Monday, June 20, 2011

The AHRC and Big Society (again)

As we await publication of the so-called "Big Society" white paper from the government, the Guardian reports today about the campaign to remove the "Big Society" from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) delivery plan. The story can be found here and it includes an interview with the AHRC Chief Executive. A brief excerpt:

"[. . .] Rylance agreed with critics that the big society was "a government policy" but said that it included "a range of activities" from health to the arts which left room for many different projects and angles for research.

"People have said this is about promoting the big society. It is categorically not about that. It is indicating an area of research which will fund individuals who may well come up and be critical of it. We don't forecast outcomes of these things," Rylance said.

However Rylance said that removing all six references to the big society from the AHRC's strategy would have to involve a renegotiation with government.

"That is the document they [the Department for Business] also published. They are our funders and they fund us as against a delivery plan. So we'd have to look at ways with government of revising [it] … but this is not an intention." [. . .]"

UPDATE: ResearchResearch has more on this story here.

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