The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH)
University of Oxford

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Christine Gerrard Professor of English Literature; Barbara Scott Fellow and Tutor in English, Lady Margaret Hall

Head of Public Engagement – Humanities Division

Victoria McGuinness

Operations Manager

Sarah Clay


Launched in May 2013, TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) is a hub for intellectual collaboration and cross disciplinary research, based in the Humanities at the University of Oxford. While our funding, training and networks develop research projects and careers, our engagement activity increases the social impact and understanding of humanities research amongst a wider public audience. TORCH is led by an academic director, currently Professor Christine Gerrard 2023-2026 (Professor of English Literature). Previous Directors included Professor Wes Williams, 2020-2023 (Professor of French Literature). Professor Philip Bullock (Professor of Russian Literature and Music), 2017-2020, Professor Elleke Boehmer (Professor of World Literature in English), 2015-2017, and Professor Stephen Tuck (Professor of History), 2012-2015. TORCH is a space for humanities research engagement and a place to develop innovative ideas and collaborative partnerships both within and beyond academia. The priority areas of support are in: interdisciplinary research networks and research hubs, international engagement, knowledge exchange, and public engagement with research. Each year, TORCH hosts around 400 research-led and public events, reaching hundreds of thousands of people both in-person and online. We support around 12 interdisciplinary research networks and 5 major research hubs on key themes (Environmental Humanities. Intersectional Humanities. Medical Humanities, Race and Resistance and Performance). In 2019, TORCH launched and led the Humanities Cultural Programme, an innovative public programme that worked in collaboration with cultural partners and world leading organisations, performers, artists, film-makers and musicians. This successfully grew and has now entered a new phase as the Cultural Programme, which continues to seek to increase the social impact and understanding of humanities research and reaffirm its value to our common future. Engaging new audience and participants of all ages, the Programme is a founding stone of the future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities, a new building due to open in late 2025, where both TORCH and the Cultural Programme will be based.