New President of the British Academy to focus on supporting new talent in the humanities and social sciences

22 Jul 2021

Professor Julia Black is today confirmed as the 31st President of the British Academy, the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences, succeeding Professor Sir David Cannadine.

At a speech delivered at the Academy’s Annual General Meeting, Professor Black vowed to dedicate her Presidency to strengthening and diversifying the pipeline of new talent into the humanities and social sciences and indicated that she wished the Academy to play an even greater role in speaking up for the disciplines and their value to society.

Professor Black is currently Strategic Director of Innovation and Professor of Law at the London School of Economics (LSE). She also holds roles on the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Committee, the Board of UKRI, the Council of Science and Technology, and the Board of the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Her term begins today as Fellows of the British Academy attend the Annual General Meeting – taking place virtually for the second year running – and will run until 2025.

Professor Julia Black said:

“I am honoured to become President of the British Academy and, on behalf of the Fellowship, I wish to thank Professor Sir David Cannadine for his tremendous and steadfast leadership over the past four years which have been eventful in multiple ways. It is a testament to his leadership that the Academy has emerged from these challenges as an organisation which is stronger and more influential than ever in its 120-year history.

“As President, I intend to build on his legacy and ensure that the Academy continues to go from strength to strength. This will involve ensuring we have a healthy and diverse pipeline of talented people to study and research our subjects. The Academy’s impressive body of research into skills demonstrates beyond doubt that disciplines coming under the SHAPE umbrella (Social sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy) guarantee flexibility and good employment prospects for individuals who pursue them and great benefits to the society that nurtures them. The knowledge gained through studying SHAPE disciplines, both on their own and in conjunction with those of our colleagues in STEM, will equip us with the insights we need to address the multiple challenges which face us all.

‘’I will commit the British Academy to redoubling its work on monitoring the health of SHAPE disciplines, and particularly those affected by shrinking provision in Higher Education Institutions such as modern languages. We will continue to advocate for all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences and demonstrate their ongoing role in tackling the great issues of our time – not least Covid and its many challenges for society and humanity. It falls to the Academy to champion the long-term future and vitality of these disciplines and I know that it is equal to the challenge.”

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