In May 2022 two new research projects were awarded Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding to explore key DCMS policy areas. This will fund two academics, through a short term funded research opportunity called a fellowship. The research fellowships have been established as part of DCMS’ Chief Scientific Advisor Office’s aim to build stronger links between academia and government in using evidence to inform government policy. Both academics will work with policy officials and conduct research, leading to outputs including academic papers, presentations and blogs.
Dr. Susan Oman is joining the Cultural Diplomacy team in Arts, Heritage and Tourism, to explore digital culture in and beyond the pandemic, and links to engaging international audiences. Susan has worked across commercial, community and university partnership areas of the cultural sector. Her interest in social impact led her to a Masters in Cultural Policy and her PhD investigated how we might better understand cultural participation using national well-being data. Following her PhD she held a fellowship with Arts Council England to recommend improvements to diversity and data in the arts and is now a Lecturer in Data, AI and Society at the University of Sheffield.
Dr. Sofya Shahab is joining the Cultural Heritage Protection team in Arts, Heritage and Tourism, to explore the ways in which DCMS and British Council projects focusing on international cultural heritage contribute to human rights.
Sofya is a Social Anthropologist based in the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. Her research is driven by feminist approaches and a desire to understand the lived experiences of conflict, migration and oppression. This has led to a focus on the ways in which marginalised peoples in fragile and conflict affected contexts navigate their daily lives. She has expertise in using various research methods to evidence different forms of violence and affect, and how these are encountered through embodied processes, to further understandings of how these may be mobilised at the local level as part of political strategies for power, populism and peace. Her most recent body of research explores community-based responses to heritage destruction among ethno-religious minority groups in Iraq and Syria.
“DCMS intends to continue to promote R&D in the creative and cultural sectors. Today’s announcement, enabled by AHRC grant funding, builds on the research recommendations proposed in
our Boundless Creativity Report. I am very pleased that we have been able to appoint Dr. Susan Oman and Dr. Sofya Shahab to begin new work, based here at DCMS, to benefit the culture and heritage sectors.”
– Lord Neil Mendoza, Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal