Two new thematic champions join EARC

26 March 2021

We’re delighted to announce that Dr John Gordon (UEA) and Dr Elke Van Hellemont (Kent) will be joining us as champions in two of our themes. John will be joining Melanie Williams in representing UEA in the Culture, Connection and Creativity theme; Elke will be stepping in to the Human Rights, Equality and Conflict theme while Erin Sanders-McDonagh is on maternity leave.

John is the Academic Chair of UEA’s new integrated interdisciplinary research theme, CreativeUEA. This combines the University’s long history of high quality research in the creative arts (in particular in literature, arts, media, and drama) with new interdisciplinary research activities that will bring together colleagues from across all four faculties, as well as with the institutes and centres within Norwich Research Park.

Such an outlook and ambition is very much in line with the aims and objectives of Eastern Arc. Bringing together those working creatively across disciplines has the potential to benefit all of our researchers, and will enable us to take risks and explore new ways of working, which is at the heart of what makes us unique. Through Eastern Arc John will have the opportunity to work with those who are galvanising interdisciplinary work elsewhere, including Kent’s strategic Signature Research Themes and the areas of excellence at Essex.

Elke’s work is also highly interdisciplinary and radical. She is based in Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, and her multi-method research explores the seduction of crime within the global mediascape, and she has recently been focusing on cybercrime. As such, her work touches on other Eastern Arc themes, including Culture, Connection and Creativity, understanding how technology can enable us to reach out and develop new communities and ways of working, but it can also divide us and corrode trust.

Together, John and Elke’s work demonstrates the interconnectedness of our lives, and show how important it is to engage with other positions, politics, ideas and understanding. It epitomises the unifying rationale and foundational principles of Eastern Arc: ‘radical hearts and open minds’. Through our radicalism and openness, through joining together, we will achieve much more than we will apart.

For more information or to get involved in Eastern Arc, get in touch with us at

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