Changing Facts: Changing Minds; Changing Worlds
The Twelfth Humanities Graduate Research Conference
20 & 21 October 2011
"When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" This is a quote attributed to the British economist John Maynard Keynes who certainly did claim, in the First Annual Report of the Arts Council 1945 - 1946, that "the day is not far off when the economic problem will take the back seat where it belongs, and the arena of the heart and the head will be occupied or reoccupied, by our real problems - the problems of life and of human relations, of creation and behaviour and religion".
We in the Humanities may certainly hope that this day is not far off - though given the growing profile of religion over the last decade perhaps we should be careful what we wish for. Nevertheless it is the attributed quote that provides a conference theme for a faculty as diverse as ours.
Critical approaches in many Humanities disciplines can question the very existence of facts. Changing facts, in the form of changing worlds, are the object of study of history and of many social sciences. Several disciplines in the built environment area are actually working to change worlds while practitioners in such areas as sustainability and human rights seek to change worlds by changing minds.