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Institute's new chief appointed

Press release issued: 3 June 2003

The next Provost of Bristol University's Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) will be Professor Martin White.

The next Provost of Bristol University's Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) will be Professor Martin White. He has been appointed from 1 August 2003, and succeeds Professor Bernard Silverman, who is leaving the University to become Master of St Peter's College, Oxford.

Martin White is Professor of Theatre in the University's Department of Drama: Theatre, Film, Television - the highest-rated drama department in the UK in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise.

The Institute, which occupies part of the 18th-century Royal Fort House in Clifton, is dedicated to helping University departments fulfil their research potential. Visits by international researchers, seminars and interdisciplinary collaborations are among the activities it facilitates, and the Institute's residential accommodation in University Walk provides further resource to visiting scholars.

Professor White said: 'The IAS can bring an extra dimension to research by enabling people from different academic traditions and different countries to engage in lively collaboration. I'm particularly interested in the increasing erosion of boundaries between disciplines. Some of the most exciting work emerges at the interface between disciplines, and it's a key part of the Institute's role to create conditions under which people can come together to generate ideas that might otherwise never see the light of day.

'I look forward to engaging with colleagues in all faculties to explore how the Institute can support and foster their research aims. I hope, too, that the Institute will itself be a source of ideas for projects that will link with the interests of researchers in Bristol, elsewhere in the UK and around the world.'

Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor, said: 'The IAS has a very distinctive role. It can be the catalyst for joint working on an international basis and a flagship for research at the highest cross-disciplinary level. I'm confident Martin is the person to build on the Institute's considerable achievements.'

Professor White headed the Department of Drama from 1992 to 1998 and was Graduate Dean of Arts from 1999 to 2002. He served for four years on an Arts and Humanities Research Board peer review panel and is currently chair of the Higher Education Funding Council for England panel set up to approve research capability funding in arts-related subjects. From 1999 to 2003 he was Chair of the national subject association for Drama in Higher Education.

He initiated the Arts and Humanities dimension of the Worldwide Universities Network, sits on the Board of the Bristol Old Vic and is responsible for developing the University's cultural strategy.

His own research interests, as a writer and practitioner, are primarily in early modern English drama and theatre practice, in its own time and ours. He co-ordinates the research programme at the Globe theatre in London and worked closely with the Royal Shakespeare Company on their recent season of less well-known plays by Shakespeare's contemporaries.

Professor White currently holds a University Research Fellowship, and has recently completed a major critical edition of a Jacobean play. Among his current projects are a study of A Midsummer Night's Dream, a book on the Grotesque in theatre, film and television, and editing a collection of essays on early modern drama.

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