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Institute of Advanced Study

A Tale of Two Letters: Reflections on Knowledge Conversions

Abstract

This paper reflects on certain current trends in UK Higher Education. A letter from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) stimulates a quizzical look at three of the academic's many personae, those of collaborator, owner and mediator. They point to the highly significant role accorded the conversion of academic knowledge (e.g. into useful communications).  Questions about convertibility are further prompted by a letter with which the paper opens, an address from the field to the anthropologist that, like the one from the AHRC, speaks to the academic's responsibility to effect a conversion of sorts. At the same time, its divergent voice introduces some critical positions on current trends.

Insights Paper