The British Academy building transformation and Strategic Plan

The British Academy's Chief Executive, Hetan Shah explains how the transformation of the Academy's lower floors into event spaces will help the Academy to deliver its strategic priorities.

As we move into the next phase of our building project, we are excited about how the new spaces at Carlton House Terrace will help us to achieve our objectives set out in the British Academy's 2023-2027 Strategic Plan. We have identified three priorities to achieve our vision: strengthening and championing the humanities and social sciences; mobilising our disciplines for the benefit of everyone; and opening up the Academy.

British Academy Lecture in the new SHAPE room
A visualisation showing a lecture in the new lower floor event spaces of the British Academy
...the spaces, and the events that take place here [will be] accessible and available to all.

To enable the Academy to respond to the changing nature of research, and to provide a convening space for thinkers reaching beyond our central hub in London, we are integrating state of the art digital technology including hybrid event capabilities into the new spaces. This will ensure that we maintain international engagement and collaboration, while continuing to improve equality, diversity and inclusion by making the spaces, and the events that take place here, accessible and available to all.

The programmes that we offer at the Academy will be maximised to broaden our scope as an organisation. The new spaces will be used to support our Early Career Researcher Network, which now has over 3,000 members and which has just opened a new hub in London. Additionally, award-holders across existing grant giving schemes at the Academy will have the opportunity to present their work in ways they find relevant to their topic. The Academy will also have more capacity to host events for our partner organisations such as the British International Research Institutes (BIRI), fostering collaboration within our existing networks. And we will be able to use the spaces to host policymakers and leaders from business and civil society, to help share thinking from the humanities and social sciences.

Our ambition is to become a cultural centre at the heart of London.

I am personally really excited about the work our Public Events team is doing to curate an exciting new events programme and an opening season which will launch the new spaces. Our ambition is to become a cultural centre at the heart of London. The events programme will follow seasonal themes and will encompass a variety of audience-focused formats including interactive exhibitions, art installations, and panel discussions. Technology in the new spaces will enable us to take a more creative approach to event curation, which will help open us up to wider audiences.

Hetan Shah is the Chief Executive of the British Academy

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