We believe that all disciplinary areas within the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science (PRHS) have the potential to bring benefits to non-academic groups and organisations through outstanding research and collaboration. We build on existing areas of strength to create a broad-based impact and innovation culture that underpins academic activities across PRHS and its disciplinary areas, helping our academics to identify the wider benefits of their work and the potential for collaborative working, whatever the subject. The School of PRHS seeks to nurture high quality and innovative research, teaching and public engagement that tackles issues of local, national and global importance as the key to successful and sustainable impact.
Examples of recent and ongoing impact across the School include:
- Reconsidering the continuity between humans and animals. As part of the Persons as Animals project Professor Helen Steward and Dr Léa Salje worked in collaboration with Chester Zoo to explore whether we see ourselves as part of the animal kingdom or as somehow distinct.
- Unlocking creative potential in young people. Professor Matthew Kieran has been carrying out pilot studies in collaboration with the youth marketing agency Livity, helping to identify the barriers to creativity in young people and develop new ways of unlocking creative potential.
- Dancing, coffee and taste. Dr Aaron Meskin has been working with contemporary dance groups in Leeds through his project Philosophizing Improvisation. This innovative collaboration with dancers from Improvisation Exchange Leeds and Yorkshire Dance fuses the practice of dance with cutting edge research in the philosophy of art.
- Influencing the ethics of the professions. Colleagues in the Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (IDEA CETL), in conjunction with staff members of the Centre for Ethics and Metaethics, have developed a range of resources on applied ethics in the professions, and regularly sponsor workshops and other meetings that bring together philosophers, practitioners and interested members of the public.
History and Philosophy of Science
- Rethinking the role of Mendel in the teaching of genetics. Professor Greg Radick of the Centre for HPS has been testing alternative ways of introducing themes in genetics, questioning whether our belief in the power of genes stems from established teaching practices.
- Helping organizations adapt to changing cultural values. Colleagues in the Centre for HPS have secured a large number of AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards to help partner organizations including British Telecom, Action on Hearing Loss and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany to investigate their own histories in order to make more effective use of the lessons of the past in meeting the challenges of the present and future. Further projects starting in 2016 include a history of the stethoscope in Britain with the Science Museum and a study of biologist John Maynard Smith in collaboration with the British Library.
- History and Philosophy of Science in 20 Objects. Our innovative public lecture series ran throughout 2016 and 2017, drawing on collections in the Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine to explore how scientific ideas and practices have shaped and been shaped by the world in which we live. The lectures are all available online here.
Theology and Religious Studies
- Shaping public understanding of a multi-faith society. Since with the launch of the Community Religions Project in 1976, and today continuing through the work of the Centre for Religion and Public Life, Leeds TRS has undertaken research that has effected improvements in the representation and public understanding of religion in Britain.
- Advancing global church conversations on sexuality. This research on Christianity and sexuality has changed both the form and content of church discussions of sexuality, mainly but not exclusively within the global Anglican Communion.
- Reconsidering 'radicalism' amongst British Sikhs. Dr Jasjit Singh has recently published a groundbreaking report investigating the extent to which members of the British Sikh community are being 'radicalised'. He is working closely with community groups, government and media to share his research findings.