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How can government make better use of expertise and evidence from the humanities?

14 April 2015

This year our annual conference explored opportunities for improving the way government accesses, assesses and makes use of expertise from the humanities, and offered examples of the significant contribution these disciplines have made to public policy.

Partnering with the British Academy and the Churchill Archives Centre, we welcomed more than 200 guests and speakers including historians, philosophers, artists, anthropologists, classicists, financial experts and others from academia, government, learned societies, and the private sector.

Session 1: Enriching and informing society - what do the humanities have to offer?

The conference kicked off with a panel discussion chaired by Professor Tim Lewens (Professor in the History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University). In this session, panellists sought to explore in greater depth the type of knowledge humanities researchers’ produce and the value of this output to the policy profession. You can read the full story on the Centre for Science and Policy blog.

You can listen to a recording of session 1 here:

Session 2: Humanities at the heart of government - What does policy making stand to gain?

In the earlier session, it had emerged that the worlds of humanities and government were “poles apart”. Reflecting on this, Lord Wilson (Cabinet Secretary, 1998 - 2002) highlighted the huge resource in academia from which government could benefit. You can read the full story on the Centre for Science and Policy blog.

You can listen to a recording of session 2 here:

Session 3: Parallel seminars

Seminar 1: Art and Memory: Conflict and Conflict resolution

This panel discussion was chaired by the Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research (PaCCS) external champion and CSaP associate fellow, Dr Tristram Riley-Smith. He was joined by Kathleen Palmer (Head of Art, Imperial war museum), Dr Glenn Sujo (Senior Faculty, Royal Drawing School) and the artist Šejla Kamerić. Discussions focused on the importance of art in engaging the audience to think, discuss and learn about the distressing and harrowing topics of war and conflict. Read the full story on the Centre for Science and Policy blog.

You can listen to a recording of seminar 1 here:

Seminar 2: Understanding the financial future with lessons from the past

CSaP’s Founding Director David Cleevely chaired a session on how understanding financial history can help inform future policy making. David was joined on this panel by Dr William Janeway (Warburg Pincus), Professor Barry Eichengreen (University of California, Berkeley) and Dr Rachel King (HM Treasury). Read the full story on the Centre for Science and Policy blog.

You can listen to a recording of seminar 2 here:

Seminar 3: Is there a place for the humanities in climate change policy?

In this seminar chaired by Professor James Wilsdon (SPRU) panellists Professor Arthur Petersen (Professor of Science, Technology and Public Policy at UCL), Dr Paul Warde (Reader in Early Modern History at Cambridge) and Amy Mount (Senior Policy Advisor for the Green Alliance) discussed the role of ethics, history and literature in the decision-making process. Read the full story on the Centre for Science and Policy blog.

You can listen to a recording of seminar 3 here:

Session 4: The role of evidence and analysis in effective policy making

This final session was organised in partnership with the Churchill Archives Centre as part of the Churchill Statesmanship Programme to commemorate 50 years since the death of Churchill and 75 years since he became Prime Minister. Chaired by Dame Athene Donald (Master of Churchill College, Cambridge) panellists Charles Clarke (Home Secretary, 2004 - 2006), Lord Peter Hennessy (Historian, Queen Mary University of London), Sir Richard Mottram (former Chairman, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) and Lord Richard Wilson (Cabinet Secretary, 1998 - 2002) discussed the role of evidence and analysis in effective policy making. You can view the discussion below.

Poster competition

big imageThis year 12 early-career researchers took part in the poster competition at which conference attendees were invited to vote for the researcher they felt best communicated the societal benefits of their research. Dr Charlotte Lee, a Junior Research Fellow at Murray Edwards College won the competition, presenting her research on the alignments between intellectual activity in the Goethe Era and the findings of modern cognitive science.


You can view a storify of the day below:

Organisations

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    Annual Conference Virtual Seminar Series: Accelerating innovation

    The final seminar in the annual conference seminar series will be on the topic of accelerating innovation with experts from the University of Cambridge.
  • 23 April 2015

    Humanities at the heart of government: What does policy making stand to gain?

    This discussion covered the role of the humanities in shaping public policy from the view of a civil servant, the toxic and complex issue of the free movement of workers, and the humanities and policy making in a hyperconnected world.
  • 23 April 2015

    Art and Memory: Conflict and Conflict resolution

    The role which art plays in conflict and conflict resolution was the topic of this panel chaired by Dr Tristram Riley-Smith.
  • 23 April 2015

    Is there a place for the humanities in climate change policy?

    A discussion on the multiple dimensions of climate change with a particular focus on the incorporation of the humanities featured three engaging speakers from backgrounds in both academia and the private sector. The session was chaired by Professor James Wilsdon, a lecturer in science policy at the University of Sussex.
  • 23 April 2015

    Understanding the financial future with lessons from the past

    CSaP’s Founding Director David Cleevely chairs a discussion on how understanding financial history can help inform future policy making.
  • 23 April 2015

    Enriching and informing society: what do the humanities have to offer?

    Our annual conference kicked off with a panel on Enriching and informing society: what do the humanities have to offer?