Urban Humanities


Awarded: 2021

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Christina Horvath, Bryan Clift
University of Bristol: Maria Fannin, James Duminy
Cardiff University: Julian Brigstocke, Gary Bridge
University of Exeter: Jason Baskin (PI)

Project overview

Our GW4 community brings together a cross-disciplinary group of scholars to establish the research area of the Urban Humanities, which is critical, we contend, to understanding the full complexity of urban change in the twenty-first century.


Over the last two decades, scholars have heralded the arrival of a new “urban age”, as the dynamic processes of urbanization now reach across the planet and condition the lives of most human beings. Increasingly, social, cultural and political issues—from health and biological reproduction, to ecological sustainability and economic inequality—are contested at the urban scale. These real historical changes have created an urgent need for new, cross-disciplinary critical frameworks and modes of collaborative research.

Our GW4 community responds to this need by identifying and synthesizing the range of innovative, urban-centred research already taking place at our individual institutions, not only in geography and the social sciences but across the humanities, arts and sciences as well. Our core group includes urban literary and cultural critics, geographers, and social scientists with a wealth of experience in humanities-oriented methodologies and expertise in various areas of urban studies. Specific themes to be addressed will be determined in the course of our activities, but may include some of the following: “The South West as Urban Region,” “Post-Pandemic Cities” and “Global Urban Health and Reproductive Politics.”

Project summary

By creating a new space for meaningful and sustained cross-disciplinary research collaboration within the GW4, we aim to substantially increase the visibility of urban studies in the South West. Our community will create a stakeholder map of existing partnerships and networks to guide and identify key areas of future strategic priority and support new collaborations among our members, as well as with non-HE partners. We will hold a “Summer Seminar Series in the Urban Humanities” in June/July, and a one-day symposium in the fall to further explore specific areas of common interest.

Community site (GW4 Portal)