Relaunched Journal of the British Academy makes world-class SHAPE research accessible to all

22 May 2024

A still from (Dis)Appear, from the article (Extra)ordinary images: photography, memory and creative documentary - Rwanda and Argentina

The Journal of the British Academy is being relaunched today to improve access to its diverse and innovative range of world-class humanities and social sciences research.

The Journal, which was first established in 2013, has been revamped as part of the Academy’s aim to strengthen and champion humanities and social sciences, mobilise knowledge for the benefit of everyone, and open up the Academy.

The relaunched Journal will draw from the Academy’s Fellowship, funded researchers and academic events and activities and explores new content types including commentary pieces, conversations and responses alongside full research articles. It will, for the first time, include visual and audio content.

With dyslexic-friendly typeface, Diamond Open Access and indexing through the abstract and citation database Scopus, more people will now be able to access the best SHAPE research the UK has to offer.

A new editorial board has been established, comprising academics ranging from early career researchers to high-profile intellectuals and Fellows of the Academy, including Professors Gurminder Bhambra, Ian Christie, and Tom Shakespeare. The editors are Fellows and Professors Fiona Williams, Elizabeth Edwards and Andrew Hadfield.

Journal relaunch before and after
A comparison of the front covers of the Journal of the British Academy, with the upcoming launch issue on the left and the most recent issue on the right.

The launch issue includes:

  • ‘Personal notes on the art of the African diaspora’ by Bernardine Evaristo
  • ‘How the British have misunderstood Ireland and Northern Ireland’ by Paul Bew
  • ‘Health and wellbeing in the face of crises associated with climate or conflict: how can knowledge from the humanities and social sciences help us respond to disasters?’ by Sarah Curtis, Melissa Leach, Kate Ardern, Carly Beckerman, Paul R. Hunter, Hanna Ruszczyk and Mark Pelling
  • ‘(Extra)ordinary images: photography, memory and creative documentary – Rwanda and Argentina’ by Piotr Cieplak

The Journal also adds new sections, including:

  • 'Personal Reflection' - expert voice features, exploring an issue of social, cultural or political significance;
  • 'Coming to Terms With' - short contributions explaining shifts in academic terminology or research projects.
  • ‘Conversations’ - between academics, or interviews with people who have produced prize-winning research.

Professor Fiona Williams FBA, lead editor of the Journal, said: “It’s been an exciting privilege to have led the editorial team in relaunching the Journal of the British Academy. Our commitment to quality and interdisciplinarity in research has always set us apart, and this new platform and creative approach to content types allows for more diverse and innovative contributions in humanities, social sciences and arts research, together shaping our understanding of the world.”

Professor Nandini Das, contributor to the Journal’s launch issue and winner of the 2023 British Academy Book Prize for her book Courting India, said: “I am delighted to play a part in launching the British Academy 's new and improved Journal. I hope it will continue to celebrate diverse voices and perspectives and create a place where expertise meets accessibility and creativity, helping more people than before to deepen their understanding of our world. In a time of widespread misinformation and mistrust, the democratisation of knowledge is vital.”

The Journal relaunch is part of the British Academy's aim to “open up”, with the culmination of a £9.6 million redevelopment also taking place this year. This renovation will see the transformation of the Grade I listed building – located in the heart of London’s St James’s – turning its lower floors into three brand new flexible event spaces and increasing the Academy’s event capacity by 50 per cent. Once complete, the new building will serve as the launch for the Academy’s new public events programme from September 2024 and beyond, featuring themes such as The Age of Mistrust? and Folklore Re-imagined.

Contact the press office

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

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