2021 joint call for projects


The cluster of excellence (Labex) Pasts in the Present: history, heritage, memory (Les passés dans le présent: histoire, patrimoine, mémoire) is a long-term international collective research programme. It was initially created in 2012, and then it was extended in 2019 for another five-year period, to run up until 2024.

The Labex consortium brings together the University Paris Nanterre, (the coordinating institution), University Paris 8, University Paris Lumières, University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, and the national research body CNRS, along with five other major national cultural institutions: the National Archives of France (AN), the National Library of France (BnF), the National Audio-visual Institute (INA), the National Archaeology Museum, and the Museum Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac (MQB).


The UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from history and archaeology to philosophy, languages, litteratures, design, creative and performing arts. It also funds more contemporary research including the design and effectiveness of digital content and the impact of artificial intelligence. In any one year, the AHRC makes approximately 700 research awards and around 1,350 postgraduate awards.

Following their partnership since 2014, the AHRC and the Labex are launching their second joint call for projects (first call in 2015), in connection with the Care for the Future programme. They intend thus to continue the scientific and cultural exchange between research teams and heritage professionals from the United Kingdom and from the Labex on topics that have been jointly identified as research priorities by the participants of 6 joint Franco-British worskhops organized in May 2021.


1.     Themes:


1.1. Environmental Changes, Landscape, Memory, Heritage, and Experiences

The call focuses on the transformations of spaces (landscapes, seascapes, or urbanscapes) and environments, and their impact on communities, their cultural values and practices, with a particular focus on fragile and “vulnerable” spaces. Research teams are invited to adopt a holistic approach to spaces and landscapes memories. They might integrate cultural heritage into their reflections on the transformations of ecological and geophysical systems. They might look at the articulation between individual memory, collective memory, and civic involvement, particularly through an interdisciplinary investigation of the intersections and tensions between the local management of environmental heritage and issues to do with mobility and borders.

A second approach, focused on memory of spaces and environments as sources of information and as sources of experience, might try to develop multi-sensorial and muti-scalar methodologies to deal with phenomena (or memories) that are untraceable (or difficult to trace) and invisible, or reflect on how to integrate the role of non-human/beyond-than-human agencies, propose new narratives on the diversity of species, and their epistemology. On these questions, research teams might help to rethink the role of heritage cultural institutions, and potential interactions (or the erasure of borders) between cultural heritage and environmental/natural heritage, in terms of policies, practices and approaches (conservation, adaptation of management or stewardship techniques, exhibitions/presentations).

1.2  Controversial Heritage and Pasts

Beginning with the contemporary controversies on heritage, memorial, or historical issues that dominate debates in the UK, Europe, Americas, Africa, Australia… as well as their impact on the public space, museums, archives, and libraries, projects may deal with the history, trajectory, acquisition of objects and collections (material and intangible heritage). What voices do they express? How does this new knowledge shape the way these objects can be described, documented, classified, conserved, interpreted, restored, and exhibited? How can cultural institutions measure the impact of these reinterpretations? How can they be physically or digitally returned? How can the social and human sciences shed light on professional practices and decision-making, intervene alongside heritage institutions to debate controversial pasts and/or provoke civic discussion? How can the history of conflictual memories, dominant memories and subordinate or erased memories, including at the level of ordinary or vernacular memory, shed light on our understanding of material heritage in increasingly plural societies?

An alternative approach might focus on public history and the way it has invested the public space, in towns, landscapes, and heritage. To what extent do controversies over museum collections, statues, heritage buildings, or any other heritage sites allow us to engage in new discussions on difficult heritage? What is the role and impact of the process of digital restitution? Here, projects are encouraged to go beyond an approach based on material objects to address the question of the intangible legacy of colonialism, slavery, and hegemonic history, considering the role of language for example.

