Faculty of Arts


Research news

The Faculty of Arts at The University of Auckland is New Zealand's leading research centre for the humanities and social sciences (2014/15 QS World University Rankings). Current research programmes showcase the variety of our research topics.

Marsden Fund successes in 2013


Successful projects for 2013 from the Faculty of Arts are:

A global history of the Hague Peace Conferences, 1899-1914

Dr Maartje Abbenhuis  (History, School of Humanities)

Recreating Beijing: Public space, private pursuits and popular agency since 1949

Professor Paul Clark (Asian Studies, School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics )

Researching Ourselves:  Social Surveys in New Zealand

Dr Charlotte Greenhalgh (History, School of Humanities)

From Vocalism to Nominalism: the Twelfth  Century Parisian Schools of Philosophy and their Logics.

Associate Professor Chris Martin (Philosophy, School of Humanities)

The Transformation of Everyday Life in Samoa (1800-2000)

Associate Professor Damon Salesa (Pacific Studies, Te Wananga o Waipapa – School of Maori and Pacific Studies)

The Crown: Perspectives on a Contested Symbol and its Constitutional Significance in New Zealand and the Commonwealth

Professor Cris Shore (Anthropology, School of Social Sciences)

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Marsden Fund successes in 2012


Congratulations to the staff members who have been successful in gaining Marsden fund grants this year for their research projects.

Successful projects from the Faculty of Arts are:

Shakespeare's Theatre Games

Professor Tom Bishop (English)

Memory, Technology and the Trace: The Mnemonic Turn in Digital Film and Multimedia

Dr Allan Cameron (FTVMS)

The interface between formal and informal security discourses: The case of the Pacific Island states

Dr Steven Ratuva (Pacific Studies)

The world as a philosophical concept

Dr Matheson Russell (Philosophy)

Dr Ngarino Ellis (Art History) is also a co-applicant in a successful humanities application with colleagues in NICAI, Dr Deidre Brown and Professor Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, Toi te Mana: A history of indigenous art from Aotearoa New Zealand.

Marsden Fund successes in 2011


The Faculty of Arts has won a significant share of 2011 Marsden Funding. Six research teams led by Arts were successful in their bids, winning a total of $3.5 million.

They were among 19 projects at The University of Auckland selected for Marsden funding this year. All of the funded proposals are for three years.

Applications to the Marsden Fund are extremely competitive. Of 1,078 preliminary proposals submitted from across New Zealand, only 88 were ultimately funded.

The successful Arts projects include three from the Department of Anthropology, among them Professor Simon Holdaway, Head of Anthropology, who will examine the agricultural foundations of Predynastic Egypt. The others range from the life of Karl Popper to the power of anti-nuclear policy advocates.

“The Marsden Fund supports leading-edge research, which creates economic growth and increases our understanding of issues, from medical advancements to social change and development,” said Marsden Fund Council chairman Professor Peter Hunter in announcing the results. “Most breakthroughs around the world come from this basic science end of the research spectrum, which is what makes the Marsden Fund both exciting to be part of and vital for New Zealand to invest in.”

Successful projects from the Faculty of Arts are:

Detecting prehistoric human-climate dynamics in central Polynesia using high- precision marine archives

Associate Professor Melinda Allen (Department of Anthropology)

Karl Popper: A life

Professor Brian Boyd (Department of English)

Read more here

Norms, volition, and nuclear destinies: the power of anti-nuclear policy advocates

Dr Maria Rublee (Department of Political Studies)

The agricultural foundations of Predynastic Egypt: climate change and opportunism in the Fayum

Professor Simon Holdaway (Department of Anthropology)

Read more here

Food security in a rapidly urbanising country: The Goroka fresh food market, Papua New Guinea

Dr Mark Busse (Department of Anthropology)

Experience, rationality, and the way things seem

Dr Chris Tucker (Department of Philosophy)

Read more here

A project looking at ‘Onscreen indigeneity: the case of Māori Television’ led by Victoria University, with Dr Sue Abel from Film, Television and Media Studies as a second investigator, was also successful in its bid.

Read more about past Marsden Fund successes

International collaboration


From 2010 to 2013 researchers and professional staff  from the Universities of Auckland, Aarhus (Denmark), and Bristol (UK) collaborated on the URGE (University Reform, Globalization and Europeanization) project. This multidisciplinary project was co-funded by the European Commission and MoRST (Ministry of Research, Science and Technology). While the project has finished the collaboration remains active, directly contributing to the University of Auckland’s involvement, as an Associated Partner, in a successful application led by Aarhus University for European Commission funding for an Initial Training Network project entitled UNIKE (Universities in the Knowledge Economy).

UNIKE is a four year programme for 12 PhD students and 3 Postdoctoral Fellows interested in the globalization of Higher Education.  It aims to develop the knowledge and skills of early career and more advanced researchers to enable them to critically examine how universities are being reformed in the creation of knowledge economies and societies. The programme involves a series of workshops, a virtual seminar series, three summer schools and a final conference for PhD students. In addition, each PhD student will do a project associated with the programme.

The University of Auckland will host a two-week summer school in February 2015 (at the half-way point of the programme) that all PhD students and Postdoctoral Fellows in the programme will attend.  PhD students from the University of Auckland will also be invited to attend the summer school. Faculty of Arts researcher Professor Cris Shore (Anthropology, School of Social Sciences) is the University of Auckland’s Principal Investigator and will teach on the programme. The involvement of the Faculty of Arts and Auckland University in UNIKE will contribute significantly to our international standing in these areas of education and research.

Faculty of Arts Emerging Research Excellence Programme 2014


The Emerging Research Excellence Programme is designed to accelerate the research quality and productivity of promising early-career staff members. A limited number of competitively selected Emerging Research Excellence Fellowships will be offered to academic staff members in 2012.