Humanities Research Centre Selected to Participate in Major Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant

Humanities Research Centre Selected to Participate in Major Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant
Friday 14 February 2014

The Humanities Research Centre (HRC) in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics of the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Australian National University has been selected to participate in a major new grant awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), of which the HRC is a member.  The $1.35 million grant is awarded for the second phase of Integrating the Humanities across National Boundaries, an initiative designed to foster new forms of collaborative research and partnerships among the organization's international members via two pilot projects.

The Humanities Research Centre is one of four CHCI member centers and institutes that will lead the research through 2017 on one of the pilot projects, Integrative Graduate Humanities Research Education and Training (IGHERT).  The project brings together faculty, doctoral students, and post-doctoral scholars in a series of structured collaborations to undertake jointly mentored, international research. The four partners are the Institute for Humanities Research, University of California, Santa Cruz; Center for 21st Century Studies, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Justus Liebig University in Giessen; and Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra. Focusing on the interdisciplinary theme of indigeneity in transnational contexts, together they will engage graduate students in a series of collaborative training and research activities and will test, refine, and assess a scalable model of skill training and digital archiving that can be applied in multiple contexts and to multiple themes.

According to HRC Director, Assoc. Professor Debjani Ganguly, IGHERT aims to attune the participants to the larger public contexts in which expert knowledge in the humanities is meaningful and to equip them with the written and oral skills necessary to communicate with these public constituencies more effectively.

The second pilot project funded under the grant is the CHCI Medical Humanities Network Program.  This project aims to further the development of medical humanities as a subject of study and will focus on the topic of aging. The six partnering humanities centers are the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Columbia University; Institute for the Arts and Humanities, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC); Centre for the Humanities and Health, King’s College London (KCL); Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research,  the University of the Witwatersrand (WiSER); Leslie Center for the Humanities, Dartmouth College; and the Research Institute for the Humanities, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Two three-year projects (2013–2015) were funded in the first phase of the Integrating the Humanities across National Boundaries program. Humanities for the Environment involves five CHCI-member partners forming collaborative “Observatories”—one each in North America, the Australia-Pacific region, and Europe—to research the role of the humanities in a period of planetary crisis and change. Five CHCI-member partners are also working on Religion, Secularism, and Political Belonging, which focuses on discovering new approaches to religious and cultural criticism and understanding.

Established in 1988, the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes is an international organization headquartered at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. It is a network for the circulation of information, ideas, and best practices related to the programmatic and organizational dimensions of humanities centers and institutes. CHCI is currently comprised of more than 180 member and affiliate organizations in 23 countries and 46 US states. CHCI members are engaged in a wide range of programs, including research support, public humanities programs, fellowship programs, and advocacy on issues of educational and cultural policy, digital humanities programs, partnerships with arts organizations, and the development and maintenance of research collections. Many CHCI members are powerful agents of growth, change, and transformative interdisciplinary research on their campuses and within their communities. More information on CHCI can be found at

The Humanities Research Centre was established in 1974 as a national and international centre for excellence in the Humanities and a catalyst for innovative humanities scholarship and research within the Australian National University. As one of Australia’s prime gateways to humanities scholarship in the rest of the world, it promotes advanced research in the humanities through its prestigious Visiting Fellowship Program, and a range of conferences, workshops, seminars and symposia that it hosts under an annual theme. Threaded through our Centre programs are our disciplinary and interdisciplinary strengths in literature, history, art, philosophy, critical theory, Enlightenment and Romanticism studies, Postcolonial Studies and Indigenous heritage, art and culture. The HRC collaborates with Australian and international research centres, libraries and other cultural institutions such as the National Museum of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, National Library of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery. The Centre strongly advocates the importance of humanities in the public sphere through its participation in key national and international networks such as the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS), The Australian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres (ACHRC) and the Consortium of Humanities Centres and Institutes (CHCI).


Updated:  22 December 2014/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications