ARC Funding Demonstrates Faculty of Arts Research Strengths

4 November 2010

The most recent round of Australian Research Council (ARC) funding has been announced and once again the Faculty of Arts has achieved great success with a number of grants awarded.

A total of 13 grants worth more than $3.2 million were secured in ARC funding to be delivered over the coming years.

These grants will help to support Faculty of Arts research pursuits into topics as broad as the presentation of modernist texts to the consolidation of authoritarian rule in post-Soviet Russia.

One project to achieve funding success was the Asian Studies Program's Atelliers of Angkor: sculpture workshops of an empire (Cambodia, 9th to 13th centuries CE), which will receive ARC Discovery Grant funding from 2011 to 2013.

Project leader and Honorary Associate in the Asian Studies Program, Dr Martin Polkinghorne, says Atelliers of Angkor will be the first investigation of sculpture production workshops in medieval Southeast Asia, with the grant money enhancing international collaborations to protect the site.

"The collaboration of Australian, Cambodian and international researchers will expand these relationships and help to preserve Angkor's World Heritage value by revealing the work-sites where the world-famous Angkorian sculptures were created," he says.

"It will affirm the Angkor Research Facility and the University of Sydney as the premier research institution in Southeast Asian Archaeology and Angkorian Studies outside Cambodia."

Both the Atelliers of Angkor and the Department of Archaeology's From Paddy to Pura: the origins of Angkor projects which attained ARC funding success are associated with the faculty's ongoing Greater Angkor Project.

The Departments of History and English both added to their long list of achievements this year, in each case receiving four grants in this funding round.

One such project is the much-celebrated Digital Harlem project by Professor Shane White, Associate Professor Stephen Robertson and Professor Stephen Garton which has been acknowledged, once again, with grants secured to further develop the endeavour over the next five years.

The ARC funding will help researchers in their new "Year of the Riot: Harlem 1935" project, which will expand the Digital Harlem website into the 1930s to reconstruct the cause of this historical event and the effects of the Depression on African Americans.

It will also allow the researchers to gather material in the US for the expansion of their website and provide time to complete a book on the topic.

"For the department, the grant extends our reputation as a centre for cutting edge research and for successful collaborative work," Assoc. Prof. Stephen Robertson says.

Other Departments to gain recognition in the newest round of funding include English, Government and International Relations, Archaeology and Philosophy.

The recent round of ARC funding was achieved through the support of the faculty's Director of Research Development, Professor Margaret Harris, and the School Research Support Officers, Phil Gerlach, Drasko Mitreski, Kate Quinn and Nikki Whipps.

The successful Faculty of Arts research projects are among the 102 Discovery Projects and nine Linkage Projects awarded to the University of Sydney from the ARC.

Announced in Canberra last week by the Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator the Hon Kim Carr, the University of Sydney achieved the highest number of Discovery Project grants of any New South Wales institution and the second highest number Australia-wide.