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The Way We Live Now – The AHRC Anniversary Essay Competition

AHRCThe AHRC is marking its tenth anniversary in 2015 through a number of activities to showcase the achievements of the arts and humanities research community over the last decade, to look forward to the coming decade and to celebrate the role of the arts and humanities in all areas of our national life.

One of these activities is a series of ten debates held at universities and cultural organisations around the UK over the next year. The theme of the series is ‘The Way We Live Now’ and individual debates will focus on more specific themes including The Future City, Curating the Nation, the Challenge of Change, Beyond Digital, and many more.

These debates will examine key aspects of our human world, the ways in which they are changing and shaping our lives, and explore the ways in which the arts and humanities can help us understand our changing world.

Essay competition

To help build a legacy around the debates, capture the ideas expressed by speakers and members of the audience and to provide an exciting opportunity for doctoral students studying within the arts and humanities, the AHRC is running an essay competition linked to the debate series.  The competition is open to any current doctoral student registered at an eligible organisation (see the call document for eligibility)

Further information on the call, eligibility criteria and application process can be found within the call document (PDF, 37 KB, opens in new window)

Closing Dates


Deadline Date Additional Info

​Due to the fact that the series is taking place over a period of nine months, there will be three deadlines. The first deadline, covering the first four debates (Curating the Nation, The Challenge of Change, Faith and Education and Social Cohesion and the Common Good) will be 30th October 2015, the second deadline covering the debates, Beyond the Digital, Future Cities for All, Rethinking the Nation and Books and the Human, will be 18th December 2015 and the final deadline, for the remaining two debates, Is British Culture a Myth? and Machine World, will be 31st March 2016.

How to make an application

​Essays should be no longer than 1,500 words each and submitted in Word format. Applicants should submit their applications via the online form (open in new window),  submitting essays by attachment when prompted to do so.

Footnotes should be kept to an absolute minimum and bibliographies should not be included.

Please do not include your name on the Word document to ensure anonymity during the judging process.

Winning essays will be published in an AHRC publication and on the AHRC website. Notification will be made prior to publication but submission of an application will be taken as acceptance of these conditions.

​Further information is available in the call document (PDF, 37 KB, opens in new window)

​If you would like further information on this competition, please contact Philip Pothen on


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