Arts + Humanities Futures

A series of conversations exploring the challenges to arts and humanities research in the past and opportunities for the future.


2020 and 2021 brought extraordinary and ongoing challenges to societies and cultures, as well as bringing long-standing crises and predicaments to the foreground in new ways. This series of five videos and related podcast episodes were conceived as a way to open up conversations about how arts and humanities research might respond to these challenges – and about the futures we want to see for arts and humanities.

Each podcast episode presents a conversation between two University of Leeds researchers or stakeholders, in which they discuss what their area has learned from recent events; what new research questions and methods they see emerging; and what we can do now to create the future we want to see. The videos below represent an edited version of a longer podcast. The videos were played sequentially over five separate online events (May – June 2021) hosted by the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute

Videos in the Series

Emma Tomalin and Nic Salazar-Sutil (First shown May 2021)

A discussion between Emma Tomalin, Professor of Religion and Public Life (School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science) and Nic Salazar-Sutil, formerly Associate Professor in Transformational Performance Practices (School of Performance and Cultural Industries). Emma and Nick discuss:

  • Place & agency of non-human actors in research.
  • The way institutional structures, cultures and processes can constrain outputs and impact that arise from research.
  • The importance & value of respecting multi forms of knowledge that may not fit standard models of academic practice.

Janet Watson and Dominic Gray (First shown May 2021)

This video features discussion between Professor Janet C.E. Watson (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies and Co-director of Centre for Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems) and Dominic Gray, Projects Director at Opera North. This discussion centres around music and song and includes an exploration of protest songs and poetry.

Jason Allen-Paissant and Alaric Hall (First shown May 2021)

This video features discussion between Dr Alaric Hall, Director of the Institute for Medieval Studies and Dr Jason Allen-Paissant, Director of the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies (ICPS). Jason and Alaric explore:

  • The Colonial view of the British landscape.
  • Colonialism & Medieval Studies.
  • the Medieval period including race migration and historical immigration in Britain.
  • Myth & folklore.

Helen Graham and Jasjit Singh (first shown in May 2021)

This video features discussion between Dr Helen Graham, Associate Professor in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies (Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage) and Dr Jasjit Singh, Associate Professor in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science. During the discussion Helen and Jasjit discuss:

  • Impact as collaborative process.
  • Opening up to other communities.
  • Participation vs representation vs decision making .
  • Interdisciplinarity & co-operation.

Fozia Bora and Ben Walmsley (First shown June 2021)

This video features discussion between Dr Fozia Bora, Associate Professor of Islamic History and Professor Ben Walmsley, Professor of Cultural Engagement and Director of the Centre for Cultural Value. In this episode of the podcast, Fozia and Ben explore:

  • Cultural value, representatin & meaning of culture.
  • Societal & economic divisions in West Yorkshire.
  • How Universities can be kind, caring and relevant to local communities.
  • Looking forward to post-pandemic approaches to research.

If you have enjoyed these videos, but want to hear more of the discussion then they are all available as extended podcast versions via Anchor or Spotify.