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Sciences and other disciplines

Ordered Universe, led by Professor Giles Gasper, combines the approaches of medieval specialists and modern scientists. Focused on the scientific works of the 13th-century English polymath Robert Grosseteste, ‘Ordered Universe’ to date has involved over 165 scholars in disciplines from medieval history to computational cosmology, education to classics, Arabic studies to computer engineering.

Medieval Pigments is led by Professor Richard Gameson in conjunction with experts from Chemistry at Northumbria and Durham and from Cambridge University’s Fitzwilliam Museum, to study and conserve medieval manuscripts. Funded by an interdisciplinary AHRC grant (2018-21), the project uses a mobile Raman Spectroscopy unit.

The impact of elections in sub-Saharan Africa, led by Professor Justin Willis with political scientists from University of Birmingham and University of Warwick, researches the impact of elections in Kenya, Uganda, and Ghana, and the effectiveness of international interventions intended to improve governance through enhanced electoral integrity.

Cultural Heritage 360, led by Professor Stephen Taylor, brings together scholars in History, Chemistry, Physics, Experimental Psychology, and Architecture to investigate the potential for Arts and Humanities-led interdisciplinary research.

History staff are also co-investigators on projects based in other departments and institutions, including:

Research libraries and other institutions

The Department has a variety of relationships with research libraries, collections, and institutes. Dr Kevin Waite and Professor Stephen Taylor have established a Faculty-wide partnership with the Huntington Library (California), which consists of an annual exchange for researchers. This collaboration saw Waite deliver a keynote address at the Huntington for the Library’s centennial celebrations in January 2020. Professor Andy Wood will hold the Fletcher Jones Distinguished Fellowship at the Huntington Library in 2022. The Department of History is committed to building on the Durham-Huntington Library collaboration to forge new international partnerships with research institutions in North America.

The Department’s longstanding commitment to making archives and special collections more accessible to a wider audience has resulted in new collaborations. Dr Alex Barber is the academic lead on an international public project, run in conjunction with the Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington DC), to investigate and translate the Newdigate manuscript letters.

The AHRC project on Jewish Country Houses with Dr Thomas Stammers, in collaboration with Oxford University, has led to further collaboration with the National Trust, and the Centre des Monuments Nationaux. Dr Cherry Leonardi is collaborating with the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and with other museums across the UK and continental Europe to present and interpret collections from South Sudan.

An annual postgraduate workshop for postgraduates in the Department of History held jointly with the University of Münster, forms part of a deeper international collaboration between the two institutions. The Durham-Münster Conference runs over a three-day period and grants students from both institutions the opportunity to present and discuss their research within an international network.