for policymakers, industry professionals and educators explored the training needed to close the skills gap and equip creatives entering the screen industries.

Read more about AHRC research and engagement with the BBC centenary

Contact us

If you have queries about AHRC’s public engagement support and activities, please contact our public engagement team.

Email: engage@ahrc.ukri.org

Last updated: 13 February 2024

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