Dr Shawn Sobers awarded Arts and Humanities Research Council EDI Engagement Fellowship

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Dr Shawn Sobers

Associate Professor in Cultural Interdisciplinary Practice and UWE Bristol alum, Dr Shawn Sobers, has been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Engagement Fellowship alongside nine other humanities researchers. The funding is to further the impact of their EDI research.

Fellows will work with communities to explore topics including the loneliness epidemic in LGBTQ+ communities and the forgotten relationship between the city of Bath and Ethiopian culture. The fellows will be supported by a total investment of over £850,000 which will be used to engage diverse audiences with their outstanding research.

Shawn’s research project looks at Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I who lived in Bath, and is considered God incarnate by members of the Rastafari faith. This interdisciplinary project uses the legacy of Emperor Haile Selassie I and his connection to Bath as the basis of a seven-month series of events celebrating openness and cultural inclusivity. It will build connections between local communities and encourage conversation and cross-cultural connections.

Research into the arts and humanities can bring new perspectives to the way we think about contemporary challenges. When such research is rooted in engagement with the communities and issues affecting the public, it can drive real-world change. This funding will enable EDI Engagement Fellows to develop a range of exciting engagement opportunities including community workshops and a bespoke festival. These opportunities will connect existing academic research with communities across the UK to deliver research with a tangible impact on society and help shape future EDI policies.

Other research includes:

  • Professor Anna Fox, who will host a series of innovative workshops and mentorship activities to drive awareness of women’s unheard stories using photography and story-telling practices.
  • Dr Patricia Noxolo, whose work will include three artistic provocations designed to provoke discussion about everyday negotiations between security and insecurity that different races experience.

Professor Christopher Smith, AHRC Executive Chair, said:

“Learning about our heritage and culture and participating in the arts can deepen our perception of our history and of ourselves. 

“These fellowships will enable researchers to connect their scholarship with diverse communities across the UK and bring about positive change.

“Arts and humanities research has tremendous potential to help people to embrace different viewpoints and to build a fairer, more inclusive society.”

AHRC has a longstanding commitment to upholding the principles of equality, diversion and inclusivity in all activities and AHRC is committed to creating a more inclusive research and innovation environment.

Congratulations to Shawn on this achievement.


About the Arts and Humanities Research Council The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, funds internationally outstanding independent researchers across the whole range of the arts and humanities: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages and literature, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. The quality and range of research supported by AHRC works for the good of UK society and culture and contributes both to UK economic success and to the culture and welfare of societies across the globe. ahrc.ukri.org.