Skip Content

Heritage, Dignity and Violence

This programme funds research on sustainable peace and the prevention of violence broadly understood.

More about the programme

Funded by BEIS through GCRF


Tackling the challenge of achieving sustainable peace and preventing violence requires a consideration of local cultures, practices, histories and societal norms, and an understanding of how such norms are complex and contextually differentiated and intersectionally experienced. It is often the case that these considerations are not well or fully brought into policy and practice that tend to ignore aesthetic, representational, and reflective practices. New approaches that cross sectoral and disciplinary boundaries are vital in achieving a step change in this area.

The projects funded under this programme must demonstrate an innovative and interdisciplinary approach yielding new conceptual understandings, developing ground-breaking research and energising innovative collaborations in the humanities and social sciences. Applications must address one or more of the following themes:

  • Heritage: Heritage and memorialisation – understood not only as visual and material culture, but also as identity, language and faith transmitted over time – can be both inclusive and peaceful as well as exclusive and marginalising. In the context of building peace and preventing violence, planning for resilience and adapting to change can involve a host of actors, cultures, moralities, literatures, languages, histories and institutions. The mobilisation and use of heritage has been fundamental to our understanding of local contexts and cultures. These competing interpretations and reconstructions need further critical analysis to unpick assumptions and illustrate the complexities of histories, societies, cultures and polities when responding to these challenges.
  • Dignity: For many people experiencing development challenges, the aspirations fostered and suffering endured, the preservation of dignity is of central importance as are the opportunities these might bring in bringing real and meaningful change. The weaving of dignity into our understanding of violence, exclusion, inequality, stability and peace is a complex issue, since it often involves very different conceptions of the rights of the individual, of the community and the underlying structural factors and political economy of a given context. In particular, in what ways could understanding of these different conceptions of dignity within various individual, local, community and societal frames be meaningful, or in conflict with, preventing violence and the current approaches to building sustainable, inclusive peace?
  •  Violence: Violence is a near ever-present reality for much of humanity, but the narratives and experiences of violence, and the relationships between diverse aspects of violence, peace and stability are poorly understood. Exploring the role of violence, and its gendered and intersectional experience and understandings, within the geopolitics of a region and the role of the economy – local, national and global, and the intersections within these would provide a nuanced understanding of the challenges that conflict presents. Furthermore, exploring the identities, semantic configurations, attitudes, and histories that create the imagined space for narratives of violence / violation to take root, to flourish, and to structure experience of the moral economy in different places, will vitally improve our understanding of violence, power relations and how these intersect with the politics of suffering, offering a vital missing angle to current debates. The less tangible, ephemeral carriers and atmospheres of violence, as well as the less visible structures of violence that may underpin them, and the ways in which they are absorbed and ritualised in everyday culture are also often missed, as are the relevance of access and inequality and how these contribute to the peace and violence continuum in lesser known yet intractable conflicts. However, identifying them and analysing them is critical to understanding the life experience of many.


Eligibility requirements

Principal Investigators must be based in the UK, however, equitable international collaboration is strongly expected to be detailed in any application. We particularly encourage collaboration with institutions and partners in the Global South and expect to see applications demonstrate fully how researchers from the Global South will be involved as equal partners in the research proposed.

The Principal Investigator and any Co-Applicants must be of postdoctoral or above status, or have equivalent research experience, and hold an established role that will last at least the duration of the grant funded by the British Academy.

ODA requirements

The Heritage, Dignity and Violence Programme will only fund projects which are ODA-eligible. Only research that has a primary objective which is directly and primarily relevant to the problems of developing countries may be counted as ODA. ODA eligibility is an essential criterion – projects will only be deemed eligible for funding if they can demonstrate that they satisfy ODA eligibility criteria. The British Academy, with the other Global Challenge Research Fund delivery partners, has made an additional ODA guidance document available to applicants.

Only proposals which aim to support the economic development and welfare of developing countries will be supported under this call.

Value and duration 

Projects must be 21 months in duration, with a maximum value of £300,000 (and will be offered on a 100% full economic cost basis). Projects must start on 9 September 2019. 

Application Process

Applications must be submitted online using the British Academy's Grant Management System (GMS), Flexi-Grant®.

The deadline for submissions and UK institutional approval is 22 May 2019 at 17.00 (UK time).

For more details about the programme and the eligibility requirements, please see the scheme notes.

This programme is funded by the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (through the Global Challenges Research Fund)


Tel: 020 7969 5220