A blog for students funded by a cross institutional scheme through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to train a new generation of skilled researchers. Offering postgraduate studentships and training across the full range of the AHRC’s disciplines. All views are those of students and are not necessarily those of the NWCDTP.
What is the group/network about?
The research network is called ‘Technology, Terrorism and Armed Conflict in the 21st Century’ it is focussed on cutting-edge innovation in these areas, and looks at how they influence, impact and change each other. For instance, armed drones are being used against and also by terrorist groups, cyber-attacks are being launched by individual hackers, and the line between war and peace is blurring significantly. The research network looks at all of these issues and more to really try to understand not only what is happening right now, but what might happen in the near future.
A number of the initial conversations about the network were with people both in the North West, and abroad, so we decided to try a global-local model and have in-person reading groups for those researchers who live locally to the North West, and also have an online portion of the reading group that is open to all so that international scholars can join in the conversations and add their voice to the network.
What inspired you to set it up?
I had a number of really fascinating conversations with different people from a broad range of subject areas all looking at similar things to the interests of the network. We all generated lots of ideas for further research, both for individual and collaborative work, and thought it would be great to open it out to more people. So that’s precisely what we did.
We’re hoping that the network will result in people coming together both to share and to challenge ideas, concepts, and ways of thinking about the subject areas. Ideally, this will result in a number of collaborative pieces being written which will then be presented at the research networks own conference, and possibly sent on to government policy advisors.
What kinds of research interests do those who are in the network have?
Network members are really from all over the arts, humanities, and social sciences. We have a lot of researchers in international law, as that is who the initial conversations began with. But we also have a number of people looking at philosophy, political science, creative writing, war studies, and peace studies.
The inter-disciplinary nature of the network was also something I wanted to preserve, as I found that some of the most interesting and productive ideas came from discussing concepts and issues with people from outside my subject area, and hoped that others would as well. It seems like most of the network members enjoy it as well!
It’s early days but…how’s it going?
So far, the network is progressing well. We’ve had a number of people from different countries email in and ask to join, which is really nice to see. It’s also very rewarding to have people you’ve never met come forward, ask to join, and then give up their precious time to be a part of this.
Any unexpected hitches or unanticipated pleasures?
Yes, a hitch was the quick realisation that not everybody was as enthusiastic as I was about inter-disciplinary research from a broad range of subjects. I was a bit surprised when a couple of early network members left the network to stay quite narrowly focussed on issues in their thesis. But, each to their own!
Conversely, I was pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of other students, researchers, and also some policy contacts were really interested in the network. Their intrigue and excitement to get involved and see what the network could do was really encouraging.
Anything else you’d like to say about the network?
(Interview by Pete Kalu)
Joshua Hughes’ one minute description of his PhD research can be found on the NWCDTP youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx0nmPVJP5Y