The Beyond Text strategic programme was developed in 2007 following a period of consultation with the arts and humanities research communities which identified visual communication, sensory perception, orality and material culture as key concerns for 21st century scholarship and the wider community.
It recognises that today's digital culture means that communication is more rapid and often more transitory than ever before; performances, sounds, images and objects circulate swiftly on a global scale only to be replaced by even newer versions. Who controls and manages this material and its dissemination is now a key political, economic and legal question. Yet these are not new problems but ones with long historical roots.
Beyond Text will create a collaborative, multi-disciplinary research community to work with those outside Higher Education on these issues. The programme will help inform and inflect public policy relating to our cultural and creative heritages and futures; it can also, for example, help inform educational practice at a time when traditional notions of literacy are being challenged by advances in communication technology. The programme will also foster public understanding of the many oral/aural, material and visual forms in which creativity has been generated and used.
Finally, in bringing together those who create works and those who preserve, display and study them, the programme will break down traditional boundaries between practice-led or practice-based research and other forms of investigation.
The £5.5 million programme will run for 5 years until May 2012. You can find the full programme specification here.