Statement from the AHRC

The AHRC has issued a statement refuting the allegations I reported on in my recent post. I quote a key extract here, and the rest can be read on the website.  I will obviously update my post, but thought it only fair to make this a separate item.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) unconditionally and absolutely refutes the allegations reported in the Observer (‘Academic Fury over order to study the big society’, 27 March). We did NOT receive our funding settlement on condition that we supported the ‘Big Society’, and we were NOT instructed, pressured or otherwise coerced by BIS or anyone else into support for this initiative.
The AHRC has been working for over two years, since 2008, with four other research councils, on the Connected Communities Research Programme which has been developed through extensive – and continuing – consultation with researchers. At the core of this Programme is research to understand the changing nature of communities in their historical and cultural contexts, and the value of communities in sustaining and enhancing our quality of life. These issues are serious and of major concern. They also happen to be relevant to debates about the ‘Big Society’ which came two years later. To imply that these important areas for investigation constitute a government-directed research programme is false.

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