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Dr Richard Clay has been appointed as the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Commons Fellow.  The Commons Fellowship will lead the strategic direction of the AHRC Commons that was set out in the 2013-18 strategy, engaging with arts and humanities researchers to deliver the initiative’s vision and aims in a three-year appointment.

Dr Clay's research interests include aspects of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century French and British visual cultures, especially iconoclasm. He has led a collaborative research project about the history of Birmingham’s suburbs (1880-1960). To find out more about this collaborative project watch the short film Suburban Birmingham and visit the Suburban Birmingham website. Richard also led the Collaborative Arts Triple Helix project. His interest in collaborative research across disciplines and across sectors led to his appointment as the Co-Director of the University of Birmingham’s Digital Humanities Hub, a project focused on the use of leading edge digital technologies in the cultural sector and beyond.

Using his experience as a collaborative researcher, Dr Clay will gather insights from the AHRC Commons who are drawn from across academic disciplines as well as cultural organisations and companies. The AHRC Commons will work alongside the AHRC office but operate autonomously, representing the opinions of the arts and humanities research and user communities more generally rather than representing the AHRC’s views or policy.

As the Commons Fellow Richard will play a key role in supporting the celebrations planned for the AHRC’s tenth anniversary of becoming a Research Council in 2015.

Professor Rick Rylance, Chief Executive of the AHRC, comments: “On behalf of everyone at the AHRC, I want to welcome Dr Clay as the AHRC Commons Fellow. Dr Clay’s broad range of academic research and his experience of working with a number of diverse organisations will be invaluable in helping to deliver this project.”

Dr Richard Clay, AHRC Commons Fellow, comments: “I am very much looking forward to leading the strategic direction of the AHRC’s Commons initiative. The Fellowship is a wonderful opportunity to encourage dialogue and debate across the Arts and Humanities and beyond.”