Midlands universities partnership will train the next generation of arts and humanities researchers

Eight leading universities in the Midlands are joining together to train the next generation of highly-skilled arts and humanities researchers, thanks to funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The Midlands4Cities Arts and Humanities Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), led by the University of Nottingham, will result in 460 new postgraduate studentship opportunities across the region over the next five years.

The consortium brings together academic expertise from - the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, the University of Warwick, Coventry University, De Montfort University, the University of Leicester, Nottingham Trent University, and the University of Nottingham. All eight of the universities in the DTP have also committed to match the AHRC funding.

It is one of 10 new Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) announced by the AHRC today (15 August).

The programme offered by the Midlands4Cities partnership builds on the track record of the previous Midands3Cities DTP, which led the way in collaborative postgraduate research, training, joint supervision and partner engagement with organisations in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors.

The Midlands4Cities DTP is expanding on the previous research and training capacity of the Midlands3Cities DTP by adding an additional two partners to its consortium – Coventry University and the University of Warwick. Both institutions build on the group’s existing strength across the span of arts and humanities subjects, and deepen disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas such as Art and Design, Classics, English, Music, Dance, Drama and Performing Arts, and Politics.

The Midlands4Cities DTP will include at least 40 Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs) co-designed with non-university partners. The partnership will give students access across all eight institutions to a customised programme of research and employability training, which will enable students to gain vital arts and humanities skills.

The new DTP will have a strong emphasis on collaboration and will work with a large number of non-university partner organisations, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, The British Film Institute, Historic England and museums and galleries across the Midlands, to offer exciting placement and training opportunities to students.

Midlands4Cities will provide expert supervision across its mix of university partners, and additional funding to support cohort events that enable students to develop practical skills, deepen research networks, and path-find professional careers.

Professor Paul Grainge, the Director of Midlands4Cities, comments: “Midlands4Cities is a truly exciting development, expanding the doctoral research community established so distinctively by Midlands3Cities. The addition of two new universities from the city of Coventry, and our active engagement with a diverse range of cultural and creative partners, positions the Midlands as a major regional catalyst of arts and humanities research innovation and skills development.”

Professor Rilka Dragneva-Lewers, University of Birmingham Midlands4Cities Site Director, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to continue supporting and developing outstanding Arts and Humanities researchers in collaboration with an expanded group of Midlands universities. This investment from the AHRC, and from the participating institutions, will enable collective sharing of expertise, partnerships and training resources for the benefit of postgraduate researchers working within and across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Birmingham is proud to be helping to shape the future of Arts and Humanities research in the Midlands region and beyond.”

Professor Edward Harcourt, the AHRC’s Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation, said: “The AHRC is delighted to announce its renewed commitment to the Doctoral Training Partnerships model. Our support for the next generation of arts and humanities researchers is critical to securing the future of the UK arts and humanities sector, which accounts for nearly a third of all UK academic staff, is renowned the world over for its outstanding quality, and which plays a vital part in our higher education ecosystem as a whole.

“We were extremely pleased with the response to our call, which saw high-quality applications from across the UK from a variety of diverse and innovative consortia, each with a clear strategy and vision for the future support of their doctoral students.”

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More information is available from Dominic Benson, Deputy Director of Communications, on +44 0121 414 5134.

Notes to editors

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.