New Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Collaborative Research Scheme Grants Underway

4 February 2011

An exciting new internal funding scheme is underway, providing the chance for academic staff and postgraduate students across the faculty to collaborate in innovative ways.

Introduced by the faculty for the first time late in Semester 2, 2010, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Collaborative Research Scheme (FACRS) will pair researchers from diverse and interdisciplinary backgrounds, from law to sociology, as they pursue a multifaceted approach to society's crucial questions.

Seven research groups have been announced in the scheme, with 57 individual researchers spread across all four Schools of the faculty involved.

Some projects also include academics from the faculties of Law and Education and Social work, as well as the Museums.

The FACRS provides grants of between $10000 and $20000 for the first year of the scheme's two year funding period.

FACRS research groups are comprised of both academic staff and postgraduate students to fund exciting new multidisciplinary research.

Dean of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Duncan Ivison, believes this new scheme goes far in helping to cultivate a collaborative research culture within the faculty through supporting both existing research strength and developing research areas.

"The aim of this scheme is to foster new modes of research collaboration in the Faculty in ways we haven't attempted before," he said.

"We want to give our academic staff and postgraduate students the chance to combine their expertise across multiple disciplines to address some of the most fundamental and pressing questions in our disciplines - as well as explore new and emergent areas too".

"It's part of the vision of the future of the humanities and social sciences in our Faculty, using the diverse approaches and tools of our disciplines in creative and collaborative ways to ask fundamental questions about the world we live in," Professor Ivison said.

Among the successful projects to begin in the first round of funding is the Everyday Life of Surveillance (ELS) Research Cluster. Headed by Dr Gavin Smith of the Sociology and Social Policy Department. It will explore questions surrounding the expansion of surveillance in today's society and the role it plays, as well as the politics and consequences of surveillance.

"The intensification and diversification of surveillance in recent decades has been remarkable… personal information is now routinely extracted from and given by individuals at strategic transactional 'points of contact'," said Dr Smith.

"The steady growth of surveillance cultures correlates with wider socio-historical changes, particularly the establishment of consumer capitalism as the dominant mode of production."

He continues, "technological advancement, particularly in computer applications and related dependence, and wider cultures of risk, fear, distrust and consumption, have also proved significant in legitimating surveillance as a tool of social order, organization and popular entertainment."

The ELS research cluster comprises of academics from nine different departments - a fact Dr Smith believes is necessary when investigating a practice, process and concept that covers such a broad spectrum.

"Having a diversity of disciplinary knowledge and methodological plurality at the group's disposal will enable the complex historical, cultural, social, political and economic dimensions of surveillance to be better comprehended and understood."

To be eligible for funding, proposed research groups must be comprised of at least four Faculty teaching and research or research-only staff, and members must be sourced from at least two Departments.

Preference for grants is was given to those groups who have members from at least two Schools, other Faculties (where appropriate) and if staff members are from different levels of appointment and experience, from senior to emerging.

All projects involved in the scheme are also compulsorily open to postgraduate researchers for their practical involvement in the project, and will feature at least one pubic event, such as a lecture, seminar, symposium, or website, across the two year funding period.

Contact: Callie Henderson

Phone: 02 9351 2208

Email: 5123010c7d4f7d046f1d03402c5b2f2e417e5842