SENIOR ACADEMICS THREATEN RESIGNATIONS OVER BIG SOCIETY
Senior academics have declared their intention to resign from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College if there are no clear steps taken to remove the “Big Society” from the AHRC’s delivery plan by Monday, 27th June 2011. The academics include many of the most senior and well respected figures in leading university departments. Further resignations from the AHRC Peer Review College may follow their lead. This will not be done lightly: the Peer Review College provides invaluable assistance in vetting research proposals submitted to the AHRC.
The AHRC delivery plan outlines the research council’s strategic priorities. The plan states that it aspires to make a “contribution” to the “Big Society” agenda (sects. 3.10, 3.12). One research programme (“Connected Communities”) will “enable the AHRC to contribute to the government’s initiatives on localism and the ‘Big Society’” (sect. 2.4.4).
The inclusion of the “Big Society” in the AHRC delivery plan has proved highly controversial. Petitions calling for the removal of the “Big Society” from the AHRC delivery plan have attracted signatures from nearly 4,000 academics. There have been several letters and opinion essays published in national and international news media. This position has won the support of more than 30 learned societies. This widespread and unprecedented public support crosses disciplinary and political divisions. The AHRC has refused to remove the “Big Society” from the delivery plan. Senior academics now call on the AHRC to change the delivery plan or they will lead a mass exodus.
“This is a position of principle, not politics: political campaign slogans have no place in research council delivery plans. Period,” says Dr Thom Brooks, an academic at Newcastle University who has led this important campaign for change. “We call on the AHRC to agree the removal of the ‘Big Society’ from its delivery plan without further delay to avoid the need for resignations.”
Notes for Editors:
• More than 40 leading academics threatening en masse resignations.
• The campaign to remove the “Big Society” from the AHRC delivery plan has attracted unprecedented widespread support from across disciplinary and political divisions.
• More than 4,000 academics have signed public statements calling on the AHRC to make this change. This statement is endorsed by 30+ learned societies.
Name: Dr Thom Brooks
Tel: (0191) 222 5288
We are Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College members. We intend to resign from the AHRC Peer Review College if there are no clear steps taken to remove the “Big Society” from the AHRC delivery plan. Our stand is personal as members of the academic community and it does not represent our home institutions.
Professor Grenville G. Astill, Professor of Archaeology, University of Reading
Professor Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford
Professor Stephen Bottoms, Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies, University of Leeds
Professor Emma Borg, Professor of Philosophy, University of Reading
Dr Thom Brooks, Reader in Political and Legal Philosophy, Newcastle University
The Revd Professor Mark D. Chapman, Vice Principal, Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford
Professor Sarah Colvin, Professor in the Study of Contemporary Germany, University of Birmingham
Dr Peter M. Day, Reader in Archaeological Materials, University of Sheffield
Professor Antony Duff FBA FRSE, Professor of Philosophy, University of Stirling
Professor Steven French, Professor of Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds
Professor David Gillespie, Professor of Russian, University of Bath
Professor Leslie Green, Professor of the Philosophy of Law, University of Oxford
Professor Valerie A. Hall FSA FHEA, Professor Emerita of Palaeoecology, Queen’s University Belfast
Professor Paul L. Halstead, Professor of Archaeology, University of Sheffield
Professor John Harrington, Professor of Law, University of Liverpool
Professor Matti Häyry, Professor of Bioethics and Philosophy of Law, University of Manchester
Professor Nicholas Hewlett, Professor of French Studies, University of Warwick
Professor Maggie Humm, Professor in Humanities, University of East London
Professor Mark Humphries, Professor of Ancient History, Swansea University
Professor Dina Iordanaova, Director of Centre for Film Studies, University of St Andrews
Professor Glynis Jones, Professor of Archaeology, University of Sheffield
Professor Debra Kelly, Professor of French and Francophone Literary and Cultural Studies, University of WestminsterDr Elizabeth Eva Leach, University Lecturer in Music, University of Oxford
Professor Karen Leeder, Professor of Modern German Literature, University of Oxford
Professor Alison MacLeod, Professor of Contemporary Fiction, University of Chichester
Professor Alexander Miller, Professor of Philosophy, University of Birmingham
Professor Anthony Milton, Professor of History, University of Sheffield
Dr Catherine Moriarty, Principal Research Fellow, University of Brighton
Professor Rosalind O’Hanlon, Professor of Indian History and Culture, University of Oxford
Professor David Owen, Professor of Social and Political Philosophy, University of Southampton
Dr Stephen Parkinson, Lecturer in Portuguese Langage and Linguistics, University of Oxford
Dr Paul B. Pettitt FSA, Reader in Palaeolithic Archaeology, University of Sheffield
Professor Julian Preece, Professor of German, Swansea University
Professor Ritchie Robertson FBA, Taylor Professor of German, University of Oxford
Professor Irit Rogoff, Professor of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London
Professor Karen Ross, Professor of Media and Public Communication, University of Liverpool
Professor Sean Sayers, Professor of Philosophy, University of Kent, Canterbury
Professor Ricarda Schmidt, Professor in German, University of Exeter
Professor Patrick Stevenson, Professor of German and Linguistic Studies, University of Southampton
Professor Robert Villain, Professor of German, University of Bristol
Professor David Walker, Professor of French, University of Sheffield
Professor Paul Williams, Professor of Indian and Tibetan Philosophy, University of Bristol
Professor Ian Wood, Professor of Early Medieval History, University of Leeds
AHRC Peer Review College members who have resigned already on this issue:
Professor Bob Brecher, Professor of Ethics, University of Brighton
Professor M. M. Lisboa, Professor of Portuguese Literature and Culture, University of Cambridge
UPDATE: Names have been added to original list.