A report published in June by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Leading the World: The Economic Impact of UK Arts and Humanities Research, attempts to address this misconception. “The impact of arts and humanities research goes far beyond the reaches of academia,” it claims.

The study highlights examples of the profitable work that academics are doing with business, industry and the culture sector. It cites an essay by Mary Beard, the renowned University of Cambridge classicist, who demonstrated that UK academic research into Greek and Latin had fed directly into a variety of plays that deal with classical themes and which have enjoyed commercial success, such as Tony Harrison’s 2008 production of Fram at the Olivier Theatre in London. Research carried out in the academy by historians of religion adds to an awareness of our religious past, with this knowledge providing, the report says, a “valuable corrective” to simplistic, short-term solutions to present-day religious and political problems, and offers context for debates about British identity

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