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Humanities and Arts Research Institute

Humanities and Arts Research Institute

The Humanities and Arts Research Institute (HARI) is central to Royal Holloway’s vibrant interdisciplinary research culture. It fosters and showcases the intellectual and creative energies of academics across all stages of their career. HARI stimulates and supports research of the highest quality across disciplinary and institutional boundaries and promotes the exchange of knowledge and expertise with diverse public organisations, the creative industries, the performing arts and festivals. HARI’s collaborations and established partnerships with organisations, including the BFI, English Heritage, The Globe, Counterpoints Arts, the Science Museum and the Institute of Historical Studies, are vital to the public dissemination and impact of its research.

We’re on Facebook and Twitter, to find out about up-to-date opportunities, Calls-for-Papers, and so on.

HARI is pleased to have partnered with our colleagues in Research Impact to produce this showcase of work our academics are doing around cultural participation: Researching Cultural Participation.

If you're a Royal Holloway student and interested in helping us with event podcasts, writing up a conference review, etc, please email with a short motivation that details your area of interest and any experience you may already have.

Director: Professor Hannah Thompson, School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Hannah Thompson is Professor of French and Critical Disability Studies. She has published widely on French literature and theory, the body, gender, sexuality and disability. She is the author of three books on French literature and culture: Naturalism Redressed: Identity and Clothing in the Novels of Emile Zola (Legenda 2004); Taboo: Corporeal Secrets in Nineteenth-Century French Fiction (Legenda, 2013) and Reviewing Blindness in French Fiction (1789-2013) (Palgrave, 2017). This third book marks the start of Professor Thompson's influential work on the cross-overs between French Studies and Critical Disability Studies. This research is evident in her most recent articles, such as her 2017 review article for French Studies 'French and Francophone Disability Studies'. In 2015 she co-organised the Blind Creations conference and micro-arts festival with Vanessa Warne and she is the author of the popular Blind Spot Blog.


Associate Director: Dr James Kent, School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

James Clifford Kent is Lecturer in Hispanic Studies. His research focuses on visual cultures and he was appointed Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2016. He earned his PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2012 and he has curated exhibitions of his own photographic work both in the UK and Cuba. His Arts Council-funded exhibition Memories of a Lost Shark toured the UK and Cuba in 2013-14. His first monograph entitled Aesthetics and the Revolutionary City: Real and Imagined Havana was published by Palgrave Macmillan as part of their Studies of the Americas series in 2018. His current research project “¡Yo Soy Fidel!”: Post-Castro Cuba and the Cult of Personality explores the representation of Cuba in documentary photography following the death of Fidel Castro in 2016. In November 2017, he was awarded AHRC funding for this project from the OWRI / MEITS network based at the University of Cambridge. 


Administrator: Jean-Baptiste de Vaulx, Department of Media Arts



Steering Group 2018-19

Dr Kate McGettigan (English)

Prof James Williams (SMLLC)

James S Williams works in the general areas of French/Francophone and European cinema, with a particular interest in questions of ethics and aesthetics, gender, postcolonial studies and ecocriticism. He is the author of (among others) The Erotics of Passage: Pleasure, Politics, and Form in the Later Work of Marguerite Duras (1997), Jean Cocteau (2006), Space and Being in Contemporary French Cinema (2013), and Encounters with Godard: Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics (2016). He is also co-editor of (among others) Gender and French Cinema (2001), For Ever Godard (2004) and May 68: Rethinking France’s Last Revolution (2011). His new book Ethics and Aesthetics in Contemporary African Cinema (forthcoming in March 2019 with Bloomsbury) explores the relations between politics, aesthetics and eroticism in sub-Saharan millennial cinema and considers new forms of cultural resistance and transformation. Through close readings of key works such as Life on Earth (1998), The Night of Truth (2004), Bamako (2006), Daratt (Dry Season) (2006), A Screaming Man (2010), Tey (Today) (2012), The Pirogue (2012), Mille soleils (2013) and Timbuktu (2014), I argue that contemporary African filmmakers are proposing propitious, ethical forms of relationality and intersubjectivity. These stimulate new modes of cultural resistance and transformation that serve to redefine the transnational and the cosmopolitan as well as the very notion of the political in postcolonial art cinema. James is currently working preparing for Routledge a collection entitled Queering the Migrant in Contemporary European Cinema which brings together 16 scholars working in different national film traditions. It is intended that this project form the basis of a major AHRC Networking Grant.

