The Institute Project on Decoloniality

The Institute Project on Decoloniality 2021-2024 (IPD ‘24)

IASH is pleased to announce a new three-year project examining a variety of topics centred on decoloniality. The Institute Project on Decoloniality 2021-2024 (IPD ‘24) is now open for applications, with deadlines for project proposals in February 2021 (for the first year’s cohort of mid-career and senior scholars) and April 2021 (for the first year’s cohort of postdoctoral and Early Career scholars).

In the past fifty years, IASH has overseen many large-scale projects in which the majority of Fellowships have been focused on specific themes. These have included 1986’s Institute Project on the Scottish Enlightenment (IPSE ‘86) and 1988’s Technology, Communication and the Humanities (TeCH ’88).  The Institute is launching a similar thematic project on decoloniality, understood inclusively and expansively. The following is a working definition, not intended to exclude any decolonial scholars or theoretical frameworks:

Informed by the work of a variety of writers in both the Global South and Global North, and spanning Indigenous rights, Africana thought, and movements for reparatory justice, decolonial inquiry contends that knowledge generated within what is termed a ‘colonial matrix of power’ has left us with a narrow, patriarchal and contested understanding of ourselves and the world. One means of addressing this is to challenge accepted theories of knowledge about the modern and the global, understood as ‘epistemic disobedience’, with a view to re-imagining and reconstructing our world, something in which university-based teaching and learning, research and wider community engagement is pivotal.

Therefore the Institute and its partners warmly encourages Fellowship applications from scholars in the UK, EU and around the world, exploring issues including but not limited to:

  • decolonising gender and sexuality
  • decolonising the curriculum
  • anticolonial and decolonial theory
  • intellectuals in and from the Global South
  • intersectionality and multiple inequalities
  • race and racialisation
  • de-centering Western feminist knowledge production
  • Scotland’s role in the British Empire
  • the University of Edinburgh’s colonial legacy and alumni roles in the slave trade
  • the histories of Edinburgh graduates and staff of colour

IPD ‘24 will run for three years, from 2021 to 2024, seeking to augment existing work by RACE.ED, UncoverED, the Centre for African Studies, the Centre for South Asian Studies, the Edinburgh Centre for Global History and many others. Around 35 Fellows per year will be appointed, as well as a one-off commission for a playwright to create a script inspired by the themes above.

Each Fellow is expected to give a work-in-progress talk at IASH, and more senior Fellows would also be expected to deliver a public lecture. Three annual conferences will be held over the course of the project, as well as exhibitions and concerts showcasing work by contemporary and historical artists of colour. IASH will provide financial resources, office space, and most importantly, a safe space beyond individual schools for researchers both from the university and the wider international academic community to collaborate and disseminate their responses to the themes. IPD ’24 will result in outputs in the form of three volumes of conference proceedings as part of our Occasional Papers series, and a major edited publication and/or a special issue of Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.

We are therefore issuing thematic calls across the following funded Fellowship programmes (information on how to apply, stipend levels, eligibility and submission deadlines are available on each page linked below):

The stipends offered will match or exceed RCUK minimums. We expect to offer around £250,000 in stipends per year, with the project offering a total of around £750,000. We would like to thank our funders and partners for their generous support.

As well as in-person Fellowships, we are happy to accept applications for hybrid / remote-working Fellowships for applicants who are unable to travel to Edinburgh.

It is important to note that we still welcome applications on all topics and in all areas of the arts, humanities and social sciences to continue IASH’s traditional interdisciplinary work across CAHSS schools, alongside IPD’24.


A Steering Group oversees the project, including representatives from CAHSS schools and outside bodies. The Steering Group members are:

Professor Tommy J. Curry (Personal Chair of Africana Philosophy and Black Male Studies)

Dr Rama Salla Dieng (Lecturer in African Studies and International Development)

Dr Omolabake Fakunle (Teaching Fellow in Education)

Dr Julie Gibbings (Lecturer in the History of the Americas)

Dr Hephzibah Israel (Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies)

Dr Arkotong Longkumer (Senior Lecturer in Modern Asia)

Professor Nasar Meer (Professor of Race, Identity and Citizenship)

Dr Désha Osborne (Department of Africana, Puerto Rican/Latino Studies, Hunter College, City University of New York; former IASH Fellow)

Professor Diana Paton (William Robertson Chair of History)

Dr Shaira Vadasaria (Lecturer in Race and Decolonial Studies)

Professor Steve Yearley (Professor of the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge; IASH Director)