Alliance launched to give voice to arts and humanities in Scottish society

Published: 1 December 2020

The Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance (SAHA) is a joint initiative of ten Scottish Higher Education institutions, the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance (SAHA) is a joint initiative of ten Scottish Higher Education institutions, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities. It was established in 2019 to give a public and collective voice to the Arts and Humanities in the context of Higher Education and will also make connections as appropriate with work at a UK level to promote the value of SHAPE (social sciences, humanities and the arts for people, the economy and the environment). 

SAHA launches with three online roundtables on the following themes: climate change, education policy, and post-Covid-19 society. These in-depth discussions will feature arts and humanities academics, early career researchers, and practitioners. The outcomes of these discussions will determine the strategic direction for each of the workstreams.

Dame Professor Anne Glover, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh said: “The arts and humanities are a necessary part of 21st-century debates on issues such as climate change, wellbeing, diversity and shaping a post COVID-19 future. Scotland has a rich arts and humanities heritage and the alliance will provide an important forum for debating and collaborating on current and future challenges, drawing on the strengths of our higher education sector.”

Dr Rebekah Widdowfield, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Chair of SAHA said: “The arts and humanities have a central role to play in meeting the challenges of contemporary society. They help shape our culture and our political and inner lives, equipping us with the critical skills to engage with a changing social and geopolitical landscape. This new Alliance aims to enhance understanding of the contribution of the arts and humanities to positive change in society, to economic progress and to cultural understanding”.

Professor Gerry McCormac, Convener, Universities Scotland added: “The arts and humanities have never been more important.  As we imagine our way to a better post-pandemic future, the arts and humanities give us the capacity to look at issues in new ways, and to build a recovery that that’s culturally rich as well as economically prosperous.  I’m delighted that this new alliance will further develop Scotland’s international excellence in these important fields.”

On Monday 30th November, the newly launched Scottish Arts and Humanities Alliance presented the first roundtable in the series: "The Arts & Humanities and COVID-19". See below for details of the following two roundtables as well as the registration links to attend.

All Scottish higher education institutes are invited to become members of SAHA.

Current members of the SAHA are:

  • Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • Queen Margaret University
  • Royal Conservatoire Scotland
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde

Click here for further information about the alliance.  

Issued on behalf of the Royal Society of Edinburgh by Clark. For further information, please contact Lisa Donnelly on 07711 476772 or

First published: 1 December 2020

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