Archive for October 25, 2015

Pre-call Announcement – CC Festival 2016

The Connected Communities Research Festival 2016: Community Futures and Utopias

Pre-Call Announcement

The AHRC is pleased to announce that a Connected Communities Research Festival will be held in 2016. A call for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) to participate in the Festival will be issued in early November 2015.

Taking inspiration from the 500th anniversary of the publication in 1516 in Latin of Thomas More’sUtopia, as well as a Connected Communities/ Care for the Future Symposium on ‘Utopias, Futures and Temporalities: Critical Considerations for Social Change’ held in May 2015, the 2016 Festival will have a central theme of Community Futures and Utopias.

As with the 2015 Festival, the call for EOIs will support high quality participatory arts research and research co-production activities across the UK. Local activities can take place at any time from February 2016 to late June 2016. In addition, we will be inviting projects to propose ideas for producing creative, co-produced, research outputs from their local activities which can be showcased at a high profile public event in London in late June 2016.

The call for EOIs will be open to a wide range of interpretations of the theme of Community Futures and Utopias, including – for example – :

  • what ‘utopia in the 21st century’ means for diverse communities;
  • past visions of the future and the role of the past in community futures;
  • the future as a lens or safe space for exploring challenges facing communities;
  • community fears and aspirations for the future;
  • the role of the future in bringing together or dividing communities;
  • utopia as participatory/ creative method;

and many other creative research ideas.

As well as providing opportunities to build on Connected Communities research, the Festival will provide an opportunity to link to other AHRC and Research Council-funded inter-disciplinary research, including under all other AHRC themes (such as Care for the Future and Translating Cultures) and priority areas (such as design, heritage, languages, etc.).

Expressions of interest will be encouraged to describe:

  • How they will build upon past research and work with local communities to co-produce new research insights on the theme of community futures and utopias, and the role of participatory and collaborative research methods in these processes
  • How the proposed festival activities will help to broaden and deepen community research engagement and partnerships – in particular, how projects will reflect and engage with diverse minority community groups and cultures
  • For those proposals involving more extended participatory arts approaches to research co-production, how they might use the opportunity of a high profile national showcase in London for community projects on utopias, and/or other similar event, to engage wider publics with the outcomes of their local activities.


Funding Available

We anticipate that EOIs will be invited for two types of funding:

  • up to £5,000 to support a wide range of participatory/ co-produced research activities with diverse communities around the UK between February and late June 2016 on the theme of Community Futures and Utopias
  • up to £15,000 to support more ambitious local participatory / creative arts co-produced / collaborative research projects producing high quality creative / artistic outputs and the showcasing of these outputs at a two day high profile national public event on Community Utopias in London over a weekend in late June 2016.

Expected Timetable for the Call

We expect to issue the full call for Expressions of Interest in early November. The planned outline timetable for the call is below:

Mid October Festival theme announced
w/c 2 November AHRC issues call for expressions of interest to participate in the Festival
w/c 7 December Closing date for EOIs (via SmartSurvey)
By end of January 2016 Notification of Outcomes of EOIs
February- June 2016 Festival events take place around the UK
24 -26 June (tbc) Showcase of creative outputs from selected local projects at weekend public event in London
Tbc Cross-theme Utopia 500 academic conference


This Festival will form part of a wider series of Connected Communities and collaborative activities on the theme of community futures and utopias, including a conference on ‘Utopia in the 21st Century’. Further details of these other events will be announced in early 2016.

Centre for Hidden Histories

The Centre for Hidden Histories is one of five First World War engagement centres that have been established by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to investigate the First World War and support community groups in their efforts to research and commemorate the war.

The centre’s chief thematic interest is in the role of different ethnic, faith and national groups in the years 1914-1918, their experiences of it and the impact that the war had, and continues to have, on the diverse communities of modern Britain. This theme encompasses subjects such as race, empire, migration and displacement, independence movements and memorials. As such, we are particularly keen to engage with, and support the projects of, a diverse range of community groups:

You can more information on investigators and collaborators on the project here.


Lost Spaces

This project aims to explore the consequences of lost community spaces for the Deaf community in Bristol.  Recently, the Deaf community have lost the Centre for the Deaf, which was the  centre of the community for many years, and the Centre for Deaf Studies in the University of Bristol, which was the birthplace of Dr Paddy Ladd’s Deafhood theory and brought international recognition to the CDS and to the Bristol Deaf community.

These closures have resulted in the Deaf community feeling increasingly homeless and under threat.  Without the traditional Deaf spaces that Deaf people have known and relied on in the city, the Deaf community face the threat of fracture and dispersal.

In this project the research team is working in partnership with the British Deaf Association ( and the Deaf Studies Trust (  The project aims to find the unifying threads of the Deaf community in Bristol, focusing on Deaf spaces and places of the past, present and future through use of creative methods, such as archive film screenings, poetry and film-making workshops, creation of a Bristol Deaf history map, and a march through the city centre.  We will also be screening a short film of the research process to ensure that the Deaf community are kept informed of the process.

The findings of the project will be fed back to our community partners, the BDA and the DST, as well as the Deaf community in Bristol, to help support community regeneration and planning for the future.