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Trinity Long Room Hub Publishes Policy Paper

21 December 2021 - Joint road-map needed to integrate Arts and Humanities research with policy- making sector, according to a new position paper from the Trinity Long Room Hub, published today.

Entitled ‘Policy and the Arts and Humanities in Ireland’, the policy paper follows the launch of the institute’s Arts and Humanities policy initiative in 2020, and a major body of work to consult across the Arts and Humanities disciplines and with research leaders and stakeholders.

Addressing the ‘gap’ between the policy sphere and research informed by the Arts and Humanities, the Hub’s policy initiative ran a practitioner round-table and a series of workshops (‘Bridging the Gap’) in spring 2021, which raised a number of questions on the relevance of the Arts and Humanities—including disciplines such as literature, history, language and philosophy—to the policy-making world.

This new position paper from the Hub addresses some of the themes raised in the workshops and seeks to prompt further questions.

Summary of key points:

  • There is a growing consensus among Government, research stakeholders and education leaders (both nationally and at European level) that there should be a close and collaborative relationship between an academic research culture and the needs of policy-makers.
  • The Arts and Humanities disciplines do have an existing presence within the policy sphere, but it is currently uneven and sporadic; researchers working in the Arts and Humanities are now calling for further integration with the government and policy sector.
  • The Arts and Humanities need to be systematically integrated with other disciplines in developing policy advice, and structural reforms in individual researcher career pathways should be introduced, with mentoring and incentivisation geared to policy collaboration.
  • A major emphasis across the workshop discussions was the perception of a ‘language-barrier’ between academic and governmental discourses.
  • Interested parties from both academia and Government now require a joint road-map, detailed on the workings of policy professionals and carefully aligned with the capacity of Arts and Humanities researchers.
  • There is a body of work to be done on fostering a ‘public expectation’ that all relevant research disciplines, including the Arts and Humanities, have a bearing on the shaping and understanding of governmental philosophy, policy and practice.

The workshops and the Hub’s policy initiative were also informed by the appointment in 2019 of two policy fellows at the institute—Mary Doyle and Rory Montgomery. Rory Montgomery recently retired from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where he served as Second Secretary General with responsibility for EU issues, including Brexit. Mary Doyle is the former Deputy Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills, and was instrumental in bringing the relationship between policy and academic research, including Arts and Humanities research, under systematic scrutiny in her recently published discussion paper for the Royal Irish Academy/Irish Research Council ‘Research Public Policy’ series.

Commenting on the launch of the policy document, Professor Eve Patten, Director of the Trinity Long Room Hub, noted the “tremendous breadth of perspectives that was highlighted through the Hub’s initiative, which now gives us a greater strategic focus in ensuring that Arts and Humanities research informs many of the policy challenges that we face today.”

The Trinity Long Room Hub’s policy position paper was authored by Professor Eve Patten, Dr Caoimhe Whelan, and Dr Catriona Curtis.

Click here to view full policy paper.

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