South West regional centre for secrecy, security and society research


This community later received Generator Funding for the project: SPIN (Secrecy, Power, and Ignorance Research Network)

Project period: February – June 2019 

GW4 community leads 
University of Bath: Brett Edwards 
University of Bristol: Elspeth Van Veeren (PI) 
Cardiff University: Claudia Hillebrand 
University of Exeter: Brian Rappert 

Project overview 

The GW4 community aims to establish a regional, national and international centre of excellence in the innovative research area of secrecy and ignorance.   

Twitter: @research_SPIN


iTunes podcast series: SPIN 


In recent years, with revelations associated with the war on terror and the #metoo movement, calls for transparency and ‘open societies’, new technological developments (including machine learning and ‘deep fakes’), the emergence of discourses of ‘fake news’, and the deepening of conspiracy cultures have resulted in an increased recognition for the need to understand the political and social dimensions of secrecy and ignorance.  

Project summary 

This network seeks to develop a community of scholars across the GW4 area with expertise in these areas, working towards the creation of a regional, national and international centre of excellence in this innovative area of research.  The SPIN network addresses four GW4 Grand Challenge areas: 6) Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies; 7) Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of nations, society and citizens; 8) Living in a digital world; and 10) Social justice and inequality, local, and global. Through a series of meetings and networking events over this award the community brings together distinct clusters of expertise in secrecy, security and society including: ignorance and security, cultures of secrecy and security studies, law and secrecy, technology, security and secrecy, and intelligence studies, and with regional expertise and networks in the US, Europe, the Sahel region in North Africa, as well as in the domains of cybersecurity, government transparency, maritime security, counter-terrorism and organised crime.   

Community site (GW4 Portal)