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We are an association of learned societies that work together to promote the interests of the arts and humanities, particularly with respect to higher education and research policies within the UK​.

The AHA Co-Chairs for 2022-2025 are:

Professor Emma Cayley of the

Professor Thea Pitman of the 

The figure of Chak Mo'ol in the Maya Hall of the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Ph

About

Mission

The Arts and Humanities Alliance is a UK organisation that represents the broad span of Arts and Humanities subject associations and learned societies. The AHA exists to facilitate the exchange of views between subject associations and provide a coordinated voice with which to articulate the collective values and concerns of our disciplines to policy makers and public bodies. AHA currently represents nearly 50 associations with a combined membership of more than 20,000.

History

The Alliance was initially formed as the Arts and Humanities User Group (A-HUG) in 2008. It first emerged out of a joint intervention by the Council of University Classical Departments, the British Philosophical Association and the Society of Legal Scholars, when they voiced their collective concerns to the AHRC about the European Science Foundation’s European Research Index in the Humanities (ERIH). In its first years A-HUG’s role was principally to co-ordinate subject association meetings with one another and with the AHRC. Working across a range of subject associations we successfully encouraged the AHRC to withdraw from involvement with ERIH.

Our Work

Over time, we have addressed concerns such as: changes in RCUK and AHRC funding policies, REF and impact, open access, recruitment trends, graduate funding, and the status of British International Research Institutes. In 2016, the Alliance submitted a response to the Green Paper on Higher Education entitled 'Fulfilling our Potential'. It is currently represented on the UUK Open Access Monographs Subgroup and is centrally involved in the British Academy Flagship Skills Project. In all these areas AHA articulates and defends the specific needs and practices of the arts and humanities.

Past Chairs

  • Susan Bruce, University English and Martin Halliwell, English Association (2016-2022)

  • Peter Mandler, Royal Historical Society (2012-2016)

  • Robin Osborne, Council of University Classical Departments (2008-2012)

Library, Trinity College Dublin. Photograph by Alex Block (@alexblock - Instagram)

AFFILIATES

If you represent a learned society that is not yet a member, please contact t.pitman@leeds.ac.uk to join. Membership is free. We hold one meeting per semester, run events and campaigns, and coordinate action via a jiscmail list and a WhatsApp group. You can also follow us on Twitter @ArtsandHums.

Image of an audience in profile facing stage. Taken in Los Angles by Edwin Andrade.

Activities

AHA News

 

  • Listen to the BBC Radio 4 Front Row programme with Samira Ahmed on 17 April 2024 for an interview with Professors Jo Cox (Dean of the School of Advanced Study, University of London) and Anna Vignoles (Director of the Leverhulme Trust) discussing the current situation where cuts are being made to arts and humanities courses at 50 institutions in the UK. AHA's Emma Cayley and others fed into the fact-finding work behind the programme.

  • Our most recent affiliates' meetings, specifically focusing on plans to develop positive narratives around the arts and humanities at national level, were held online, 19:00-10:00 and 16:00-17:00, 19 March 2024. The date of our next meeting will be in Summer 2024 (tbc).

  • Read our recent letter to the University of Kent on their planned cuts to a wide range of Arts and Humanities disciplines including Music and Audio Technology, Art History, and the entire School of Cultures and Languages (English Language and Linguistics, Comparative Literature, Philosophy, Philosophy, Religion and Ethics, Modern Languages).

  • Read our statement on Oxford Brookes University's cuts to English, History, Film and the closure of Music and our letter to the University of Aberdeen on their review and potential closure of Modern Languages degree programmes.

  • We are committed to drafting a Constitution for the AHA by Summer 2024.

AHA Statements & Correspondence

Excavation of Çatalhöyük - a large Neolithic proto-city settlement in southern Anatolia. P

Resources

Showcasing Positive Narratives 

  • The Association for Art History runs an annual Art History Festival for the public which celebrates and explores the histories of art, design and architecture showing how these subjects help us to better understand the world around us. See their report of the hugely successful 2023 event for more details. 

  • University English runs the #Englishcreates campaign to champion, defend and expand access to the study of literature in English (in all its forms, regionalities and nationalities), particularly for year 12 and 13 students wanting to study English at university. It is particularly attuned to reaching its target audience via social media.

  • The English Association also runs the 'Skills for the Future of English' project to provide information that teachers of English at all levels can use to articulate the value of the study of English to their students and create programmes of study that embed skills that help students thrive in the age of AI.

Toolkits

Other Resources

Other Institutions

  • NEW ORGANISATION: The Wales Arts and Humanities Alliance (WAHA) was set up in July 2023, bringing together Wales's nine universities to drive collaboration and advance arts and humanities research and innovation in the country. 

  • The Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance (SAHA) is a joint initiative of Scottish Higher Education institutions, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities. Established in 2019, it aims to give a public and collective voice to the Arts and Humanities in the context of Higher Education in Scotland,  promoting more widely the contribution of arts and humanities disciplines to positive change in society, to economic progress and to cultural understanding. ​​

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Contact

The co-chairs of the AHA for 2022-25 are

Professor Emma Cayley
(University Council For Languages)
e.cayley@leeds.ac.uk

Professor Thea Pitman
(Standing Conference of Latin American Studies)
t.pitman@leeds.ac.uk

Follow us on X @ArtsandHums

Slate It. Photograph by Jakob Owen (@jakobowens - Instagram)
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