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Institute of Advanced Study

Transforming The Way We Think

The Institute of Advanced Study is a prestigious, ideas-based Institute bringing together some of the world’s finest researchers from all disciplines to examine themes of major intellectual, scientific, political and practical significance. At least twenty visiting fellows per annum are based in Cosin's Hall, a beautiful 18th Century, Grade 1 listed mansion house, situated on Palace Green (a World Heritage site). They work with Durham scholars to spark new investigations, set tomorrow's agenda and participate in a varied programme of activities.

The Institute also serves as a top-level forum, enabling key-decision makers and experts to discuss pressing policy problems in an intellectually stimulating and unrestricted manner. We put on a wide range of public lectures and other events. There are also opportunities for postgraduates and other early career researchers to get involved.

The IAS aims to build research capacity, realise potential, and meet the challenges of a changing world. There are many ways to participate in the life and work of the institute. We warmly welcome your involvement.


The Institute of Advanced Study welcomes its Michaelmas Term Fellows

The Institute of Advanced Study is delighted to welcome its first cohort of Fellows connected with its 2016/17 Scaleyear. This term’s visiting Fellows include Professor Massimo Leone from the University of Turin whose work deals with visual embodiments of religion and law; historian Professor Ann McGrath from the Australian National University who is Director of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History. Her current work aims to bridge the boundaries between history and archaeology, especially in the telling of Australian history, where she explores the theme of deep time; Dr Julia Prest from the University of St Andrews whose research focus is on the theory, practice and history of all types of theatre, including ballet and opera; narrative theorist Dr Richard Walsh from the University of York who has interests ranging from fictionality (in both literary and non-literary guises) to the nature of narrative cognition as a fundamental of human sense-making; leading historian of science and an Assyriologist Professor John Steele from Brown University who is particularly interested in the history of Babylonian astronomy and its place within Mesopotamian scholarly traditions; philosopher Dr Patrick McGivern from the University of Wollongong. His research is primarily in philosophy of science, with interests in a variety of problems concerning the nature of scientific modeling, reasoning, and explanation; Professor Tim Clark from Durham University, a specialist in the fields of modern literary theory and continental philosophy (especially the work of Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida); Professor Hans Petter Graver from the University of Oslo who research encompasses a broad range of issues within law, sociology of law and legal theory; and Dr Thomas Servais from the University of Lille whose work focusses on the evolution of early ecosystems, marine and terrestrial, during the Early Palaeozoic periods.

(3 Oct 2016) » More about The Institute of Advanced Study welcomes its Michaelmas Term Fellows

Special Issue of Romanticism on the theme of Light

A special issue of the distinguished journal Romanticism has just been published on the theme of ‘Light’. Guest edited by Durham's Dr Sarah Wootton, contributions within this edition were developed out of an IAS sponsored symposium, Light and the Poetics of Ambivalence, organised by Dr Wootton, Professor Michael O’Neill, and Dr Mark Sandy. Inspired by the IAS's theme of Light the symposium focussed on imaginative representations of light in English literature, c. 1790-1950.

(22 Sep 2016)

IAS's Professor Nick Saul wins English Goethe Society award

Professor Nick Saul, IAS Director for Arts and Humanities, has been awarded the English Goethe Society’s 2016 PEGS Prize for an outstanding article published in the journal in the previous year: 'Vorgänger Darwins' or 'Nachfolger Goethes'? Wilhelm Bölsche on Evolutionism in Goethe and Novalis or, Literature and the Two Cultures, Then and Now. Publications of the English Goethe Society, 84/1: 76-91.

Many congratulations to Nick.


(19 Sep 2016)

Visiting IAS Fellow Professor Ann McGrath wins prestigious book award

Forthcoming IAS Fellow and historian, Professor Ann McGrath from the Australian National University has won a prestigious NSW Premiers General History Award for her book, Illicit Love: Sex and Marriage in the United States and Australia (University of Nebraska Press)

Published at the end of 2015 her book is a history of love, sex, and marriage between Indigenous peoples and settler citizens at the heart of two settler colonial nations, the United States and Australia. She illuminates interracial relationships from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century through stories of romance, courtship, and marriage between Indigenous peoples and colonizers in times of nation formation.

