The Humanities in the UK Today: What’s Going On?
17 February 2023
This paper sets a context for policymaking that recognises the reality of the enduring importance of the Humanities in the UK as well as the significant challenges within the sector, and lays the foundation for policy that recognises the distinctive opportunities the Humanities give the UK for its contributions to the twenty-first century. [...] 6 The Humanities in the UK Today: What’s Going On? The key questions for this report, however, are: • What continues to make the Humanities so meaningful in the UK today? • What is the state of the field in modern Britain? • What further support is needed from policymakers? The quality of UK Humanities research The UK research base produces 9.9% of the total downloads of academic papers, published. [...] This has altered the way Arts and Humanities are taught and represented, often linking them to Natural Sciences and other STEM disciplines.13 The growth of programmes across the sector in a short space of time has been impressive, 10 The Humanities in the UK Today: What’s Going On? considering the impact of the recent demographic dip and the uncertainties brought by the pandemic. [...] Similarly, at the University of Leicester, Heritage Studies scholar Corinne Fowler’s influential work with the 12 The Humanities in the UK Today: What’s Going On? National Trust, teachers and schoolchildren has sought to increase our knowledge and understanding of the Trust’s holdings in the context of empire.16 What is less well recognised is how wide the range and impact of these disciplines is. [...] They have supported cultures and communities to withstand the pressures of lockdown, helped society to make sense of and narrate the experience of the pandemic (and to memorialise the losses that many have experienced), explained the benefits of vaccination and, crucially, begun to shape the process of recovery.17 The Humanities have been tackling these challenges at the same time as Medicine has.