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Southampton Institute for Arts and Humanities

Our work

Read more about our collaborations in technology, wellbeing and the environment.

SIAH places culture at the heart of world-changing research. We promote the creative and critical insights of the arts and humanities, offer seed-funding for innovative knowledge exchange projects, and develop large interdisciplinary collaborations.  

Our theme leads support this work by bringing partners and academics from a range of disciplines into critical conversations regarding the role that culture plays in understanding and interrogating some of the most pressing political issues facing us today.  


Cultures of Data  


Theme lead: Professor Dan Ashton

Our data-focused projects examine how data and evidence are imagined and used across a range of industry, policy, academic and creative contexts. We collaborate with partners and engage with ideas of data relations and frictions, measurement, methods, evaluation, and metrics. 

Projects and events explore: data literacies, civics, inequalities; data and decision-making; and role of qualitative data in place-based decision making.  

Dan Ashton and Nicky Marsh are currently working on a series of AHRC projects - And Towns - which explore the role of creative methods and qualitative metrics for local decision making.  


Cultures of Environmentalism 


Theme lead: Professor Stephanie Jones

Our environmental projects bring together researchers from a wide range of disciplines and creative practitioners engaged with issues around biodiversity, climate, and environmental policy through regionally or historically defined work. 

We have worked on projects including Creative Writing Against Coastal Waste, Cultures of Ocean Literacy and are a key partner in the emerging Environmental Humanities Research Hub convened by the School of Advanced Study.


Cultures of Technology 


Theme lead: Dr Seth Giddings

This group brings together researchers from across the university as well as local artists, scientists and engineers working in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors. We have close links with the Alan Turing Institute and host an active artificial intelligence (AI) and arts group. 

Our workshops explore ideas such as computer-generated fiction, artificial creativity, and building a creative AI lab.


Cultures of Wellbeing 


Theme lead: Professor Shelley Cobb

We are an interdisciplinary group and work closely with researchers in the Centre for Medical and Health Humanities. We critically address the languages of wellbeing, highlighting the methodological, ethical, and political challenges that they involve. 

We interrogate the assumptions often underpinning notions of wellbeing: about ability and disability, about individual and collective responsibilities, about work, productivity, equity, and care. We organise workshops, talks and events as we seek to foster meaningful and just practices for wellbeing.  

SIAH Co-Director Professor Joanna Sofaer is also leading on the UKRI-funded Pathways to Health Through Cultures of Neighbourhoods project. This project reimagines how we co-create and design pathways to health by bringing together a trans-disciplinary team of academics from across the University of Southampton, civic leaders, health professionals, charities, cultural and creative partners from 30 organisations across Southampton to learn from young people (age 11-16).