1.3  Futures, Futurology: Imagining, Anticipating, and Understanding the Plurality Of Futures

The goal here is to explore the way in which the future is or has been anticipated, imagined, or predicted in the present and/or in the past, both from the perspective of individual experience and of globalised discourses, via transcultural perspectives.

One approach might be to try and answer the question “Are we running out of possible futures?” What critical perspectives can the social sciences and humanities provide on predictive technologies and practices that speculate on the future, such as futurology, prophecy, and divination? What or whom are visions of the future an expression of ? What new tools or methods could be used to reflect on futures and envision possibilities or hypotheses that are radically different from those we can imagine?

A second approach could look at “hyperobjects” such as global warming, the planet, the Anthropocene etc. which cannot be experienced fully or directly, and at the gap they create for those looking at possible futures. What new categories can be created in thinking with unthinkable objects, particularly from a perspective that is genuinely interdisciplinary? How can other methodologies (and collaboration between scientists/artists) help us to bridge or reduce this gap with unthinkable objects ? 

A final approach could explore the increasing interest of social sciences and humanities for narrative speculation or “new ways of telling true stories”. A number of researchers have explicitly found their inspiration in speculative fiction and/or focused on the de-familiarizing potential of science fiction. How can science fiction stories help us to analyse our research materials differently? What type of effect do they produce? Do they have a kind of epistemic value? How can they give rise to new approaches?

1.4  Cross-cutting priorities


Research teams are invited to combine these different themes if they wish to.

In addition, proposals are encouraged to take into account:

a.     The plurality of voices, inclusivity, and civic debate; to focus on heritage and pasts that are invisible, or have been erased or marginalised; to take into account the plurality of cultures and perspectives; to encourage and facilitate a participative approach, particularly by involving civil society actors, social groups, etc, with a view to reducing inequalities in power relations and/or social injustice;

b.     An approach that is not human-centred;

c.     Collaborations that are transnational, transcultural, transdisciplinary beyond SSH (natural and physical sciences, technology, medicine, engineering, etc.) and cross-cutting (between academia, the cultural world, broader society etc.), and which respond to principles valuing ethics and equality;

d.      The potentials of arts-based research and applied research;

e.      The emphasis on innovation in research and technology in digital humanities.

1.5 Limits and procedures


a.      Projects can cover any period or geographical area.

b.      Projects involving international partners beyond the Franco-British team are particularly encouraged.

c.       Projects must be jointly conducted by the Labex teams and the British teams and demonstrate the quality of their collaboration.

d.      A single scientific document will be submitted, in English, to both the Labex and the AHRC.

e.      Budgets for joint activities, however, will be subject to two budgets, funding attribution for the British team being organised by the AHRC, and for the French team by the Labex.

2.     Eligibility


2.1  For Labex Les passés dans le présent :

Paris Nanterre University
Paris 8 University
Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, only for the following research teams: ArScAn, PréTech
Archives nationales (National Archives of France)
Bibliothèque nationale de France (National Library of France)
Musée d'Archéologie nationale (National Museum of Archaeology)
Institut national de l'audiovisuel (National Audiovisual Institute)
Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac (Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac Museum)


If the project coordinator is external to the Labex, there must be at least one member of the Labex consortium in the project team.

The project leaders must be permanent and/or statutory staff. The digital aspect of the projects, from the data management plan to the specific intended digital developments must be presented in detail.

The resources and tools developed will systematically be placed in a data repository in keeping with FAIR principles and obligations regarding Open Access. In order to do this, French partners may rely on services and tools established by TGIR Huma-Num (Very Big Infrastructure HumaNum). Publications will also be signalled in an open archive repository.

Research teams are encouraged, where possible, to ensure their research leads to appropriate training: initial training for students in masters or PhDs, extra-curricular training (summer schools, school worksites, etc.), lifelong learning.


2.2  For the United Kingdom:

The research bodies ordinarily eligible as listed in section 2 of:

The primary project leader on the British side must be a UK resident and affiliated with an eligible institution to receive funding from UKRI.


