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Welcome to the International Institute for Cultural Enquiry

Welcome to the International Institute for Cultural Enquiry at the University of Exeter.

Cultural enquiry is at the centre of the IICE’s aims – but we are not (too) doctrinaire about what this means.  Our remit is interdisciplinary research into culture, working within academia – but also with external partners – cultural producers and practitioners – to develop both applied and curiosity driven research.

What is cultural enquiry?  We work with a broad definition: cultural enquiry is, for us, investigating the behaviours, beliefs, values, symbols and material effects of human animals. Question the wording; debate the reference.  That is, in part, the point of a working definition. Most likely, the Institute’s footprint activity will determine our definition in the long term – that is, we will be using a practice-based approach.

What do we do?  The IICE provides opportunities to researchers to carry out cultural enquiry. This puts humanities research at IICE’s core, but social science disciplines have a crucial role to play. Key in all this is interdisciplinarity: that means collaborative research projects working across departments and disciplines.  Naturally, this will be within humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) disciplines; but many of the most pressing research questions require collaboration with so-called STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). IICE also promotes external engagement – working beyond academia with global partners in creative industries, business and government.

Our activities: IICE sponsors research projects, seminars and public events with multiple methodologies.  We work across disciplines, but also using different research approaches. Our research may be curiosity driven; or an urgent global issue may drive our research.  Sometimes questions can only be answered with large-scale collaborative teams of academics and practitioners; at others, a researcher just needs a space to think, write and test their ideas.  It is these mixed research methods that IICE promotes – have a look at our schemes, activities and events on this site.

Professor Rob Gleave – Director

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