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Arts, humanities and social sciences: Why should we care?

British Academy panel discussion, held on 20 September 2010 (venue: The Royal Society).

What do the arts, humanities and social sciences do for the UK? Are they a luxury we can no longer afford? Has the university sector grown too big? Are only science and engineering vital to our economy?

In an attempt to answer these questions, the British Academy recently published a booklet, Past, Present and Future, exploring the economic, social and cultural contribution research and scholarship in these areas makes to the UK’s health, wealth and international reputation. It also contains ten case studies that illustrate this impact, ranging from the way research on different kinds of social disadvantage influenced the billion pound Sure Start initiative to how Nicholas Stern’s seminal report on climate change has influenced government policies around the world.

The panellists will seek to appraise how these different kinds of “public value” can be measured and what is at stake if there are major cuts to public investment in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Panellists:

Chair: Professor Peter Hennessy FBA, Queen Mary, University of London

Professor Geoffrey Crossick, Vice-Chancellor, University of London

Dame Hazel Genn DBE QC FBA, Dean, Faculty of Laws, University College London

Sir Adam Roberts KCMG PBA, President of British Academy and Emeritus Professor of International Relations, University of Oxford

The Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science

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