Adrian Miles has an interesting reflection on the lack of a “place” to work in traditional humanities:
Well, one way to approach this is to recognise that in trad. humanities (which I’d defie as having a written based and print literate methodology and practice) place is rendered secondary to idea. We write, and what is written is always regarded as more important than the act of writing (the first separation of theory and practice in trad. humanities practice), and where we write is rarely, if ever, regarded as significant. (Unless you become really famous and you then visit where Wittgenstein wrote, or Proust’s bedroom.) Which is the second separation of theory and practice in trad. humanities practice. This distinction is a product of print literacy since it institutes the distinction between mind and body.
This is something I have often noticed and questionned in my own education and work, where I have been moving between science (natural, that is) and humanities. One of the biggest differences I have seen is that research in humanities is usually a personal endeavour, each researcher reading and writing in their office with only detours to the library, while it is much more common to work in groups in the natural sciences. Obviously, it is more important to have a common space – a lab – when working in a group. This place would serve as both a place with the necessary research equipment, but also a collaborative space where people can work next to each other and together and share ideas.
With the new funding policies of the Norwegian Research Council, there seems to be a slight tendency towards more collaborative research projects in the humanities. This will also require places/labs to carry out such collaborative research.