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Humanities celebrated at Northumbria with Institute launch

27th November 2017

Northumbria University, Newcastle is celebrating the multidisciplinary achievements taking place within its humanities subjects and, more widely across the University, with the launch of its Institute of Humanities.

As well as drawing on work by scholars within the Humanities Department, including in linguistics, literature, creative writing and history, the Institute will also feature contributions from other departments and faculties, including visual culture, sociology and geography.

The Institute’s launch coincides with the publication of a new study, which for the first time reveals the skills that graduates studying arts, humanities and social sciences develop during their time at university.

Researchers from the British Academy have identified that communication and collaboration; research and analysis; and independence and adaptability are all developed by students – qualities which are in demand from employers.

The British Academy report The Right Skills: Celebrating skills in the arts, humanities and social sciences also investigated the destinations of arts, humanities and social science graduates. It found that their core skills equip them to work in a wide range of jobs, from web design to the civil service, and teaching to financial services.

Professor Richard Terry, Director of Northumbria's Institute of Humanities, has welcomed the news. He said: "Humanities is incredibly relevant to modern life – learning how humans live in the world and questioning conventions around what makes us who we are can help us create a better world for everyone to live in today. We are very pleased that the valuable skills developed by humanities students, and their relevance to employers, has been officially recognised in this new report.

“The timing is perfect as we officially launch our Institute of Humanities here at Northumbria University. The aim of the Institute is to facilitate interdisciplinary conversations and discoveries and develop major themes such as activism; American studies; environmental humanities; gender and sexuality; creative practice; mobility, diaspora and borders; heritage and identity; and medical humanities.”

With the type of jobs available to graduates likely to change in the future, research by the British Academy showed that flexible and adaptable graduates, many of whom have arts, humanities and social sciences degrees, were highly valued by employers, even when their degree was unrelated to the business.

Chair of the British Academy project, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, said: “The question every arts, humanities and social sciences student has heard at least once is: ‘what are you going to do with that?’ Today our research proves that these graduates have the potential to adapt to almost any career in an increasingly globalised and uncertain world.

 “Our research has defined for the first time the skills shared by arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS) graduates, and looks at their careers in almost every sector of our economy, from the booming creative industries to financial services.

“The arts, humanities and social sciences are a strong choice for any prospective student – these subjects create well-rounded and adaptable graduates, equipped with the skills employers demand for the twenty-first century workplace.”

Humanities at Northumbria is composed of three subject teams: History, Literature & Creative Writing, and English Language & Linguistics, and is also developing strengths in the fields of American Studies and Heritage Studies. Find out more by visiting the Department of Humanities webpage.

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