The British Academy and the UK-China Humanities Alliance are inviting applications for early career researchers in the humanities and social sciences to attend a research collaboration symposium on the theme of ‘Cities in Literary Imagination’. The symposium aims to incentivise and establish international engagement and collaboration between early career researchers based in China and the UK, encouraging the exchange of ideas across both disciplinary and national boundaries.
Purpose and Focus

The symposium will explore how the city has been (re-)imagined in literary traditions around the world, and the ways in which these imaginaries align with concepts and predictions to have emerged out of other disciplines within the humanities and social sciences.
The symposium will enable early career researchers from the UK and China to bring multiple disciplinary and cross-regional insights to our understanding of the city. The objective will not be to present a comprehensive history or a common understanding of future cities, but to provide a platform for a variety of perspectives on a selection of connected topics. The format of the symposium will allow for extensive discussion and debate with considerable time set aside for this and wider networking opportunities. It will also provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about the different programmes and activities of the UK-China Humanities Alliance and the British Academy.

The Symposium

The symposium will convene approximately 25 early career researchers – for these purposes defined as up to seven years after obtaining a PhD – from across the humanities and social sciences. The symposium is designed to specifically encourage collaboration and networking between early career researchers based in China and the UK, and across disciplinary boundaries. In advance of the symposium, participants will be able to discuss their research and exchange ideas between themselves; begin to discuss the session themes; and make connections for possible future activities.

In order to incentivise collaboration and networking, seed funding will be made available for participants to bid for. These collaborations must be international in their makeup, and can be either partnerships or groups. Time will be set aside on the final day of the symposium for a ‘sandpit’ style session in which participants write up their proposed collaboration and submit applications by the end of the session. The application form for seed funding will be circulated in advance of the symposium to ensure participants are fully aware of the opportunity and requirements.

In addition to funding a number of collaborative proposals, the symposium will aim to provide opportunities for a range of other outputs. Participants, for example, could be invited to contribute to a publication focused on the symposium theme, either through individual papers or in partnership with other symposium participants, record audio outputs or write posts that will be compiled into a series dedicated to the symposium.

Application Process

Applicants should provide:
• A CV which should not exceed two pages;
• A one-page summary of their initial thoughts on the theme of ‘Cities in Literary Imagination’;
• A one-page justification of why they are interested in the theme of ‘Cities in Literary Imagination’ based on their research and/or teaching areas; what disciplinary and interdisciplinary skills and/or experience they would contribute to the symposium; and how the symposium would help to develop their research and career goals.
Applicants must submit these documents in Word format individually, and combined as a PDF.

Applications should be sent to no later than 5pm GMT on Thursday 2 May 2019. We will seek to notify successful applicants by the end of May 2019.

Further Information

Further information is available from Christina Moorhouse at

About the British Academy

The British Academy is the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences – the study of peoples, cultures and societies, past, present, and future. The British Academy’s purpose is to inspire and support high achievement in the humanities and social sciences throughout the UK and internationally, and to promote their public value. We have three principal roles:
• A Fellowship of distinguished scholars from all areas of the humanities and social sciences, elected by their peers, that facilitates the exchange of knowledge and ideas and promotes the work of our subjects.
• A Funding Body that supports the best ideas, individuals and intellectual resources in the humanities and social sciences, nationally and internationally.
• A Forum for debate and engagement and engagement that stimulates public interest and deepens understandings, that enhances global leadership and policy making, and that acts as a voice for the humanities and social sciences.

About the UK-China Humanities Alliance

The UK-China Humanities Alliance is an international organisation for humanities in higher education initiated by Tsinghua University, and co-founded by twelve leading institutions in China and the UK. Founding members share the recognition that humanistic knowledge production and humanities exchange in international relations has an enduring and ever-increasing importance in promoting mutually enabling dialogues among individuals and communities in and across different regions, countries, cultural traditions and civilizational genealogies. Furthermore, founding members believe that universities have a unique capacity and responsibility to provide high-quality research and education, lead humanities exchange, and prepare future leaders with a comprehensive understanding of the complex and defining issues of our times. The Secretariat of the Alliance is housed at the Tsinghua Institute for World Literatures and Cultures (IWLC).