Beyond Text has been two years in development. A broad consultation with the arts and humanities communities concerning strategic priorities was held in early 2005. Over 140 ideas for new strategic initiatives were submitted, including themes such as 'the transition from print to visual culture', 'memory, culture and museums', and 'the uses of non-textual culture'.
The AHRC's Strategic Advisory Group considered the full range of themes submitted and short-listed six. One of these was 'Non-Textual Cultures'. This theme was developed further and Council approved funding for 'Beyond Text' in December 2005. An outline consultation framework was developed between 2005 and 2007.
Two consultative workshops followed over the spring and summer of 2007 and a call for further input took place on the AHRC website. The Programme Specification was agreed by the steering committee in autumn 2007.
The £5.5 million programme will run for 5 years until May 2012 under the oversight and management of the programme director and a steering committee.
The programme will be commissioned in two phases. The first call for applications for Networks and Workshops, Collaborative Doctoral Awards and Large Grants will be issued in October 2007. A second call will be issued in early 2009 for Small Grants. In addition, there will be support available for post-graduate led conferences from 2009.
All applications will be peer-reviewed and specially convened panels will make the final funding decisions. In addition to specific research projects, workshops and networks, and studentships, the programme will also support its own networking events, open forums for discussion and postgraduate student conferences.
An interactive website will publicise information about these, to feature projects, to make connections, and to disseminate research. The Beyond Text 5 year timeline can be found here.