The Arts and Humanities help us to grapple with life’s challenges, to understand its paradoxes and to celebrate its beauty; they have given us many of our greatest, most inspiring, and most comforting achievements. Those of us who have the privilege of time to study these subjects know their creative, social and economic value – they teach us to think about the technological advances and social and ethical challenges of our times and to find creative, human-centred responses to them.

Catherine O’Leary is Professor of Spanish and Dean of Arts and Divinity at the University of St Andrews. She has published widely on contemporary Spanish literature, and has particular interests in theatre censorship, gender and identity, and exile and cultural memory. She is Director of the St Andrews interdisciplinary Cultural Identity and Memory Studies Institute (CIMS). A graduate of Dublin City University and University College Dublin, she worked at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, before moving to Scotland in 2013.