Defending academic freedom: Arts and Humanities research as constrained writing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article notes that while there is a large literature lamenting increasing assaults on academic freedom, there is little literature to address ways in which it might be preserved. Sampling that writing, it finds some concern with protecting academic freedom in extreme scenarios, via discrete programmes, and generalised dissidence, but no discussion of determinate action applicable to all Arts and Humanities research. Defining academic freedom via the UK’s legal framework and elaboration in Judith Butler’s writing, the article inventorises significant assaults in recent times, noting the roles of government and the market in such. Following the literature review, it proposes a new, interventionist tactic for preserving academic freedom, suggesting that undue constraints should be annotated when research is written up, and that this space should also be used to suggest constructive alternatives. This strategy is demonstrated as the article acknowledges some of the constraints on its own production and suggests redress.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArts and Humanities in Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Mary Anne Francis, Defending academic freedom: Arts and Humanities research as constrained writing, Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). DOI: 10.1177/1474022218811617


  • Academic freedom
  • universities’ autonomy
  • Judith Butler
  • Stefan Collini
  • government and market incursions
  • Prevent
  • REF
  • TEF
  • intervention
  • positive and negative critique
  • art as research
  • footnotes/the parergon as resistance
  • Arts and Humanities research

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