Development Fund Projects

IICE funds up to 4 Development Projects each year, designed to help facilitate research that is challenge-led and geared towards addressing global problems through attention to their cultural dimensions. These projects are initially modest in scale- though not in substance- enabling academics to build a solid research base, make links with external partners, and develop plans and financing for the longer term.

IICE Development Projects bring together interdisciplinary teams of researchers working with external partners constructing the basis for long-term, impactful projects.  A Call for Applications for IICE Development Projects is now live. 

Click to navigate to each of our recent projects below. 

  1. Whose Lives Matter? Race, Gender and Childhood in (Post-)Humanitarian Campaigning at Global and Local Levels: An interdisciplinary interrogation of virality and digital humanitarianism.
  2. Understanding How to Improve Support to Veterans During Transition into Civilian Life: deep-dive into the role of Culture and Heritage in supporting veterans during their life transitions.
  3. Diversity and Participation in South African Wildlife Tourism and Conservation: Understanding and addressing racialised barriers to participation in nature tourism and conservation in South Africa.
  4. Fragile Faiths: Promoting the cultural preservation of ethnoreligious groups displaced by war.

1.  Whose Lives Matter? Race, Gender and Childhood in (Post-)Humanitarian Campaigning at Global and Local Levels- A Case Study of #BringBackOurGirls.

Dr Stacey Hynd (History), Dr Elena Gadjanova (Politics), Dr Lewys Brace (Sociology, Philosophy & Anthropology), with Dr Sefina Dogo Aliyu (Politics & Anthropology). 

“Whose Lives Matter? Race, Gender and Childhood in (Post-)Humanitarian Campaigning at Global and Local Levels” is an interdisciplinary interrogation of virality and digital humanitarianism, through a case study of the “#Bring Back Our Girls phenomenon”, combining approaches from History, Ethnography, Sociology, and Political Science.

Dark hallway leading to a bright outdoor area, where a small child with pink clothes stands, facing the camera.  “On 14-15 April 2014, 276 teenage schoolgirls were kidnapped from their school by the militant Islamic group Boko Haram. In response to the abductions and the Nigerian government’s slow response, protests began in several Nigerian cities. The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls began trending among Nigerian Twitter users, before being appropriated by Western feminists. By late April 2014, ‘#BringBackOurGirls’ [#BBOG] had become a global phenomenon, with over one million tweets bearing that hashtag, the campaign buoyed by US First Lady Michelle Obama and schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai’s tweets in support. Yet whilst millions tweeted their support for the ‘Chibok Girls’, there was no similar outcry over abducted Nigerian boys, Yazidi girls sold into sexual slavery by ISIS, or displaced/migrant children in Latin America.

Why does the international community and global civil society care about some children, whilst the suffering of others goes unremarked? What is the political, cultural and emotional calculus of concern that determined which children are adjudged befitting of rescue? How and why do some humanitarian advocacy campaigns succeed in generating global or transnational concern, particularly in this social media age? And does concern and outrage among transnational civil society in turn translate into effective intervention?   Read More


2. Understanding How to Improve Support to Veterans During Transition into Civilian Life

Prof Gabriella Giannachi (Performance and New Media) , Dr Sarah Bulmer (Military Studies and International Relations), Dr Anke Karl (Psychology), Mark Littlewood (Armed Forces Hub South West) and Janine Whitley  (Armed Forces Hub South West)

This projectwhich comprised staff from Psychology, Politics and English, as well as staff from an Exeter-based support organisation, The Armed Forces Community Support Hub, is a deep-dive into the role of Culture and Heritage in supporting veterans during their transition from life in the military to civilian life. 

a window displays art work from veterans made throughout this project“This project, which comprised staff from Psychology, Politics and English, as well as staff from an Exeter based support organisation, The Armed Forces Community Support Hub, looked into how best to improve the process of transitioning from the armed forces back into civilian life. The team supported the Hub in developing a literature review and conducting 13 interviews to service leavers who were also clients of the Hub. Preliminary findings then helped the Hub to prepare a Government facing document proposing a more structured approach to transitioning and outlining the value of culture and heritage in this process. The funding also led to the production of an art exhibition which due to the pandemic, was held online and is now available on the Hub’s website.”

– Giannachi et al.


3. Diversity & Participation in South African Wildlife Tourism and Conservation: Race, Culture, Performance

Dr Michael Pearce, Prof Tim Coles and Dr Evelyn O’Malley 

This interdisciplinary project- which brings together an international team with backgrounds in theatre and performance studies, tourism and business management, geography and cultural heritage, along with government and industry stakeholders- is focused on understanding and addressing racialised barriers to participation in nature tourism and conservation in South Africa.  

“This research project is focused on understanding and addressing racialised barriers to participation in nature tourism and conservation in South Africa. Underpinning the project is the hypothesis that increased domestic tourism by black South Africans could aid long-term and sustainable biodiversity conservation efforts. The International Institute for Cultural Enquiry (IICE) Development Fund will support pump-priming activity in South Africa, bringing together an international team with backgrounds in theatre and performance studies, tourism and business management, geography and cultural heritage as well as with government and industry stakeholders, including South Africa National Parks. This project positions theatre and performance alongside social scientific methods as an ideal area of exploration and practice to understand and address how racial discrimination operates implicitly through culture to produce inequality of access to environmental assets such as national parks and marginalisation from conservation practices.”

– Pearce et al.


4. ‘Fragile Faiths’

Prof Christine Robins (Kurdish Studies) and Prof Emma Loosley (Theology)

This project comprises of a comparative study of processes of continuity and change in the ‘fragile faiths,’- a term here applied to certain ethnoreligious groups violently displaced by war, placing their cultural survival in doubt- with essential participation from community members as researchers and partners.  Its aims are not to ‘save’ fragile faiths, but to promote cultural preservation where deemed appropriate, and to share community strategies on managing cultural change whilst preserving identity 

hand, in prayer position, points upwards, barely perceptible in dark image“We coined the term ‘fragile faiths’ to apply to certain ethnoreligious groups violently displaced by war in Iraq and Syria, which placed their cultural survival in doubt. They share certain attributes which render their cultural continuity uncertain when displaced – endogamy as a basis for identity, a strong religious attachment to place within the homeland and (for many) limited distribution of religious knowledge across the community. Among the ‘fragile faiths’ are: Yezidis, Mandaeans (aka Sabians), Yaresani/Ahl-e Haqq/Kakai; certain groups of Alawites, Shabaks, Alevis ; Zoroastrians, (including Parsis), and Druze; and even ‘non-heterodox’ groups such as Syrian Christians.

Our project will comprise a comparative study of processes of continuity and change in the ‘fragile faiths,’ with essential participation from community members as researchers and partners.  Its aims are not to ‘save’ fragile faiths but to promote cultural preservation where deemed appropriate and to share community strategies on managing cultural change whilst preserving identity.  Our workshop begins this by placing members of Yezidi, Mandaean and Syrian Christian groups in dialogue with each other to identify common concerns. Then, they will feed back to parliamentarians.”

– Robins et al.