AHRC’s theory of change

Arts and humanities research has immense potential to shape how we think and live our lives. This research is vital for government, business and society in tackling today’s challenges. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is uniquely placed to convene ideas and people.

AHRC’s theory of change is an important new key component of AHRC’s strategy. It describes how we intend to deliver on our vision, through several activity themes, to address challenges facing the arts and humanities and society at large.

Transforming our organisation

We will transform our organisation by listening, learning, acting with care, and empowering people. This will lead to:

  • open, two-way dialogue
  • inclusivity and empowering people

So that:

  • our efficiency, transparency and openness drive success in research and innovation
  • our organisational model sets new standards within and beyond research and innovation

Discovering ourselves

We will be open and willing to do things differently to support the best ideas. This will lead to:

  • benefits for new and different people
  • new and wider funding and funders

So that:

  • research and innovation underpins health, happiness and wellbeing
  • our people and ideas are diverse, mobile and thriving within and beyond the research and innovation ecosystem

Contemporary challenges

We will foster ethical, socially responsible, equitable partnerships. This will lead to:

  • bridges between research and civil society
  • public policy relevance

So that:

  • culture and people are at the heart of overcoming challenges
  • our responses to contemporary challenges are creative, equitable and rooted in community

Cultural assets

We will create an environment where cultural assets can be better conserved, curated and deployed. This will lead to:

  • research playing a key role in collections
  • cohesive and coherent infrastructure

So that:

  • cultural assets are preserved and enhanced
  • cultural assets enable the pursuit of knowledge and happier, healthier lives

Creative economy

We will broaden our partnerships to embed world-class research and innovation. This will lead to:

  • greater sustainability and inclusivity
  • thought leadership and advocacy

So that:

  • the creative economy is thriving and inclusive
  • the UK is a hub for creative innovation and global creative talent

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

We will take positive action to address EDI. This will lead to:

  • the conditions for improved EDI
  • convening knowledge and learning in EDI

So that:

  • our future is unlocked by diverse voices, including those that have previously been overlooked
  • research and innovation is diverse and inclusive


The activity themes will improve our world through:

  • a healthy society
  • prosperous economies
  • open civil discourse
  • a rich cultural landscape
  • a thriving environment for ideas

Last updated: 14 December 2022

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