Call for Applications: CIFAR and The British Academy Knowledge Frontiers Symposium


Deadline: Wednesday 6 May at 17.00 (UK time)

Vebue: 8-10 December 2020, Canada

1. CIFAR and the British Academy are inviting applications for early career researchers in the humanities and social sciences to attend a research collaboration symposium on the broad theme of ‘Security’.
2. The symposium aims to encourage and establish international engagement and
collaboration between early career researchers from Canada and the United Kingdom from a broad range of disciplines within the humanities and social sciences, encouraging the exchange of ideas across both disciplinary and national boundaries.

Purpose and Focus
3. This symposium will aim to draw on the insights of the humanities and social sciences to explore varied understandings and experiences of security, and how security can be and has been conceptualised, represented, lived and addressed. Security is, and has always been, a major factor determining the shape and contours of the lives and cultures of people, communities and nations. The study of security can bring to bear insights from across the humanities and social sciences including literature, philosophy, religion and history. Security can be understood in many ways and at different societal, cultural and economic levels. Security itself can also have positive and negative connotations with direct and indirect effects and impacts.
4. This symposium will have a particular focus in its sessions on:
- Notions and representations of security;
- The drivers of security and insecurity;
- The relationship between security and governance, security and justice, and security and freedom.
- These topics and others are intended as a starting point for discussion and

Notions and representations of security: Our own security is of fundamental concern to each of us, however, notions of security differ widely between individuals and within and across societies, economies and politics both today and in the past. State security for example has been juxtaposed with human security, whilst a lack of security can be seen as ungoverned space or governance by other means. The notion of security and its various representations is thus often contested and challenged. For example, the securitisation of policy challenges such as climate change, health, inequality and terrorism has provoked significant debate in recent times. In some cases, both today and historically, notions and representations of security have been used to support the stability of some but also to legitimise the insecurity of others.

The drivers of security and insecurity: The root causes of insecurity in different contexts across time and place are varied. What lessons can be drawn from the  interactions between cultural, historical, economic and political factors in driving security and/or insecurity? With no single straightforward cause, what drives (in)security and the relationships this has with prevailing socioeconomic factors? This is key to our understanding of how individuals, governments and non-governmental actors perceive their own security and cope in contexts of insecurity. For example, in a context of conflict or crisis how can, and how historically has, the relationship between security and insecurity be assisted or exacerbated by local and international interventions, and what impact can this have on those living there? Drivers of insecurity can have also long histories and stories that can affect the trajectory of peace and conflict.

Security and governance, security and justice, security and freedom: Security is often synonymous with authority and the monopoly of violence. Security is not, however, an isolated concept and it vitally interacts with other nodes of power, cultural activity, social norms, philosophies, religions, economic functions, and traditional practice. The interrelationship of security with other forms of activity, life and study is important to our understanding of how security is perceived and experienced. The relationship between security and governance, security and justice, and security and freedom is one part of this discussion. How have and are the tensions between these concepts remedied or not? How can the understanding and interplay of such concepts impact positively or negatively the experience of those living in different contexts? And how have these concepts been understood differently over place and time, and with what implications?
5. The symposium format will allow for extensive discussion and debate, with considerable time set aside for this and wider networking opportunities.
6. The symposium will also provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about the work of CIFAR and the British Academy, and understand what opportunities exist to work with them.

The Symposium
7. The symposium will bring together around thirty early career researchers (understood as up to ten years after obtaining a PhD) based in the UK and Canada from across the humanities and social sciences to discuss key questions around the theme of ‘Security’. The symposium is designed specifically to encourage collaboration and networking between early career researchers. In advance of the symposium, participants will be able to discuss their research and exchange ideas among themselves; begin to discuss the session themes; and make connections for possible future activities.
8. In order to stimulate long-term collaboration and networking, seed funding will be made available for which participants can apply. These collaborations must be international in their composition and can be either partnerships or groups. Time will be set aside on the final day of the forum for a ‘sandpit’ style session in which participants write up their proposed collaboration and submit applications by the end of the session. The application form for seed funding will be circulated in advance of the symposium to ensure participants are fully aware of the opportunity and requirements.
9. In addition to funding several collaborative proposals, the symposium will aim to provide opportunities for a range of other outputs. Participants, for example, could contribute to a publication focused on the symposium theme, either through individual papers or in partnership with other symposium participants, record audio outputs or write posts that will be compiled into an online blog series dedicated to the symposium.

10. For the purpose of this symposium, early career is defined as being within a ten-year period of the award of the applicant’s doctorate (or equivalent research experience).
11. Participants must be based at institutions in Canada or the United Kingdom, or be part of the CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars programme.
12. Participants must have fluency in spoken and written English.
13. Participants must be able to travel on dates and times, and on flights or other modes of transportation chosen by the British Academy and CIFAR. Where feasible, train travel is strongly encouraged.
14. Attendance is mandatory for the entire symposium. If this is not met it will result in a participant not being eligible for the seed funding available.
15. UK-based attendees may only participate in two British Academy Knowledge Frontiers Symposia in any 24-month period.

Selection Criteria
16. Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:
• Proven research interest and/or experience in the symposium’s theme;
• Commitment to interdisciplinary engagement and research;
• Value of symposium to applicant’s career development.

Application Process
17. Applicants should provide a completed application form, including:
• A CV which should not exceed two pages;
• A one-page summary of their initial thoughts on the theme of security which could include discussion on one or more of the three outlined topics above;
• An outline of what disciplinary and interdisciplinary skills and/or experience they
would contribute to the symposium; and how the symposium could help to develop their own research and career.
18. Applications must be submitted online using the British Academy's Grant Management System (GMS), Flexi-Grant®.
19. We will seek to notify successful applicants by July 2020.

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