Rick Rylance appointed director of the Institute of English Studies

Wednesday 20 May 2015

The University of London’s School of Advanced Study (SAS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Rick Rylance as director of the Institute of English Studies (IES). He will take up his appointment in the autumn.

Professor Rylance is currently chief executive of the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and chair of the Research Councils UK executive group. He has been at the AHRC since 2009. Prior to that he was head of the School of Arts, Languages and Literature at the University of Exeter, and before that dean of arts and letters at the then Anglia Polytechnic University in Cambridge.

Professor Sir Adrian Smith, vice-chancellor of the University of London said: ‘I am delighted with the appointment of Professor Rick Rylance as the director of the Institute of English Studies. He brings a wealth of knowledge of research in English studies and the wider research funding landscape in the UK. I look forward to working with him to support the future of the Institute.’

Professor Rylance has extensive experience of work in English Studies. He was chair of the English sub-panel of the RAE 2008. He was a founder member of the English Subject Centre’s Advisory Board, a past chair of the Council of College and University English (CCUE), and is currently a member of the Higher Education Committee of the English Association. Professor Rylance was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) in 1998 and a Founding Fellow of the English Association in 1999. 

His main research interests are in 19th- and 20th-century literature and the intellectual and literary history of those periods. He has a particular interest in the history of psychology and the psychology of reading.

Commenting on his appointment Professor Rylance said: ‘I’m delighted and excited at the prospect of this role. English, and the humanities more generally, are among the jewels of our national life and are celebrated the world over. I look forward to working in both the Institute and the School to build something of matching weight and importance. There is a great foundation and bags of potential.’

Professor Roger Kain, CBE FBA, dean and chief executive of the School and pro vice-chancellor for research, said: ‘The appointment of Professor Rylance with his unparalleled understanding of English literature and language studies in the UK and beyond is a significant moment for the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. We believe his experience in research excellence, the development of public engagement and policy expertise will be vital as we build the Institute of English Studies to become an internationally renowned centre of excellence for the subject.’

Professor Philip Murphy, deputy dean of the School and director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, will continue in the role of acting director of IES until Professor Rylance takes up office.

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Notes for editors:
1. For further information, please contact: Maureen McTaggart, Media and Public Relations Officer, School of Advanced Study, University of London +44 (0)20 7862 8653 / Maureen.mctaggart@sas.ac.uk.

2. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in Higher Education. It consists of 17 self-governing Colleges of outstanding reputation, together with a number of prestigious central academic bodies and activities. Learn more about the University of London at www.london.ac.uk.

3. The School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, is the UK’s national centre for the promotion and support of research in the humanities and celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2015. It was officially opened on 15 March 1995, by Sir Anthony Kenny as a federation of the University of London’s research institutes and, since then, has established itself as the UK’s national humanities hub, publicly funded to support and promote research in the humanities nationally and internationally. SAS and its member institutes offer unparalleled academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. In 2013-14, SAS: welcomed 743 research fellows and associates; held 2,081 research dissemination events; received 26.4 million visits to its digital research resources and platforms; and received 202,891 visits to its specialist libraries and collections. A series of anniversary events and activities will take place throughout 2015. Find out more at www.sas.ac.uk or follow SAS on Twitter at @SASNews.

4. The Institute of English Studies, founded in 1999 out of the Centre for English Studies, is an internationally renowned research centre, dedicated to promoting advanced study and research in English studies in the wider national and international academic community. It provides a centre for excellence in English language, literature, palaeography and the history of the book.  Its activities include facilitating academic discussion and the exchange of ideas through its comprehensive events programme, hosting major collaborative research projects, providing essential research training in book history and palaeography, and facilitating scholarly communities in all areas of English studies. The Institute of English Studies is a member institute of the School of Advanced Study, University of London. www.ies.sas.ac.uk