Written by Alex Easton
Welcome to the spring 2022 issue of the Institute of Advanced Study’s newsletter, Transformations. Although the impact of COVID was once again felt by everyone at the start of the year, we have continued to support our Fellows in coming to Durham, with four being able to join us in person this term. Those that haven’t been able to join us continue to join our projects and our activities remotely, and we continue to work in a hybrid way which has made our seminars and public lectures accessible to a wider audience. We know COVID has changed all of our ways of life, and for the foreseeable future many will continue to be impacted. For that reason, the IAS is working with other research institutes at Durham to host a series of conversations in the coming months to bring together different disciplinary perspectives to better understand a post-COVID world.
As part of our own adaptation, we continue to innovate and grow the IAS’s activities. This term we have run our first formal call for IAS development projects. It was exciting to see the first applications for this scheme and these development projects will run next year alongside our existing major projects, meaning the IAS programme of activities will be much fuller than usual. In addition, we’ve run a call for the IAS to support postgraduate organised interdisciplinary meetings, workshops and conferences which has been very well received with a number of exciting applications showing, how engaged our early career researchers are in interdisciplinary research.
Furthermore, our major project call is currently open for the academic year 2023/24. Outline applications were very exciting, and we look forward to once again seeing how Durham researchers bring innovative working to big ideas in their final applications. In early April, we will then open the call for Fellowships to be held in 2023/24 – always a busy but exciting time for the IAS, as we deal with enquiries from high profile scholars from around the world.
This term, we’ve also established a new Associate Fellow membership of the IAS. All Durham staff that run projects will from hereon be offered the chance to become Associate Fellows, and have access to IAS facilities and support. We have had a very enthusiastic take up of this new membership status and look forward to continuing to work with everyone as they continue to build upon their IAS projects.
Altogether, we see the next academic year as being a very exciting one. More face-to-face working, engagement with a wider number of staff, more activities within Cosin’s Hall, and a number of research conversations with other Durham institutes. A really exciting time to build on the success of our previous interdisciplinary projects and Fellows.