17 December 2021
The Leverhulme Trust has awarded two Major Research Fellowships, for exploring the Victorian information revolution and the vital role community museums play, to academics at the University of St Andrews.
Dr Karen Brown, of the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews, will receive a grant of £191,125 over three years for a project entitled, ‘Community museums and wellbeing in times of climate change and decolonisation’.
Her research starts from the premise that community museums are uniquely placed to tackle major issues from the grass roots, being located at the front line of urgent global issues such as climate change, decolonisation and wellbeing.
This new project will build upon Dr Brown’s research and fieldwork conducted over the past seven years into community museums in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, interrogating the opportunities presented by these museums for the twenty-first century through the lens of transnational ecological museology.
Dr Brown said: “I am delighted and honoured to receive this wonderful news. I very much look forward to engaging in the joys and challenges of imaginative thinking that has been enabled by Leverhulme awards for almost a century.”
Professor Aileen Fyfe, of the School of History at the University, will receive £123,337 over 24 months to collate her research on ‘The Victorian information revolution’ into a book.
Despite ‘data’ or the ‘information revolution’ seeming a twenty-first century phenomenon as digital technologies enable the gathering, analysis and dissemination of previously unimaginable quantities of data, Professor Fyfe explores the Victorians as information pioneers.
Professor Fyfe said: “The Victorians also thought that they were living through a time of change: statistics were being gathered, information assembled, and new techniques and technologies were being developed to process and publish it all.
“But it was a paper-based revolution. That’s what I will be exploring: how information was gathered, processed and made public in the days of paper technologies.”
Professor Fyfe is delighted the funding will enable her to return to the subject after completing a major project on the history of scientific journal publishing at the Royal Society, 1665 to 2015.
She added: “I’m looking forward to returning to my roots as a historian of nineteenth-century Britain. I’m extremely grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for providing me with the time and peace to write considered prose at length.”
The grants are part of a £4.5m funding announcement from the Leverhulme Trust for research in the humanities and social sciences.
(Report courtesy University of St Andrews)