We are delighted to officially welcome Robert Gordon University to the membership of the Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance. The university is represented on the Steering Group by Dr Jon Blackwood (pictured here). We include below a reflective piece prepared by Dr Blackwood (reproduced with permission from RGU).

Spotlight on Arts and Humanities as RGU joins Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance

Reader & Research Lead at Gray’s School of Art, Dr Jon Blackwood, who now sits on the Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance (SAHA) Executive, reflects on the significance of RGU joining the alliance and highlights how the Arts and Humanities, can offer a useful lens to tackle big societal challenges.

The Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance (SAHA) is a joint initiative of Scottish Higher Education institutions, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities. It aims to give a public and collective voice to the Arts and Humanities in the context of Higher Education. This reflective alliance sets agendas and responds to current concerns as part of a drive to engage policy makers and the general public to engage with the arts.

RGU has joined the Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance (SAHA), and with our new membership, comes new opportunities to join leading voices in the Arts & Humanities. We will have greater stake in influencing public debate and shaping the policy agenda on key areas across the arts but also on wider issues.

The Arts and Humanities play a central role in responding to the challenges of society, offering in depth solutions from alternative thinkers. In the past, the alliance has tackled important topical debates such as the economic and societal recovery post-Covid, climate change and the role of digital futures and the cultural economy. It also offers new solutions and ideas from independent thinkers that will aid a post pandemic recover and offer a recovery that is culturally rich and economically viable.

Since joining SAHA this year, RGU has contributed to an innovative new podcast series, #SAHAInsights. The series, led by SAHA, has brought historians together to discuss the #Ukranian conflict offering in-depth analysis that delves into the shared history of Russia and Ukraine, as part of a series to help shape our understanding of the current conflict.

As part of the Alliance, Gray’s School of Art has also hosted a panel discussion on the crisis in Ukraine. The panel talked through the origins and development of the crisis and feature personal reflections, the impact on the world of art and culture, and the effects felt in neighbouring countries. Further, Gray’s collaborated with the School of Computing and the People’s Consulate of Belarus in Scotland at the end of March, in a discussion on the ethics of cyber-hacking, in the context of the work of the Belarusian cyber-partisans.

RGU’s membership of SAHA reflects RGU’s commitment to enrich culture and the arts in demonstrating, through research, practice, and public engagement, the centrality of arts and humanities in pressing discourses such as building strong communities, the climate emergency and big data.

To find out more about SAHA follow the alliance on Twitter or Facebook.