Institute of Advanced Studies


Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)

" I see the Institute of Advanced Studies as providing a space for critical thinking and engaged enquiry within and across conventional disciplinary and departmental boundaries. The IAS aims to create an open and accessible research-based community, bridging traditional ‘artistic’ and ‘scientific’ practices and modes of thought, bringing UK and international scholars into conversation with one another, and identifying the urgent political, ethical and intellectual issues that face us in the world today. Professor Tamar Garb, IAS Director


Planetary Poetics Workshop

The Institute of Advanced Studies is pleased to announce a workshop on the theme of ‘Planetary Poetics’. To be held from 21-23 September 2017 in collaboration with the Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney. This three-day event will investigate the paradigm of the planetary, understood variously in terms of aesthetics, affectivity, geophysical systems, political community, materiality, and technology. Over the course of the three days we will be hosting several panels, talks, screenings and an exciting programme of public events.

IAS Junior Research Fellowships 2017-18

The Institute of Advanced Studies is seeking to appoint four Junior Research Fellows (JRFs) on appointments of 12 months each.  Candidates should have recently completed (within five years) a PhD in one of the subject areas of either the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, or the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences, and should be able to contribute to one of the following research themes: Lies or Vulnerability.  More information about the themes can be found here and further information, a job description and the opportunity to apply can be found here.  The deadline for applications is 25 May 2017.

UCL IAS-PKU Visiting Research Fellowships Scheme Open

The Institute of Advanced Studies is delighted to announce that applications are now open for the inaugural year of its Visiting Research Fellowship scheme for Peking University (PKU) academics for 2017-18.  The fellowships are offered as 1–3 month placements for either early career or senior researchers.

IAS Research Themes 2017-18

The Institute of Advanced Studies is pleased to be able to announce its research themes for 2017-2018: Lies and Vulnerability.  These themes have emerged after extensive consultation and discussion with colleagues across the joint faculties and are designed to be capacious and suggestive so that various research-led initiatives and events can be accommodated under their aegis.  We hope to appoint TWO Junior Research Fellows for each theme. In addition we aim to fund a selection of innovative research-led discussions, conferences and practices related to these themes.  Calls will be widely advertised and will proceed through open competition. Advertisements for the JRFs will go live in April 2017.  Keep an eye on this website for further information.

The Orwell Prize Announces the Longlists for the Orwell Prizes 2017

Longlists for the Orwell Prize for Books 2017, Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing, were announced today.  Following a year in which George Orwell’s name has returned to the heart of political discourse, the Orwell Prize judges choose the most compelling political writing of 2016, including books on the impact of the Hillsborough disaster and FGM in Britain longlisted alongside Hisham Matar’s The Return and New York Times CEO Mark Thompson’s Enough Said.


Representing the Sixth Sense in Art and Visual Culture

How has the concept of a sixth sense been represented, evoked, delimited and defined? To what organ could it be mapped, and if it could not be, where did it arise from? What was its relationship to the other senses, and how was it ranked in relation to the rest? Historically, the sixth sense has been understood as the ability to perceive beauty, love, the divine, the deceased, and more. Gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin elaborated in his Physiology of Taste (1825) that the sixth sense was the sense of physical attraction, a synaesthetic drive toward sex, which was linked to eating and the sense of taste. Such understandings of a sixth sense provide insight into the relationship between the senses, sensuality, and sexual difference. Alternatively, the sixth sense might be understood as arising from an altered state of mind, as in drunkenness, hallucination, malady, or dreams. It may instead be formed through a synaesthetic combination of senses, or a blurring of internal and external, past and present, natural and divine worlds. No matter how it has been constructed and experienced, the idea of a sixth sense reveals the limits of certain models of sensory perception and the forms of knowledge tied to them.

Starts: May 27, 2017 2:00:00 PM

IAS Talking Points Seminar: Risky Measures: Assembling Iran’s Waterways in the Infrastructure of International Development in the Middle East

For this IAS Talking Points Seminar we are pleased to welcome IAS Visiting Research Fellow Dr Katayoun Shafiee who will being giving this seminar on 'Assembling Iran’s Waterways in the Infrastructure of International Development in the Middle East'. We will also be joined by Dr William Carruthers (German Historical Institute in London) and Dr Pushpa Arabindoo (Department of Geography, UCL) who will be respondents for this seminar. 

Starts: May 30, 2017 6:00:00 PM

Political Pasts and Democratic Futures: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

The year 2016 further discredited the notion that Western democratic societies have reached the end of history. At a time when liberal democracy seems to be resting on ever more precarious foundations this conference seeks to spur an interdisciplinary conversation about the manifold ways in which political futures can and have been imagined. How have people in the past envisioned the future of democracy? What might be learned from these intellectual imaginaries for our political futures? Where and how are democratic futures reinvented and built today?

Starts: Jun 1, 2017 9:00:00 AM

IAS Reading Group: Senses Gone Awry - Chronic Pain, Bodies, Texts, and Emotions

This bi-monthly Reading Group provides a collaborative space for researchers from various disciplines to discuss theoretical understanding(s) of the senses in a state of disorder, drawing from well-established approaches and recent cutting-edge paradigms alike. Our chief focus will be on chronic pain, though works which deal with dysfunctional senses more generally will also be part of our corpus. Chronic pain is persistent, usually lasting for three months or more, does not respond well to analgesia, and does not improve after the usual healing period of any injury. The phenomenon, then, equates to sensory ‘misfiring’: the experiences of chronic-pain sufferers testify to the very real sensations provoked when normal neurological and biological functions ‘go wrong’, when the senses act seemingly according to their own ‘logic’.

Starts: Jun 1, 2017 4:00:00 PM

The IAS in the media

IAS Junior Research Fellow, Dr Aline-Florence Manent, has been in heavy demand during the French presidential election, providing commentary on the BBC and also writing op ed pieces for Open Democracy and The Spectator.

The 2016 Orwell Lecture, given by Private Eye editor Ian Hislop on 15 November to a sold-out audience and organised by The Orwell Prize which is now housed at the IAS, hit the front cover of the New Statesman on 1 December. Read 'The Age of Outrage' here and watch the lecture here.

IAS Visiting Research Fellow, Dr Martin Edwards, recently featured in a pair of BBC Radio 4 programmes called ‘Farewell Doctor Finlay’, a two-part history of General Practice in the UK.  Both are available to listen to on the BBC iPlayer.

The research carried out by former Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Professor Evthymios Papataxiarchis, during his recent visit at the IAS is mentioned in this article in The Times Higher Education Supplement about the very successful Engaging Refugee Narratives event, hosted at the IAS on 30 June.  Read about it here.  He also appeared on BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight on 13 October discussing the refugee crisis in his fieldwork site of Skala Sykamnias, Greece.  Listen from 34 minutes 30 seconds in here.

Research carried out by Dr Lois Lee, Co-Director of the IAS's centre for Secularity and Secularism Studies and IAS Visiting Research Fellow, Dr Stephen Bullivant, which shows that the number of people in England and Wales who identify themselves as having 'no religion' is larger than those who identify themselves as Christian, was covered extensively in the media, grabbing the front page of The Guardian and a column in the Evening Standard.