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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  March 2011

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING March 2011

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Subject:

The AHRC ordered to research "big society"

From:

Honor Harger <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Honor Harger <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 27 Mar 2011 12:47:22 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (104 lines)

Hi all,

I don't want to derail the current discussion, 
but today's news about the new priorities the UK 
Government have set the Arts and Humanities 
Research Council (AHRC) - who distribute research 
funding within UK Universities -  does seem 
rather pertinent to many on the list.

For those of you who haven't heard, the AHRC have 
been asked to commit substantial research funds 
into studying the Conservative-Liberal-Democrat 
Government's flagship policy idea, "The Big 
Society", in exchange for the ring-fencing of the 
AHRC budget.

The Observer report on this story here: http://v.gd/haldane

"The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
will spend a "significant" amount of its funding 
on the prime minister's vision for the country, 
after a government "clarification" of the Haldane 
principle - a convention that for 90 years has 
protected the right of academics to decide where 
research funds should be spent. Under the revised 
principle, research bodies must work to the 
government's national objectives [...] It is 
claimed the AHRC was told that research into the 
"big society" was non-negotiable if it wished to 
maintain its funding at 100m a year."

The erosion of the Haldane principle has stark 
implications for everyone who is involved in, or 
effected by, University research. If the Observer 
report is accurate, this is, in my view, 
transparently chilling, and it is no surprise 
that several commentators, and academics, have 
started darkly murmuring:

"Who controls the past", ran the Party slogan, 
"controls the future: who controls the present 
controls the past."

As many of you are in academia in the UK, and 
some of you are in receipt of AHRC funding, I 
wonder what your reaction to this is?  Have your 
universities informed you of this news?  Have 
their been any internal briefings?

I'd be very curios to know.

With all best wishes,

Honor Harger

PS.  On a lighter note, there's some lovely, 
playful deconstructions of this very disturbing 
development, on Twitter right now. For those of 
you who have Twitter accounts, you might be 
interested in following this hashtag:
#bigsocietyresearchproposals

Here's some of the recent gems:

'"A depraved taste for equality", de Tocqueville 
and the founding principles of the Big Society'

"Big Society of the Spectacle: Guy Debord's 
influence on policymakers, politicians, and the 
public."

"The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe: The 
Tragedy of Uncontrolled Immigration in Fantasy 
Fiction

"The Notorious B.I.G. Society: the influence of 
East Coast hip-hop culture on Conservative policy 
(1992-2011)"
-- 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

honor harger

present location: brighton, .uk

email: [log in to unmask]
sms: +44 7765834272


-> w o r k
director of lighthouse: http://www.lighthouse.org.uk

-> b l o g
particle decelerator: http://decelerator.blogspot.com/

- > b l a g
twitter: http://twitter.com/honorharger

-> l i s t e n
radio astronomy: http://www.radio-astronomy.net

-> w e b
bio: http://www.radioqualia.net/honor

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