Meet the academics demystifying research: British Academy Summer Showcase 2022 programme announced

11 May 2022

Visitors of the Summer Showcase converse with a researcher, overlayed by orange neon lights shaped as quotation marks. The British Academy Summer Showcase logo in the centre.

Today, the British Academy announces the humanities and social science researchers selected to exhibit at its fifth annual Summer Showcase, a free festival of ideas for curious minds. The Summer Showcase will take place on 17-18 June at the British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace.

After two years of delivering its annual Showcase online, the national body for the humanities and social sciences will once again throw open its doors and give the public a rare opportunity to explore the Grade I listed Georgian terrace, overlooking the Mall. Twelve teams of British Academy-funded researchers from around the world will host exhibits around the building, demystifying academic research through hands-on activities and interactive displays and inspiring visitors to think differently about the world around them.

Visitors will be able to enjoy an immersive VR experience; meet and interact via livestream with a community centre in Turkey; hear why accents should be classified as protected characteristics; learn calligraphy; cook up a conspiracy theory; and learn more about the spatial brain by contributing to a collaborative LEGO® display.

Alongside the exhibits, there will also be a free programme of talks and events featuring Fellows of the British Academy, academics, authors and journalists, including:

  • How far have we come? Disability identity politics in the UK ’ with Tom Shakespeare FBA, Khairani Barokka, Liz Sayce and Alex Toft – Friday 17 June 7:00pm – 7:45pm
  • It's a conspiracy: the impact of conspiracy theories and misinformation’ with Anjana Ahuja, Sarah Churchwell, Marcus Gilroy-Ware and Alice Phoenix from Shout Out UK – Friday 17 June, 8:00pm – 8:45pm
  • Making research accessible: encouraging global cultural understanding through writing’ with Patrick Wright FBA (Chair), Priyamvada Gopal and Miranda Kaufmann – Saturday 18 June, 2:00pm – 2:45pm.

These will take place in a pop-up marquee in the private gardens outside the British Academy. London Review Bookshop will host a pop-up bookshop on Friday evening and all-day Saturday.

Hundreds of young people will enjoy a Summer Showcase Schools and Colleges Day on Friday 17 June (9:00am-3:00pm), to speak directly with the researchers about their work. An inspiring programme of talks and workshops will explore the subjects beyond the curriculum and discuss the careers they can lead to, featuring speakers such as bestselling author A. M. Dassu, climate activist Noga Levy-Rapoport; and media and political literacy organisation Shout Out UK.

The British Academy Summer Showcase is free to attend, and open to all from:

9:00am – 3:00pm, 6:00pm – 9:00pm, Friday 17 June

11:00am – 5:00pm, Saturday 18 June

Book online from Wednesday 11 May. There will also be availability on the day.

Professor Julia Black, President of the British Academy, said:

“We are thrilled to be opening our doors once again for our first in-person Summer Showcase since 2019. Here, you will meet the world’s brightest minds in linguistics, politics, sociology and more, and explore dynamic exhibits designed to educate, challenge and inspire. Whether it’s the vulnerability of our democracies, the fractures in our societies or the management of our planet, our humanities and social sciences disciplines are vital in tackling the great issues of our time.”

Summary of exhibits:

Projected Books: how bedbound WWII veterans were enabled to read – Matthew Rubery, Queen Mary University of London

Showcasing a little-known invention that made it possible for thousands of people with disabilities to read: a compact vertical projector displaying images of microfilmed books on a ceiling.

Made in Migration IRL – Rachael Kiddey and the Made in Migration Collective, University of Oxford

Real-life contemporary experiences of forced displacement in Europe, demonstrated through the personal objects involved throughout their journeys, such as specially adapted clothing and diary notes.

The co-evolution of Chinese calligraphy, dynasty and democracy – Chi Zhang, University of St Andrews

Exploring how the components of Chinese characters are layered, and demonstrations of the art of calligraphy.

Find Your Space: the importance of engaging your spatial brain – Katie Gilligan-Lee, Emily Farran, Emily McDougal and Su Morris, University of Surrey

Demonstrating the cognitive processes of perceiving the location and dimension of objects, and their relationships with other objects.

The Architecture of Displacement: twinning İzmir and London – Dolf te Lintelo, Institute of Development Studies; Robert Mull, University of Brighton/Umeå; Meltem Gürel and Ayselin Yildiz, Yaşar University

Recreating a section from the rooftop of the new TIAFI Community Centre in İzmir, Turkey, with a live video link connecting with the centre as it opens for the first time.

Reviving the Kusunda language – Fabrizio Galeazzi, StoryLab, Anglia Ruskin University; Felix Gaedtke and Gayatri Parameswaran, NowHere Media

An interactive VR experience and a short film, co-created with the Kusunda community, which demonstrates the threat to heritage when a language becomes endangered.

Conspiracy Kitchen: what are the key ingredients of a conspiracy theory? – Daniel Jolley, University of Nottingham; Karen Douglas, University of Kent; Yvonne Skipper, University of Glasgow

Demonstrating the key elements that make conspiracy theories popular and providing the skills to spot them.

How a wooden ceiling reveals medieval Spain's diverse culture – Mariam Rosser-Owen, Victoria and Albert Museum; Anna McSweeney, Trinity College Dublin

A scaled model of V&A’s 15th-century Torrijos ceiling, with a master woodcarver demonstrating traditional Islamic techniques and geometry.

What does growing older mean to us? – Siân Adiseshiah, Loughborough University; Amy Culley, University of Lincoln; Jonathon Shears, Keele University

Presenting everyday experiences of growing older in the early 19th century while inviting visitors to explore their own notions of ageing.

The cultural richness of Colombia's African Diaspora – Paola Vargas Arana, Kings College London

Presenting newly discovered artefacts revealing details of the European slave trade into Antioquia, Colombia, alongside 19th-century portrayals of their culture; and contemporary street photography.


Speaking of prejudice: mapping accent variation and bias in the UK – Robert McKenzie and Andrew McNeill, Northumbria University

Increasing understanding of deeply embedded prejudices towards UK accents, via a campaign for accent bias to be recognised as a protected characteristic.

Tyred: the urban ecology and economy of waste tyres in Lagos, Nigeria – David Garbin, University of Kent; Akeem Ayofe Akinwale, University of Lagos, Nigeria

An impactful installation of tyres, alongside photographic work of renowned Nigerian artist Andrew Esiebo, will demonstrate their ubiquity in African mega-cities, and the environmental challenge they pose.

Contact the press office

For further information contact the Press Office on [email protected]  / 020 7969 5273 / 07500 010 432.

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