Professor McGrath is a visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study from October - December 2016. During her time at the IAS she will deliver a public lecture which is open to members of the public as well as the Durham academic and student communities: The Temporality of the Deep Human Past , 17th November, 5.30pm (Sir James Knott Hall, Trevelyan College).

(8 Sep 2016)

IAS Conference Review

The IAS’s Decennial conference (July 12th-14th) brought former Fellows and other international visitors to Durham to build on ideas emerging during a year on the theme of Evidence. The first keynote, by Monica Grady, looked outwards into the cosmos for extra-terrestrial life, and concluded that there was no definitive evidence demonstrating its existence. However, she left the door open to finding such evidence, so it may still be that the proof is out there. Penny Harvey’s keynote was more down to earth, and focused on concrete evidence of material vitality through and exploration of… concrete. Panels and roundtables ranged across topics as diverse as evidence for the efficacy of psychotherapeutic analysis; the evidence of sentience in non-human beings and its implications for their use in scientific experiments; the intangible evidence of intangible heritage; and the ways in .which IASs can foster the bringing of evidence together in interdisciplinary collaborations. Details of the panels are available here.

Delegates greatly appreciated the warm welcome from the Vice Chancellor at the conference dinner, which was followed by a definitively uproarious game of Durham Bluff, in which, for the first time in a while, the Home Team managed to beat the Visitors with some exemplary mendacity.

A grande finale to the conference was provided by a public debate, in which lively argumentation swayed a preliminary ‘for’ vote towards a narrow defeat of a provocative motion proposing that this House Believes it is Possible to Apply Universal Standards of Evidence.

Filmmaker Oliver Stone with Dr Ivana Petrovic and Professor Veronica Strang at the Institute of Advanced Study

Interview with Oliver Stone

Interview with Oliver Stone

Views: 454

Short interview clip of Oliver Stone with Professor Veronica Strang.

Academic research goes to Hollywood

On March 10th, leading filmmaker Oliver Stone visited Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study to meet with classicist Dr Ivana Petrovic, whose research, engaging with his depiction of Alexander the Great, was included in his DVD Alexander The Ultimate Cut, released in 2014. He described how he first discovered her work in the debates that followed the release of the first version of Alexander:

For full details of Oliver Stone's visit to Durham including full video coverage of the discussion then please click here.

“Lies, Damned Lies and …”: Is There Such a Thing as Reliable Evidence? Annual IAS London Event 2016
“Lies, Damned Lies and …”: Is There Such a Thing as Reliable Evidence? Annual IAS London Event 2016
Views: 124

King Hussein Memorial Lecture 2016
King Hussein Memorial Lecture 2016
Views: 59

‘Finding Common Ground: Negotiating Across Cultures on Peace and Security Issues’ - the annual King Hussein Memorial Lecture in Cultural Dialogue 2016 given by Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC FASSA FAIIA.

Monday 24 October 2016

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Monday 31 October 2016

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Contact Details

Institute of Advanced Study
Durham University
Cosin's Hall
Palace Green
Telephone: +44 (0)191 334 2589

Transforming The Way We Think

Transforming the Way We Think is the Institute of Advanced Study's celebrationary book and its decade of interdisciplinarity. Download here.

To request a hard copy of the book please complete this online order form.

2016-17 Annual Programme: Scale

In addition to this programme of events please review the comprehensive Events Calendar for all current details. Additional events may be added during the course of the year.

Contact: if you have any questions. 


VENUE Change:
Temporal and Spatial Scales: Scale in Ecological Systems, Past and Present seminar
22nd February 2017 (Professor Chris Thomas - University of York), 12:00 to 14:00
Will now be held in the Turner Room Van Mildert College and not St Mary's College as previously indicated (Professor Chris Thomas - University of York)

VENUE Change:
IAS Fellow's Public Lecture
Professor Hans Petter Graver - 8 November, 5.30pm
Will be held at St Mary's College and not Van Mildert as indicated in the IAS Programme see here for full details

Navigating Interdisciplinarity Publication - Revised 2015

'Navigating Interdisciplinarity' is an IAS workshop designed to facilitate research collaboration across disciplines. To assist others embarking upon interdisciplinary research we are making this publication freely available. We ask only that you cite the IAS/Durham as the source. Please download here.