9 february 2011

New Head of Humanities appointed

Art | University

Professor Shearer West
Professor Shearer West

Professor Shearer West, currently Director of Research at the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), has been appointed as the next Head of the Humanities Division at Oxford University.

Professor West will take up the post on 1 August 2011, succeeding Professor Sally Shuttleworth who has headed up the Division since 2006.

Professor West is currently Director of Research at the AHRC, on secondment from a professorship in the History of Art at Birmingham University. She is also currently chair of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Research Directors’ Group.

Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: ‘We are delighted that Professor West has accepted the role of Head of Humanities. Professor West will bring considerable experience as an academic and an administrator. Her role at the AHRC means that she is ideally placed to steer Oxford’s Humanities Division through the challenging funding environment ahead.

In terms of both depth and breadth, Oxford has the most remarkable humanities division in the world

Professor Shearer West

‘Professor West is the perfect appointment to build on the excellent work of Professor Sally Shuttleworth, under whose skilful stewardship 10 of Oxford’s 15 humanities departments came top in the Research Assessment Exercise in 2008 and under which divisional research income has doubled. We wish Sally all the best for the future and are delighted that she will remain within the English Faculty, as she returns to teaching and research.’

Professor West said: 'In terms of both depth and breadth, Oxford has the most remarkable humanities division in the world. I'm honoured to have been chosen to head the division. While the next few years are going to be especially difficult for higher education, I look forward to working with colleagues across the university to ensure Oxford retains its international pre-eminence.'

Professor West has been Head of the Department of History of Art, Head of the School of Historical Studies and Acting Head of the College of Arts and Law at Birmingham University. She became Professor Art History at Birmingham in 2000. Prior to this, she was a lecturer, then senior lecturer at Leicester University.  She has also been chair of the Association of Art Historians, member of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise sub-panel and has had visiting Fellowships at Yale University.