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Humanities Research Network launched

12 October 2004

Humanities Research Network launched

A network and website to support and boost the work of New Zealand's researchers in the humanities is to be launched this week at Victoria University.

The Humanities Research Network, an initiative of the Humanities Society of New Zealand Te Whainga Aronui, will be launched by Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer, former Prime Minister and founding Partner and Consultant of Chen Palmer and Partners, on Friday October 15 in Victoria's Hunter Council Chamber.

The launch will be preceded by a half-day seminar with speakers including Toss Gascoigne, Executive Director of the Australian Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and John Byron, Executive Director of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. The full list of speakers is attached.
HUMANZ President Jonathan Mané-Wheoki said the network aimed to provide a "one-stop-shop" for those engaged in the humanities in New Zealand.

"Regardless of where humanities or aronui researchers work, whether in universities, museums, libraries or privately, they can make themselves and their interests known to others and can access a comprehensive range of information about the sector in New Zealand and internationally."

Mr Mané-Wheoki said this "virtual infrastructure" was a major step in strengthening the humanities and aronui as a critical part of New Zealand's research and development capability.

"The Performance-Based Research Fund outcomes conclusively revealed how underdeveloped the infrastructure available to the humanities is compared to the sciences in funding for research, support for research publications, participation in international exchanges and provision of awards for distinction.

"In a world where technology and science are daily transforming our lives, the role of the humanities in helping us to understand what it means to be human is becoming increasingly important. By providing new ways of interpreting culturally significant 'texts' – whether they're books, television programmes, newspapers, architectural drawings, laws or works of art – the humanities connect new generations to the foundations of their culture."

Mr Mané-Wheoki said the network would also be open to those working in the arts and social sciences, and other related fields like law, given the overlaps between the disciplines.

The Network can be viewed after the launch at www.humanitiesresearch.net.

Media are welcome to attend the seminar and launch on Friday October 15 in the Hunter Council Chamber, Level 2, Hunter Building, Victoria University, Kelburn Parade. See the attached programme for further details.

Notes:

Toss Gascoigne

Toss Gascoigne is the inaugural Executive Director of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences in Australia.

The Council has already won funding of $1 million from the Australian Government and has been invited to lead two major studies into the sector. From 1995-2003, Mr Gascoigne was Executive Director of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, which he built into the peak council that represents 65,000 working scientists in Australia.

He has a long-standing interest in science communication and is President of the Australian Science Communicators and a member of the Executive International Network for the Public Communication of Science and Technology. His innovations include "Science meets Parliament" Day events and science forums at the National Press Club.

ENDS

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