Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)



The IAS supports a variety of interdisciplinary research projects from across the College

Current Projects

Music Futures logo

Music Futures (UCL Grand Challenges | 2021 onwards)

This is a cycle of activities dedicated to thinking, writing and performing music, starting in September 2021. A new joint initiative by the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies and the UCL European Institute. It involves an open call for proposals and a curated series of public performance-conversations and/or creative or short film projects. 

smoke from a volcano in Guatemala, Photo by Caitlin Wynne on Unsplash

UCL-PUC Resilience (2021-2026)

The UCL-PUC Resilience project is jointly run by UCL and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. In this project – led by Professor Stephen Hart, Pro-Vice-Provost Latin America at UCL and the Senior Partnership Manager (Americas) Tomoyo Miyakawa – we are analysing the function and meaning of resilience in a number of test-cases in the modern world, with a special focus on Latin America.

PSL logo cropped

Humanities-STEM collaborative projects (UCL GEO and PSL | 2021-2024)

The IAS, UCL’s Cities partnerships Programme and Université PSL (Paris Sciences et Lettres) are funding four collaborative research projects that include a focus on the arts, humanities and social sciences or interdisciplinary projects between these areas and the natural sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Compromised identities
Mural of colourful hands, photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

The Colour of Diversity (2021-24, funded by the AHRC)

 A Longitudinal Analysis of BFI Diversity Standards Data and Racial Inequality in the UK Film Industry. Led by Dr Clive Nwonka.


Socialist Anthropocene in the Visual Arts

SAVA is an interdisciplinary, visual arts led research project that challenges the West-centric discourses of the Anthropocene by asserting the constitutive role of the environmental histories of Socialism in the formation of the new geological age.

Completed projects

Chronicity and Care in African Contexts
(British Academy | 2019-2023)

This project entails a longitudinal social psychological study on chronic illness experiences and systems of care among London’s West African communities, and the development of a public engagement model for NCDs in continental and diaspora African contexts. Led by Prof Ama de-Graft Aikins.

Material Culture of Batek Hunter-Gatherers in Pahang State, Malaysia
(2020-22 | British Museum)

Material Culture of Batek Hunter-Gatherers in Pahang State, Malaysia is funded by the Endangered Material Knowledge Programme at the British Museum. Led by Dr Alice Rudge.

Confrontations: Sessions in East European Art History (Getty Foundation | 2018-2022)

This project, funded by the Getty's Connecting Art Histories initiative and run by the Post-socialist Art Centre, seeks to illuminate the entangled histories of East European art through a series of itinerant symposia held at universities and museums across Europe.

Creative Fellowship Programme 2020/21

Sustainability as Cultural Practice: Verbal and Visual Art,

History and the Environmental Humanities (BSR | 2021) 

A series of four roundtable events in July 2021, organised in collaboration with the British School at Rome and the British Embassy in Italy. The series will be co-hosted by the newly established Italian Ministry for the Ecological Transition, and will be included in the "All4Climate – Italy 2021" PreCOP26 Programme, promoting 2021 as the Year of Climate Ambition.

Compromised Identities? Reflections on Perpetration and Complicity under Nazism (AHRC | 2018-2021)

This three-year project, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, was run by the Centre for Collective Violence, Holocaust & Genocide Studies. The projects aim was to transform our understanding of the character and personal legacies of perpetration and complicity in systems of collective violence over time. It analysed entanglement in collective violence under Nazism, and later reflections on such experiences, developing the concept of 'compromised identities' to explore historical subjectivities under changing circumstances


Chronic Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa: A critical history of an 'epidemiological transition' (Wellcome Trust | 2015-2021)

This five-year project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, seeks to critically evaluate the history of what is viewed as an ‘epidemic’ of chronic and non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa and provide an historical account of the evolution of chronic and non-communicable diseases in Africa, going beyond a simple account of ‘transition’, and to contribute to wider debates on the nature of epidemiological change.  It is led by IAS Deputy Director, Professor Megan Vaughan.

Highlighting Exclusionary Practices within Established and Emerging Digital and Biometric National ID Systems in the Global South (Alan Turing Institute | 2020-21)

This project considered the interface between design and socio-political/economic inequalities. It examined the extent to which existing digital and biometric identity systems mitigate barriers to access stemming from class and occupational divides, ethnic and religious marginalisation, gender disparities, generational differences, and citizenship status. Emphasis was placed on the design of digital identity programs and their impact on equity and inclusion.

The Spaces Between: Equity, Voice, Agency, and Care Practices Involving the Arts and Arts Therapies
(UCL Grand Challenges, Nov 22-23)

An international series of fourteen seminars.