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Institute of Advanced Study

Postgraduate Participation

One of the core aims of the Institute of Advanced Study is to encourage Durham's research postgraduate community to engage with the work sponsored by the IAS. The Institute provides research postgraduates with a unique opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with some of the most distinguished scholars from across the world and to access to a wide range of events that allows them to examine for themselves the benefits and challenges of interdisciplinary research. Postgraduates are encouraged to attend the extensive programme of IAS Fellows' seminars and Fellows' lectures. Lectures are open to all and there is no need to book a place; however capacity at IAS Seminars is limited and places must be book in advance (contact the IAS Secretary at

Encouraging postgraduate involvement in the Institute's annual theme is a major ambition of the IAS. The Institute has established a small fund to support research postgraduates organising events of a multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary nature (see IAS Research Postgraduate Fund and application proforma below). A call funding applications will be made in 2016/17 (in early September 2016) for funding applications for activities during the 2016/17 year.

In addition, each year the IAS organises events focussed on academic publishing for PGRs. This has taken the format of either a lecture or specific bespoke workshop focusing on either monograph or journal article publication and is aimed at postgraduates making the transition between a thesis and a publication, considering for example the factors involved in the decision between book and article publication, reviewing and understanding the pressures of supply and demand, together with changes in the economy of print publishing and developments in digital publishing and the changing the academic publishing landscape.

The IAS's theme for 2016/17 is Scale. During each thematic year, the IAS can offer limited funding for a small number of postgraduate events. The list below highlights the Institues most recent themes in 2015/16 (Evidence); 2014/15 (Emergence) and 2013/14 (Light) and the events supported by the IAS.


  • 'Narrating Nation, Sovereignty and Territory' Research Symposium - 03 December 2016. Contact Michael John Laiho (English Studies) for further information;
  • 'Thatcher and Thatcherism: New Critical Perspectives' Conference - 19 and 20 January 2017. Contact Antony Mullen (English Studies) for further information;
  • 'Geography, Music, Space' Conference - 25 January 2017. Contact Sam Horlor (Music) for further information;
  • 'Editing behind the scenes: a multidisciplinary approach' Workshop - 10 or 11 March 2017. Contact Giulia Crespi (MLAC) for further information;
  • Sudan Studies Postgraduate Conference - 13 May 2017. Contact Samantha Tipper (Archaeology) for further information;
  • 2017 Ustinov Annual Conference (UAC) - 7 - 8 July 2017. Contact Jonathan Quiery (Ustinov College) for further information;
  • MEMSA Conference - 11 - 12 July 2017. Contact Abigail Steed (History) for further information;
  • 'Changing Climates: Realities, Representations and Responses to Environmental Challenges' Conference - 12 - 13 August 2017. Contact Dominic Birch (St Chad's) for further information;


  • 'Narrative and Agency”' Workshop - 22nd – 23rd September 2016. Contact Marzia Beltrami (MLAC) for further information;
  • ‘Identifying Identity’Tenth Annual Medieval and Early Modern Student Association (MEMSA) Conference - 14-15 July 2016. Contact Jenine de Vries for further information;
  • 'Monasticism and the challenge of the world: the western monastic experience, c. 1050-c. 1250' Conference 21-23 September 2016. Contact Stephanie Britton or Rosalind Green (History) for further information;
  • Water and Religious Life in Roman and Late Antique Near East Workshop - 23 March 2016. Contact Eris Williams Reed (Classics) or Stephen Humphreys (Archaeology) for further information.


  • The qanât: Archaeology and Environment Workshop (Archaeology) - 17th – 19th October, 2014
  • Kaleidoscope one-day symposium on the theme Emergence - 5th December 2014
  • Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History (AMPAH 2015) - 21st March 2015
  • Abnormality and the Abnormal in the Nineteenth-Century’ - 7th May 2015


  • On the Fringes: Outsiders and Otherness in the Medieval and Early Modern World (Medieval and Early Modern Student Association) - 08 - 10 July 2014
  • The Emergence of Human Complexity (Archaeology, Anthropology, Geography) - 16 May 2014
  • Perspectives on the First Person Pronoun “I”: Looking at Metaphysics, Linguistics and Neuroscience (Philosophy) - 15/17 May 2014 Reading through Proust (Modern Languages and Cultures) - 24 January 2014
  • Conceptualising Spaces of Light and Dark (Geography) - 14 January 2014
  • Conceptual Boundaries of Symbolism. An Archaeological and Inter-disciplinary Discussion (Archaeology) - 31 January / 01 February 2014
  • Thousand Worlds: Network Models in Archaeology (Archaeology) - 18/19 October 2013

Postgraduate Research Feedback Session

During 2015/16 the IAS supported the Faculty of Arts & Humanities introduce a new postgraduate research feedback session. The aim of the event was to support share good practice and promote collaboration among postgraduate research students across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The sessions provided a friendly, interdisciplinary setting in which academics and research students from across the Faculty met up to discuss and give oral feedback on work-in-progress authored by research students. The sessions discussed the work of up to two research students. Following a brief introduciion of their work, students took comments, suggestions and questions about their written work from those in the audience. The students were given time to respond to comments or ask for clarification etc.

It is hoped that further events of this nature will be organised during 2016/17.

Contact for more information about this event.

IAS Research Postgraduate Fund

The Institute has a small fund available to support the activities outlined above. In addition the IAS can provide seminar space for research postgraduate groups who have a multi-disciplinary remit (i.e. comprises researchers from more than one department) and small sums of funding for postgraduate researchers who are organising multi-disciplinary events such as conferences or workshops. (see below). To apply to this fund, please complete the this online form and submit no later than 30 November 2016. Applications after this date will not be considered. If you have any questions please contact Linda Crowe.



In 2007/08, under the auspices of the IAS, the online postgraduate interdisciplinary journal called Kaleidoscope.was established. The journal is designed to foster communication between postgraduates in different disciplines and to promote excellence in interdisciplinary research. Since 2013 the journal is jointly supported by Ustinov College, Durham's exclusive postgraduate college. The latest issue within volume five was published in November 2013 (see: current issue).

How to Engage with the Activities at the IAS

If you are interested in attending one of the IAS Fellows' seminars email Pauline Edmondson to reserve your place (see current seminar schedule)

To submit a paper to Kaleidoscope, email the Chief Editor at:

If you are a member of a multi-disciplinary research group that would like access to the seminar room at the IAS to hold a seminar or meeting, email Pauline Edmondson with your request.

The IAS is a space and resource to explore ideas. If you are a postgraduate researcher keen to explore ideas through a interdisciplinary lens with other postgraduate researchers at Durham then make contact with the IAS.