Acceptance speech

Humanities academics awarded for the impact of their research

The inaugural Exeter Impact Awards, held on 7 December in the University’s Great Hall, celebrated the impact of academics at the University and their collaborators across the world.

The awards are a new initiative bringing together academics and external organisations focusing on research projects at the highest level, and recognising successes in knowledge exchange, collaborative working and partnership which have taken research from Higher Education and benefitted the wider economy and society.

Achievements were recognised in seven categories with a keynote speech from Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of HEFCE.

Outstanding Social & Cultural Impact Humanities researchers Dr Kate Fisher (History) and Dr Rebecca Langlands (Classics) received the Outstanding Social & Cultural Impact Award for their research entitled “Let’s talk about sex and history”, which took their work on past sexual practices and empowered people of all ages to talk more openly about sex.

Using collections of objects from past cultures such as ancient Rome or China, the pair stimulated discussions about sex amongst the general public which showcase global cultural diversity, providing historical distance and demonstrating that sex has been a concern for centuries.

Activities undertaken within the project included a successful exhibition, ‘Revealing Collections’, which received around 20,000 visitors at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, and a well-received sex education resource, Talking Sex, which is currently trialling in over 40 schools across Devon and Cornwall.

“We are thrilled to have won recognition for our exciting work bringing erotic objects out of museum storerooms to spark constructive debates about contemporary sexual issues. We can’t wait to forge new relationships with the health and education sectors to realize the potential of museum collections to deliver social and cultural benefits.”

Date: 15 December 2011

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