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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Welcome to the

Transforming The Way We Think

The Institute of Advanced Study is a prestigious, ideas-based Institute with global reach. We bring together world-leading researchers from all disciplines to work with Durham colleagues on collaborative projects of major intellectual, scientific, political and practical significance. At least twenty visiting IAS Fellows join us in Durham each year to work with Durham scholars to spark new investigations, set tomorrow's agenda and participate in a varied programme of activities.

Each year, the IAS supports four ambitious interdisciplinary projects tackling major research questions. Leading researchers from around the globe join Durham colleagues in collaborative teams to develop ground-breaking ideas, explore interdisciplinary synergies and develop new programmes of research.

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.

IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - The most beautiful book in Scotland: Regime Change, Reformation and Rebellion on Parchment

19th February 2020, 17:30 to 18:30, Grey College, Professor Wilson Poon (University of Edinburgh)


The collection of medieval manuscripts in Edinburgh University Library includes a 15th century book of hours (or ‘primer’) produced in the south of England ca. 1430 (listed as MS 39 in the catalogue). The early-20th century pioneering codicologist Catherine Borland, who catalogued all the western medieval manuscripts not only in EUL but also in the National Library of Scotland, opined that this was ‘perhaps the most beautiful book in Scotland’. Yet the manuscript, which was owned exclusively by prosperous medieval grocers for at least one whole century of its early existence, has remained little studied. Professor Poon gives a brief description of the sumptuous manuscript, and will then show how three iconic moments of British history have been ‘fossilised’ into its pages by marginalia and other material traces left by successive owners: the ousting of the Lancastrian Henry VI by the Yorkist Edward IV, the attempt by Henry VIII to erase Thomas Beckett from the English religious memory, and the only military victory scored by the Scottish Covenanters against Charles II's Royal forces. Professor Poon will end by speculating on a possible link between this manuscript and the first great English composer of polyphonic church music, John Dunstaple (or Dunstable).

This lecture is free and open to all.

Details about Professor Wilson Poon

Directions to Grey College

MapGrey College is denoted as building No. 8

Contact for more information about this event.

IAS Contribution to the evaluation of interdisciplinary research in the REF

For a number of years the IAS has been closely involved in the development of methods of evaluating interdisciplinary research, working collaboratively with UK funding bodies/the REF. Its Executive Director, Professor Veronica Strang, is a member of the UKRI Interdisciplinary Advisory Panel, which is guiding this aspect of the REF process, and a regular speaker at the Annual REF Forum and related events. Her report Evaluating Interdisciplinary Research: a practical guide (Strang and McLeish 2015), written in consultation with a range of funding bodies, has been taken up widely, nationally and internationally. With the REF submission date coming up soon, colleagues who are considering interdisciplinary outputs for submission, or who will be involved in evaluating such research for REF sub-panels, may find this publication helpful.