Beyond Text: AHRC Reports


Helen Weintein has had a range of advisory and commissioning roles for AHRC Committees, and for the £5.5 million programme of funding called "Beyond Text"  you'll see at this stage of her career Helen was the founding Director of IPUP at the University of York, see her AHRC biography.

For the strategic interdisciplinary strand of work, designed for partnership and outward facing projects at Beyond Text, Helen Weinstein was appointed to both the Steering Committee & Commissioning Committee for the AHRC, working closely with the Director of the programme, Professor Evelyn Welch.  

An important aspect of the work of the Commitees contributed by Helen Weinstein was to input into the range of reports published by the AHRC Beyond Text programme which you can find here.


 The Beyond Text strategic programme ran for 5 years from 2007 to 2012, and following a period of consultation with the arts and humanities research communities which identified visual communication, sensory perception, orality and material culture as key concerns for 21st century scholarship and the wider community.  You can view the range of grants allocated for the Beyond Text programme here.

It recognises that today's digital culture means that communication is more rapid and often more transitory than ever before; performances, sounds, images and objects circulate swiftly on a global scale only to be replaced by even newer versions. Who controls and manages this material and its dissemination is now a key political, economic and legal question. Yet these are not new problems but ones with long historical roots.

Beyond Text created a collaborative, multi-disciplinary research community to work with those outside Higher Education on these issues.

The programme helped inform and inflect public policy relating to our cultural and creative heritages and futures; it also informs educational practice at a time when traditional notions of literacy are being challenged by advances in communication technology. The programme importantly fosters public understanding of the many oral/aural, material and visual forms in which creativity has been generated and used.

Finally, in bringing together those who create works and those who preserve, display and study them, the programme breaks down traditional boundaries between practice-led or practice-based research and other forms of investigation.


The aim of the programme is to support a multi-disciplinary community of scholars and practitioners drawn from Higher Education, museums, galleries, libraries and archives, business, policy, media, technology and the law to explore how human communication is articulated through sound, sight and associated sensory perceptions in both the past and the present. It aims to enhance connections between those who make and preserve works and those who study them, bridging divides that have often hampered effective scholarship, policy debates and discussion. It aims to have outputs which generate new questions and research and to provide a platform for future investigations. In doing so, it aims to be deliberately international and comparative in order to encourage innovative forms of research.

By the end of the five-year period, the Beyond Text programme will have:

  1. Stimulated high-quality research in the thematic areas, and in response to the research questions posed by the Beyond Text programme which will both draw on a wide range of disciplinary resources and skills and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, in and beyond Higher Education Institutions.

  2. Made distinctive contributions to the theoretical, conceptual, thematic, practice-led and empirical study of these areas.

  3. Created an arena for shared debate both within and beyond the academic community on how to use evidence, approaches and methods to generate new questions and issues for those working with performances, sounds, images and objects.

  4. Developed a body of theory, methods, approaches and case studies which allow for a comparative analysis of issues concerning these questions and themes across time and place.

  5. Facilitated connections, communication and exchange - at both project and programme levels - between researchers and a wide range of individuals and organisations outside academia with an interest in the research and its outcomes, including but not limited to those in the ICT, public policy, legal, creative and cultural sectors, museums, galleries, libraries and archives, performance spaces and the media. These connections will be international as well as British in scope.

  6. Contributed to public awareness of this research through programme and project-based outputs and events.

  7. Generated research findings and outcomes of international significance, and disseminated them to an international audience both within and beyond academia.

  8. Developed a vibrant research community whose activities will continue beyond the life of the Beyond Text programme.

  9. Built capacity in this field, in part by supporting early career researchers and postgraduate students.

  10.  Informed and inflected public policy in this field.

The programme as a whole will meet these objectives with contributions from individual projects and leadership from the programme director.  Projects are expected to help in achieving the above, but are not expected to deliver all of the programme's objectives. 



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