Faculty research themes

Our faculty themes reflect, inform and underpin our research, learning and teaching activity.

A statue of the ancient philosopher Socrates.
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Engaged humanities

We have a proud record of engaging the wider community in our research and teaching, from strategic partnerships with major institutions such as Chatsworth House and the National Civil War Centre, to collaborations with diverse local civic groups. We share the design and delivery of projects to produce high quality work that has impact and relevance.

In practice

To understand a city one needs to study both the stories of local lives, and the spaces within them. Storying Sheffield is about narrative, community, wellbeing, mental health and place.

Storying Sheffield


Political and social change

Using a diversity of methods, our approach to political and social cultures is always collaborative and often international. The big issues that we address transcend intellectual and national boundaries. Our research and teaching is designed to be mutually beneficial, enriching the experience of our academics while providing added value to our partners.

In practice

Seeking to foster interdisciplinary dialogue between scholars from the Soviet Union, Asia, Europe and the United States, working on different aspects of the Cold War.

Cultures of the Cold War


Digital humanities

By developing digital technologies, we are transforming research and teaching in the Arts and Humanities. Sheffield’s academics are pioneering new perspectives and opening up new intellectual territory. We are devising tools to provide the widest possible access to material and creative thinking, and tackling the big issues of identity, cultural memory and intellectual property.

In practice

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 is a database of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court.

Old Bailey online


Cognitive practice

Our studies of how humans gain knowledge and understanding – and the mental processes that stimulate creativity and help shape our beliefs and attitudes – is a collaborative process that crosses disciplinary boundaries. Whether we are grappling with intractable philosophical issues, or finding a common language between linguists and digital modellers, our academics know the value of working together.

In practice

Supporting collaborative research on fundamental issues concerning the nature of cognition.

Hang Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies


Diversities of practice

Within our disciplines we emphasise variety, breadth, risk-taking and difference. Diversity characterises our understanding of the Arts and Humanities and encompasses our practices, our modes of teaching and research, and our approaches to our Faculty Themes and their practical and intellectual applications.

In practice

Combining expertise and methodologies from music theory, psychology and computer science to investigate cognitive processes underlying the perception and performance of music.

Music Mind Machine

REF 2021 illustration

Research Excellence Framework 2021 results

The results demonstrate our research and impact excellence across a broad range of disciplines and confirm that our research is having a significant positive impact on lives across the globe.