What do UK Policymakers want from the humanities and what can humanities researchers offer?

humanities and policy workshop new

What do UK policymakers want from humanities and what can humanities researchers offer?


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How do UK policymakers engage with humanities research and researchers? What evidence needs do they have that are relevant to the humanities and how do they communicate them? What current efforts or future opportunities are there to strengthen engagement between UK policymakers and humanities researchers?

With the support of the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN) and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), the Oxford Policy Engagement Network (OPEN) is hosting a seminar that brings together UK policymakers from parliament and central government to explore these questions with humanities researchers. This seminar is for you if you would like to understand better:

  • how humanities research contributes to the design or scrutiny of UK public policy,
  • how your own research could be relevant to current and anticipated needs of UK policymakers, as well as,


The event will be chaired by Dame Helen Ghosh. Helen read Modern History at St Hugh's College, Oxford, and completed her MLitt on the cultural history of sixth-century Italy. She joined the Civil service in 1979, where she worked for 33 years in a variety of government departments. From 2005 to 2010, Helen was Permanent Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and from 2010, Permanent Secretary at the Home Office. She left the Civil Service in 2012 to become Director General of the National Trust, which combined her interests in history and the environment. Helen took up her role as Master of Balliol in April 2018. She is a member of the Royal Society's Emerging Technologies Advisory Group, a Visitor/Trustee of the Ashmolean Museum and a Trustee of the Rhodes Trust. Helen will welcome speakers including:


  • Melike Berker, Business Manager to the Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Culture, Media and Sport
  • Edward Hicks, Committee Specialist, House of Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee
  • Alasdair Love, Clerk, House of Lords Communications and Digital Select Committee
  • Stefano Pozzi, Assistant Director, Department for Education, EBacc and Arts Unit
  • Matthew Flinders, Chair of UPEN and Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield

This seminar casts a spotlight on engagement between the humanities and public policy. It has been designed to complement some of the related training that others regularly provide. This includes the work of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Institute for Government, the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology and the Knowledge Exchange Unit, the Cabinet Office Open Innovation Team, the Government Office for Science, and UPEN along with its member universities.



If you have any questions please contact Jessie Simkiss, Humanities and Public Policy Officer, University of Oxford: jessica.simkiss@theology.ox.ac.uk

The  recording of the event will be shared on the TORCH website.



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