Every university I know talks about interdisciplinarity, every university wants to do it, but most places and institutions I have seen are not quite sure either what it means or how it can be achieved. IAS and Durham University have found a way. I am truly inspired by the experience and I have brought home with me a firm conviction that interdisciplinarity is more than a buzzword.
Professor Barbara Dancygier, University of British Columbia
My experience could not have been better! Of the five or six major visitorships I've held since the 1990s this has been by far the best supported and the most productive (January, 2013)Professor Alison Wylie, University of Washington, Seattle
The IAS is one of only a handful of comparable institutions globally that promotes dialogue across all the disciplines: the Sciences, Social Sciences, the Arts and Humanities. Durham University is well positioned to boast research excellence in subject areas across this disciplinary spectrum, and the IAS builds on these strengths to harness the energy and insight that working across boundaries – disciplinary, professional, and spatial – can release.
The Institute’s approach is distinctive: it fosters engagement in research organised around broad annual themes of major academic, public and policy significance. The themes have broad interdisciplinary appeal; they lie at the cutting edge of research; they are complex, sometimes controversial, and they require attention from multiple disciplinary and cultural perspectives. Typically each is the centre of attention for one academic year, enabling an intense short-term focus on urgent issues, while also providing a platform for longer-term research and creative development. Each theme is interpreted in its broadest sense, scientifically, symbolically, legally, philosophically, artistically, politically, economically and sociologically.
This allows the IAS to gather together the world's finest scholars and non-academics (e.g. intellectuals, artists, writers, journalists, policy makers, and politicians) from the full spectrum of science, social science, arts and humanities disciplines to address themes of global significance. The IAS seeks to develop a truly global perspective by ensuring that its fellows are recruited from all over the world, including the global south.
The IAS Fellowship annually recruits two cohorts of up to ten world-class individuals to spend three months at the IAS. During their stay, Fellows advance their own research, engage with departments and colleges, deliver public lectures and seminars, and, above all, join an international community of researchers to address our theme selected for that year. They are invited to contribute to a rich programme of activities organised by colleagues at Durham to address different aspects of the annual theme, and they leave the IAS with an ideas-based publication for our web based series ‘Insights’, which is based on new thinking and dialogue developed during their time at the Institute. Most fellows contribute to the Institute’s annual theme, which is normally publicised a year in advance. An IAS fellowship provides the holder with the space and time to develop their research and ideas in a thriving community of scholars of national and international standing. Fellows engage and forge strong links with at least one department at Durham, and are given the opportunity to deliver papers at events organised to coincide with the annual theme.
Details of current and former fellows can be found by following the links to the left of this page.