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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.


Uterine Dreams © Sarah Danays, 2020

IAS Public Lecture - Apollo Lies Weeping: on the Broken Dreams of Gods and Infidels

25th November 2020, 17:30 to 18:30, Virtual - via Zoom, Sarah Danays, Independent Sculptor and Photographer

Public Lecture by Sarah Danays, Independent Sculptor and Photographer.

Sarah Danays’ photography and sculpture draw upon her experiences as a woman. She is unapologetic about blending autobiography and research in her talks and her writing.
She undertakes such blending in her studio practice, where hand-carved stone interventions meld with old, fragmented and broken objects. These sought-out antiques, created centuries earlier by anonymous sculptors – her dead collaborators – are the key components in a process she describes as “metaphysical surgery”.
In the Greek “meta” means beyond, while “physical” refers to the natural world. Danays’
lecture will further explore what is beyond everyday experience or knowledge as she draws on classical mythology to inform her IAS Fellowship and the related exhibition “Uterine Dreams”, in addressing love and violence, pregnancy and loss, divorce and grief.
Using her “meta-mythological” lens she will weave the stories of Aeneas’s journey into the Underworld to gain the counsel of his father; and the birth of Asclepius, ripped from his unfaithful, dead mother’s womb by Apollo, with the narrative of her own journey – and those of her broken objects – towards wholeness.
Her lecture will unravel the process and meaning behind her “metaphysical surgery” as she shares the ancient and contemporary roles that dreams and dreaming can play in the healing of troubled hearts and minds.

This lecture is free and open to all.

Image: 'Uterine Dreams' © Sarah Danays, 2020


Details about Sarah Danays.

The Lecture will take place on Zoom. To register please click here.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk 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.