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The ‘Davos’ of the humanities comes to Senate House, University of London

A top level global humanities event is coming to Senate House, University of London. The international Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) is one of the largest gatherings of humanities experts. It is held every year in international locations since it was created in 1988.

‘It’s a great honour to be hosting this event,’ said Professor Roger Kain, dean and chief executive of the host institution, the School of Advanced Study (SAS).

Luminaries from across the globe will converge on Senate House, for four days from 28 June to 1 July. They are members of this global consortium of more than 170 organisations and affiliates in 23 countries and 46 US states.

Together they will grapple with the challenge set by CHCI: to interrogate the past, present and future of the humanities in this era of globalisation under the heading ‘Area studies in a globalising world: past, present, future’.

‘This is a fantastic opportunity to help shape the directions and priorities for humanities,’ added Professor Kain. ‘One of the strengths of CHCI is that it fosters collaboration among humanities centres internationally.’

CHCI annual meetings are designed to generate a critical conversation. They draw leaders from all over the world, feature eminent speakers, heads of funding agencies and leading scholars all addressing key challenges in the humanities. Members return to their organisations refreshed by new insights and ideas.

The 2016 theme reflects a global approach. It acknowledges multiple languages, cultures, and new institutional formations and their effect on all aspects of the humanities. The importance of diversity, regional expertise and communicating across languages, will be at the centre of discussions.

Roundtables and workshops will also consider relations between government agencies, scholarly societies, private foundations, and universities. London is a key location with its convergence of professional, governmental and academic worlds.

‘Area studies in a globalising world: past, present, future’ is part of CHCI’s increasing internationalisation and the formation of humanities networks in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, and Latin America.

CHCI is based at the Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, US. The London meeting is dedicated to its late president, Srinivas Aravamudan, whose vision for CHCI as a leading voice in the global humanities transformed the organisation.

‘The Annual Meeting is an opportunity for both new and longstanding CHCI members to learn from, and inspire, one another’ said Professor Sara Guyer, CHCI’s current president. ‘I look forward to continuing the important programmes Srinivas initiated and to embracing new possibilities that will energise the Consortium and the global humanities.’

Further information

1. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. In 2014-15, SAS: welcomed 805 research fellows and associates; held 2,073 research dissemination events; received 23.1 million visits to its digital research resources and platforms; and received 213,456 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. The School also leads the UK’s only nationwide festival of the humanities: Being Human. Find out more at or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews

2. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in Higher Education. Its members are 18 self-governing institutions of outstanding reputation, together with a number of prestigious central academic bodies and activities. 

3. Established in 1988, the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes serves as an arena for the discussion of issues germane to cross-disciplinary activity in the humanities, and as a network for the circulation of information and best practices related to the organisational and management dimensions of humanities centres and institutes. CHCI currently has a membership of over 170 organisations and affiliates in 23 countries and 46 US states. Members are engaged in a wide range of programs, including research support, community-based programs and public humanities, internal and external fellowship programs, activism and advocacy on issues of cultural and educational policy, digital humanities programs, and the development and maintenance of research collections. CHCI produces a major annual meeting of its membership, maintains a content-rich website, produces an annual printed membership directory, and serves as a re-circulator for information about its members via listservs and its website. CHCI operations are based at the Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, which serves as the fiscal agent for the organisation and provides important operating and staff support.