The European Journal
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John Marenbon

Funding Humanities Research

Good arts and humanities (AH) research does not consist of projects aimed at answering a specific question or providing a given set of information, which can be set out in advance and divided among a group. Marenbon argues that AH research instead should be an open-ended activity, uncertain in its aims, which needs to be carried out by an individual, over the course of years and decades; and it is intrinsically tied to another activity, that of teaching. AH research needs to be based on people – university teachers – not projects. Too much, inappropriate assessment should be abandoned, because it distorts or destroys what it sets out to measure, and the public money for AH research projects should be used, instead, to support full university jobs, involving teaching and research.