Welcome from the Director

Jan 23, 2023 | IAS Director, IAS News, Transformations (Issue 8)

Welcome to another edition of the Institute of Advanced Study’s newsletter, Transformations. We have had an extremely busy Michaelmas term, with our first all in-person Fellowship since COVID. Cosin’s Hall was once again full of workshops, seminars, and regular discussion, which was wonderful to see. Alongside our Fellowships and major projects, this has also been the first term of our new Development Projects, looking to grow ideas for future work in the IAS. Workshops for these projects were extremely well attended, and we look forward to seeing these ideas grow and develop over the next year or two.

We have also spent much time this term doing more to showcase the fantastic work that originates within the IAS. At the start of term, we had the first of what will be a twice yearly showcase where last year’s Michaelmas term projects are discussed in terms of what they had achieved, in an informal drinks and discussion session. We will be shortly inviting Heads of Department and Directors of Research to join us for a similar session to coincide with the launch of this year’s call for major projects. Alongside new posters for all of our projects, an investment in graphics to convey our project ideas and outcomes more clearly (including on our website), and a renewed push by all the co-directors to engage across all four of Durham’s faculties, we are bringing the incredible projects that happen within the IAS, to more people’s attention.

We are also now turning our focus towards growing our international reach. Whilst our Fellowship is very successful and attracts outstanding researchers from all over the globe, we are working closely with the International Office and engaging more with Durham’s international partnerships to ensure our calls are heard in more and more universities in a wider range of countries and areas. As part of this push, we are also working to develop closer links with a number of specific international partners. One of our co-directors, Nayanika Mookherjee, has led the development of a new Memorandum of Understanding between Durham and the Indian Institute of Technology Chennai (IITC) with the IAS at its heart and I will follow up our growing links with a visit to IITC in the spring. I was also honoured to give a talk on the Future of IASs in a Global World at Tübingen’s new College of Fellows, and look forward to these activities being the start of a renewed push for solid international partnerships with the IAS.

Finally, this term a huge thank you to all my colleagues in the IAS. As we have spent the term preparing for a strategic review of our direction and aims, I have valued all the support, and opinions. We have, I believe, a clear and exciting future planned for the IAS. However, the thing I am most pleased about is that in our discussions about the future strategy for the IAS, as a group we constantly returned to one key concept: the IAS as a home for ideas to grow. This concept of a home is a critical one for me. Homes should be a place where a family (our IAS community) feel safe to share ideas, offer opinions without prejudice, and where every diverse voice and opinion is heard and which we attempt to take on board. I hope our home allows just that for all those that bring their research here.





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