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UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities

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Research

At the core of our research mission in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities is the desire to understand, value and enhance human creativity.

In doing so we draw on a long-established tradition; of the five professorships established at UCL’s founding, four were in the humanities (in English, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew; the other was in Mathematics).

Our staff have impacted the development of the arts over time in various ways:

  • Lucian Freud (1922-2011) of the Slade School of Fine Art, is one of Britain’s foremost portraitists
  • A.E. Housman (1859-1936), a Professor of Latin, wrote one of the nineteenth century’s most famous poems (‘A Shropshire Lad’)
  • John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), who taught in the Department of Philosophy, was commonly known as ‘the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century’

Alongside the traditional arts and humanities departments of English, Philosophy, Greek & Latin, and the School of European Languages, Culture & Society (SELCS), we are also proud to have the Slade School of Fine Art, Hebrew & Jewish Studies, Information Studies, and the Undergraduate Programmes in European & International Social & Political Studies, the Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (BASc), and the many inter-disciplinary MA Programmes as part of our Faculty.

Our graduates have enlivened the arts scene in the UK:

  • the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby read Philosophy here
  • Maryam Moshiri, one of the main presenters on the BBC News Channel, studied Italian
  • Christopher Nolan, the Academy Award-nominated director of Inception, read English

We have a vibrant community of postgraduate researchers in the London Arts and Humanities Partnership, led by UCL and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which brings together eight universities and institutions of higher learning and five core non-HE industry sector partners (Google, the Wellcome Trust, the V&A, Museum of London, and the National Archives, in order to offer exciting, cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional research opportunities for 90 doctoral students in the Arts and Humanities every year.

We enliven the research culture of our faculty by inviting to campus outstanding figures in the field of Arts and Humanities such as the UK’s leading film director, Ken Loach, the world-renowned Latin Americanist, Professor Efraín Kristal (UCLA), and the award-winning documentarist, Fiona Lloyd-Davies, whose film, My Amazing Brain (2018) resonates with the Health Humanities.

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We are investigating the curriculum, and we are supporting our students by running Job Surgeries, encouraging bilateral student-based partnerships with international universities, and providing space for our PGT and PGR students to present their work to global audiences, and explore the multidisciplinary convergence between research and film. And we are also hosting an Enquiry into the Future of the Humanities in the modern world.

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By building on these disciplinary strengths, our mission is to add a new strand within the portfolio of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, expanding it to become the leading centre of research and practice in the Creative and Applied Humanities in the UK by 2027.

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It will coincide with the creation of new interdisciplinary, sector-focussed partnerships and programmes at UCL East, and our new programme will provide tomorrow’s Arts and Humanities graduates with the theoretical and practice-based skills they need for jobs in the dynamic and fast-paced culture industries of the twenty-first century.

Professor Stephen M. Hart