Oxford University is to host a special series of public events that will consider the role of the humanities in addressing contemporary challenges.
Organised by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), 'The Humanities and the Public Good' will bring together leading scholars in the humanities and sciences, and influential figures beyond academia, for a series of talks, round-table discussions and seminars beginning next Monday, 27 January.
The opening event will be a round-table discussion titled 'In Everyone's Interests: What it Means to Invest in the Humanities', which will be chaired by Professor Shearer West, Head of the Humanities Division at Oxford University. The discussion will feature Professor Marcus du Sautoy and Dame Hermione Lee of Oxford University, as well as Guardian chief arts writer Charlotte Higgins.
The round-table will be preceded by an opening presentation from Professor Earl Lewis, President of the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, one of the world's largest funding bodies for the arts and humanities.
There will be an audience question and answer session and a drinks reception after the round-table. The event will be held from 5pm to 6.30pm in the South School at Examination Schools.
A fortnightly seminar series will begin the following day, Tuesday 28 January, with 'What's Wrong and What's Right with the Standard Defences for the Humanities?'
Other seminars are titled 'Two Cultures or a Shared Enterprise? Science and the Humanities', 'Where's the Virtue in the Humanities?' and 'What Have the Humanities to Teach the Modern University?'
The full programme of events and information on how to attend is available online. All events are free and open to the public. Registration is not essential but booking on the website is recommended to guarantee a place.
Between 13 and 15 March, TORCH will be partnering with the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures, University of Virginia, to present the 'Global Humanities Conference – the Activist Humanities'.
The conference will bring together 30 leading scholars from every populated continent to discuss the active role of the humanities in a comparative and connected global context. Panels will focus on the state, environment, social movements and translation. The conference will also involve scholars from public life in a variety of contexts, from the Arab Spring to advising Western energy policies.
TORCH is grateful to the British Council and anonymous donors for their support for 'The Humanities and the Public Good' programme.