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Research Groups

The School of Arts and Humanities hosts a variety of dynamic interdisciplinary research groups and centres that showcase the breadth of research within the School.

These centres and groups reflect both the established research strengths in the School and our commitment to engaging with developing research areas in the Arts and Humanities.


Digital Humanities

The Digital Humanities research group investigates new avenues of research to promote a critical perspective on the use of digital technologies as research tools, and explores questions of power and accessibility in the wider use of such resources. With diverse projects receiving extensive funding, a key emphasis is on the use of technology to ensure that the research outputs are made available and accessible to interested members of the general public, as well as disseminated to students and academic peers.

Ferguson Mosque

Ferguson Centre

The Ferguson Centre promotes interdisciplinary research into empire and postcolonial conditions, with a particular focus on Africa and Asia: their nations, peoples, societies, cultures and global diasporas.

GOTH logo

Gender and Otherness in the Humanities (GOTH)

Gender and Otherness in the Humanities (GOTH) research centre develops and deepens thinking around the intersection between gender and different types of otherness through regular events open to all OU colleagues. It encourages academic engagement with the valuable analytical lenses that gender and otherness offer by creating and curating resources and by supporting innovative research projects and enquiries that explore aspects of gender and/or otherness in the Arts and Humanities.

Fra Mauro Map

The Medieval and Early Modern Research Group

The Medieval and Early Modern Research Group brings together staff from a variety of disciplines across Arts and Humanities with wide-ranging expertise in the social, political, religious and cultural developments of the medieval and early modern periods. The group fosters a supportive environment within which staff and students can develop, exchange and collaborate in their studies of the medieval and early modern periods.

Schwind Eine Symphonie' Choral Fantasy panel

Literature and Music Research Group

The Literature and Music Research Group aims to encourage wide-ranging interdisciplinary study of literature and music and to foster a research community in this area within and beyond the university.

A woman dropping her porcelain tea-cup in horror upon discovering the monstrous contents of a magnified drop of Thames water; revealing the impurity of London drinking water. Coloured etching by W. Heath, 1828. Wellcome Library no. 12079i.

Health and the Arts Research Group

The Health and the Arts Research Group was launched in 2021 in order to draw together researchers from across the university with interests in the intersections between health, wellbeing, arts and creativity.

n a dark room, a digital touchscreen shines with bright colours that show a control panel in a DJ-ing software programme. Out of the darkness, a silhouetted person’s hand uses the controls.

Film and Media Research Group

Established in 2021 to complement The Open University’s growing Film and Media curriculum (with a range of short courses already available), the FM Research Group offers staff and postgraduate students a forum for thinking about audiovisual media.

Group of feminist women with raised fists and shouting slogans in Mexico

Language, Literature and Politics (LLP) Research Group

The Language, Literature and Politics research group is a cross-faculty initiative, bringing together researchers from the School of Arts and Humanities in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies.

Onderdeel van Reisalbum met foto's van bezienswaardigheden in Napels en omgeving (c) Giorgio Sommer (attributed to).

Open Ecologies

Open Ecologies is a collaborative research group that focuses on questions of environmental change and ecological thinking through history, in the present, and into the future.

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Creative Interactions

The Creative Interactions Research Group explores the powerful intersections between academic research and creative practice.


The School also hosts many discipline-centred research centres and research groups, including:

Material Religion logo image

Baron Thyssen Centre for the Study of Ancient Material Religion

The centre was founded in 2018 to promote research into the material, visual and other sensory aspects of Greek, Etruscan and Roman religions, and to bring this research into dialogue with work on material religion in later periods.

Policeman photo

Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice

The Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice aims to promote and facilitate research into criminal justice history around the world and to generate the exchange of ideas between academics, criminal justice practitioners and serving and retired policemen.

Book Cairn

The History of Books and Reading Research Group

Active for well over a decade, The History of Books and Reading (HOBAR) Research Collaboration has made major contributions in this area of research, both nationally and internationally, and has attracted substantial amounts of both internal and external research funding, including three major AHRC grants.

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Contemporary Cultures of Writing

The focus of this research cluster is on writing practices, their cultural contexts and impacts. This includes all forms of creative and academic writing, reflective practices, academic literacies, and translation as a creative act.

Heer Ranjha

Postcolonial and Global Literatures

The predominant focus of the group is on Anglophone literatures from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and forms of colonial and neo-colonial experience represented in these literary traditions, but group members’ interests also encompass the writing of the Caribbean and South-Asian diasporas; colonial cultural and literary history; anti-colonial political thought; and wider global literary systems.

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War and Peace in the Twentieth Century

The group focuses on war and peace, their causes, nature, and effects. The research group’s activities concentrate on the First and Second World Wars, the Cold War, peace and anti-war activism, and colonial violence.

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