2.3   Project Length: 18 to 30 months.


2.4   Schedule:


Publication of the call for projects: Labex: July 1; AHRC: July 15.

Deadline for submissions: 8 October, 12:00 CET

Results: First half of December.

Beginning of project: February 2022


2.5   Principles of partnership:


Proposals must show genuine well-demonstrated collaboration; the application must be submitted in English; there must be separate budgets, with the Labex funding the French teams and the AHRC funding the British teams.

Research projects are encouraged to involve non-academic partners-- including but not limited to cultural institutions, libraries and archives, environmental organisations, the creative industries, community organisations, policy makers, and artists not affiliated with a Research Organisation.


2.6   Evaluation: Ad hoc international jury. Decisions made by the respective steering/executive committees.


2.7   Maximum overall budget allocation of the call for projects: for Labex 450,000€; for the AHRC: 750,000£


2.8   Maximum budget allocation per project:


for Labex, 60,000€ maximum per project (the costs of statutory personnel involved are outlined as part of the project’s resources); for the AHRC, 125000£ maximum per project, the costs of staff involved are included in the expenses of the project). No minimum cost.




The principal investigator in the UK will be responsible for submitting a joint UK-France proposal, written in English, through the research council’s Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S). To be able to do this, the host organisation must be registered for Je-S, and you must hold a Je-S account.

Parallel submission of the joint UK-labex proposal, with the same jointly agreed case for support is required to both Labex (by French principal investigator) and to AHRC by UK principal investigator’s research organisation.

Þ   Applications should be submitted through the Je-S system by 5 October 2021 16:00, and will need to go through the appropriate institution submission process prior to this.

Þ   Together with the French team’s budget, a copy of the proposal and all other attachments submitted to the AHRC via Je-S must be submitted to LABEX PasP via secure email by 8 October, 12:00 CET to

Please note that exactly the same information must be submitted to both the AHRC and LABEX PasP. No additional information submitted to LABEX PasP will be included in the assessment process.




As well as the Je-S application form, the following documents outlined below must be submitted, unless it is indicated they are optional. General guidance on attachments is provided in AHRC’s Research Funding Guide. Any guidance specific to this call is provided below and takes precedence. Documents should be attached as pdfs to avoid errors. They should be completed in single-spaced Arial 11 font or similar-sized sans serif typeface.


  • Case for support

Max. seven pages

  • Justification of resources

Max. two pages. 

  • CVs

A CV (max. two pages) must be provided for every named researcher on the project.

  • Summary list of publications/research outputs
  • The provisional budget for the French component of the project

The template provided for this call should be used.

  • Project partners letters of support
  • Data management plan

All projects with a digital aspect to their project must include a data management plan in their application. The digital aspect of the project, from the data management plan to the specific intended digital developments must be presented in detail. The resources and tools developed will systematically be placed in a data repository in keeping with FAIR principles and obligations regarding Open Access. In order to do this, LABEX PasP may rely on services and tools established by TGIR Huma-Num (Very Big Infrastructure HumaNum).

  • Workplan (Optional one-page attachment)
  • International Co-Investigator Head of Department Statements (not including French PI)




  • Connect with UK and Labex PasP researchers interested in applying

A JISCmail list has been set up to facilitate connections between UK and Labex PasP researchers interested in applying for this opportunity.

Sign up for the AHRC-LABEX2021 JISCmail list.


  • Labex Pasp :

o   for any question or discussion on this call and to arrange a meeting, please use the following address :

o   Information meetings on July 8, 14h à 15h : Cliquez ici pour rejoindre la réunion

o   Information meeting on September 2, University Paris Nanterre, Max Weber, salle 123, 14h- 17h

o   Information meeting on September 20, 14h-16h : Cliquez ici pour rejoindre la réunion


  • AHRC

Applicants can direct any specific questions they have to AHRC’s inbox