Monday, April 04, 2011

The AHRC and "The Big Society" - Part II

The Conservative Party campaigned for "The Big Society" during the 2010 general election campaign, spelling out their political vision of society under a Conservative government. They became the majority party in a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. Now consider the UK-based Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). A search for "The Big Society" on the AHRC website yields 15 hits. These include the following: links:

"Connected Communities or 'Building the Big Society'"

"Beauty and the Big Society"

The AHRC have issued a strong denial about allegations about political pressure to incorporate "The Big Society" in their funding objectives. I accept the AHRC's denial, but do not believe this addresses all matters pertaining to this issue. The concern here is not about the Big Society nor whether research on the Big Society should receive research funding. Again, the petition only takes issue with what is not denied by the AHRC, namely, that the "Big Society" does appear (and five times) in its current delivery plans.

Instead, the concern is only about whether a research council should include mention of a political campaign slogan in its delivery plan for funding strategic research priorities. Please consider signing this petition and writing to the AHRC Chief Executive to support the view that political campaign slogans should not appear in research council delivery plans on research funding.

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