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From global vaccine inequity to communicating air quality, British Academy unveils largest conferences programme to date

22 Nov 2023

A seated person asking a question at a conference among a small crowd.

Contemporary art in the Middle East and North Africa, global vaccine inequity, and how air quality is communicated are among the subjects featured in the British Academy's 2024-25 conferences programme boasting a record number of events.

Funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Wellcome, British Academy conferences bring together scholars from around the world to present, discuss and consolidate new research in the humanities and social sciences.

The 2024-25 programme features 18 conferences – a record amount of conferences funded under this scheme – taking place in venues across the UK or online. Full details and booking for each conference will be made available on the British Academy website. 2025-26 Conference award applications are now open.

Professor Lindsay Farmer FBA, the British Academy’s Vice-President for Publishing & Conferences, said:

“The British Academy’s conferences programme continues its rich tradition of showcasing diverse and forward-thinking research taking place across SHAPE (social sciences, humanities, and the arts for people and the economy) disciplines. From the recent history of anti-fascist militancy and early modern English Church music to the intersection of laughter and medicine and language development in late childhood and adolescence, our 2024-25 conferences programme underscores the invaluable role socially, culturally, and politically engaged research plays in addressing pressing current and future challenges. It’s particularly encouraging to see such a diversity of institutions participating in the Academy's largest conferences programme to date.”

The full list of 2024-25 conferences is:

  • Resolving Global Vaccine Inequity: Innovation, Capabilities and Governance
    April 2024
    Lead convenor: Professor Christine Oughton
    Funded by Wellcome. Held at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS).

  • The Commercial Business of Comics: Transforming Authorship, Distribution, Technology, Story and Aesthetics in the Global North and South
    April 2024
    Lead Convenor: Professor Hugo Frey
    Funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). Held at the University of Chichester.

  • Music and Majesty: Chapels Royal, Cathedrals, and Colleges, c.1485-1688
    April 2024
    Lead Convenor: Dr Katie Bank
    Funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). Held at the Society of Antiquaries of London.

  • Linguistic Injustice and Inequality in the Public Domain
    April 2024
    Lead Convenor: Dr Colin Reilly
    Funded by Wellcome. Held at the University of Stirling.

  • Post-crisis Professionalism? Setting the Agenda for a New Politics of Healthcare Professionalism
    April 2024
    Lead convenor: Professor Justin Waring
    Funded by Wellcome. Held at the University of Birmingham.

  • The Realization of Human Rights in Societies Beyond Growth
    24-25 April 2024
    Lead convenor: Judith Bueno de Mesquita
    Funded by Wellcome. Held at Essex University.

  • Prison Voices
    April/May 2024
    Lead convenor: Professor Mary Margaret McCabe
    Funded by Wellcome. Held at the University of Sheffield.

  • Comparative Perspectives on Migration Attitudes and Behaviours: Causes, Consequences, Interventions
    May 2024
    Lead convenor: Dr William Allen
    Funded by Wellcome. Held at the University of Oxford.

  • Transnational elites: Imperial Histories, Global Power and Public Resistance Today
    13-14 May 2024
    Lead Convenor: Dr Sarah Kunz
    Funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). Held at the Royal Society.

  • Resisting fascism: Fifty years of anti-fascism ‘from below’, 1974-2024
    June 2024
    Lead Convenor: Professor Nigel Copsey
    Funded by Wellcome. Held at Teesside University.

  • Addressing the Trafficking of Cultural Property Through the Public/Private Law Nexus
    7-8 June 2024
    Lead Convenor: Dr Sophie Vigneron
    Funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). Held at the University of Kent.

  • Symbol '24: Icons for Society: Past, Present and Future. An Exploration of 40 Years of Symbol Culture
    September 2024
    Lead Convenor: Dr Sue Perks
    Funded by Wellcome. Online.

  • Knowing the Vernacular: Critical Reflections and Future Directions
    October 2024
    Lead Convenor: Professor Marcel Vellinga
    Funded by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). Held at Oxford Brookes University.

  • Reinterpreting History and Memory: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
    Late June or Early October 2024
    Lead Convenor: Dr Hamid Keshmirshekan
    Funded by Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). Held at SOAS.

  • Laughter and Medicine
    4-5 November 2024
    Lead Convenor: Dr Sabeena Jameel
    Funded by Wellcome. Held at the University of Birmingham.

  • Domestic Atmospheres: How the Immaterial Shapes the Home
    March 2025
    Lead Convenor: Dr Samuel Johnson-Schlee
    Funded by Wellcome. Held at the Museum of Home, London.

  • Communicating Air Quality: Physical, Digital, and Theoretical Advances
    13 March 2025
    Lead Convenor: Dr Kayla Schulte
    Funded by Wellcome. Held at the British Academy.

  • Language Development in Late Childhood and Adolescence: Next Steps in Bridging Research Practice, and Policy
    March 2025
    Lead Convenor: Professor Maria Arche
    Funded by Wellcome. Held at the British Academy.

Dr Kayla Schulte, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London and lead convenor of “Communicating Air Quality: Physical, Digital, and Theoretical Advances”, said: 

”Air pollution is a top threat to human health and the environment, but in today's chaotic information society, it is unclear whether messages about this challenge are reaching or resonating with widespread audiences. The support of the British Academy and Wellcome Trust enables us to explore how air quality is communicated across the contemporary, digitally mediated global landscape, bringing together the insight of exceptional thinkers, practitioners, and creators. I am honoured that our conference has been selected to be hosted at the British Academy. Convening a space for critical reflections and invigorating multidisciplinary connections around the dynamics of air quality communications is truly a highlight of my career so far.”

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