Prof Eric Robertson (SMLLC)

Victoria Mapplebeck (Media Arts)

Victoria Mapplebeck is a Reader in Digital Arts. Her research explores how multi-platform documentary has evolved since the late 1990s, from online interactive narratives to the immersive experiences offered by non fiction VR. Over the last four years, Victoria has begun to specialise in smartphone production and making short form online video with impact. Victoria is currently in production on a new smartphone short and VR project which explores illness and mortality from a patient’s POV, putting under the microscope what we can and what we can’t control when our bodies fail us.

Dr James Sloam (Politics and International Relations)

Dr Akil Awan (History)

Dr Sofia Collignon (Politics and International Relations)

Dr Nick Hall (Media Arts)

Dr Olga Goriunova (Media Arts)

Prof Daniela Berghahn (Media Arts)

Professor Daniela Berghahn (Department of Media Arts) is the Associate Dean for Research in the Arts & Social Sciences Faculty. She was Director of HARI between 2015-18 and was awarded two HARI Fellowships in the past entitled ‘Welcoming Strangers’  (2011-12) and ‘Exoticism in Contemporary Cinema and Culture’ (2016-17). Her research and teaching interests include national and transnational cinemas; migrant and diasporic cinema in Europe; German film history and culture; the relationship between film, history and memory; and representations of the family in cinema. She is currently working on a research project examining exoticism in contemporary transnational cinemas. Her book publications include Head-On/Gegen die Wand (BFI Film Classics 2015), Far-flung Families in Film: The Diasporic Family in Contemporary European Cinema (Edinburgh UP 2013), European Cinema in Motion: Migrant and Diasporic Film in Contemporary Europe (Palgrave Macmillan 2010) and Hollywood Behind the Wall: The Cinema of East Germany (Manchester UP 2005). 

Prof Nathan Widder (Politics and International Relations)


HARI senior fellows

Professor  E. Boehmer - Faculty of English, Oxford University

Professor T. Cave - St. John’s College, Oxford University

Dr A-L. Fortin-Tournes - Le Mans Université

HARI operates as both an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary Institute. Established over a decade ago, its explicit aim is to foster intellectual exchange between scholars of different disciplines.

It now hosts a wide range of collaborative projects, promoting events in central London locations and on Royal Holloway’s campus at Egham.

This page offers an introduction to this year’s research topics, with links to individual project pages.

For further information about the events and to book/register, please see the What’s On page.

If you're interested in applying for a Fellowship or Project Funding for the 2018/19 academic year please visit our funding pages.

If there is another way we can help, please do not hesitate to contact us.

HARI’s five funding streams, Fellowships, Projects, Research Centre Collaboration, Eminent Speaker Events and Ad Hoc Funding, aim to:

  • Provide funding for interdisciplinary research collaboration;
  • Stimulate the development of research projects that result in grant capture and/or Impact;
  • Serve as a dynamic platform for the exchange of knowledge and expertise with public organisations and industry stakeholders;
  • Foster a vibrant and inclusive research community that values the breadth and diversity of Royal Holloway’s research;
  • Enhance the public visibility of HARI’s research by organising high-profile events that attract national and international audiences;
  • Expand HARI’s internal and external networks via collaborations with Royal Holloway’s Research Centres; and
  • Provide dedicated support to the research leadership of early career researchers.

More information on our funding opportunities, and the application forms, can be found here.

For more information on the projects and events funded by HARI in previous years, please see the Past Projects page.

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