The Institute aims to:
- engage with important public issues of our time through a series of open debates, lectures, seminars and conferences
- foster and promote a climate of interdisciplinary research and collaboration among academics and researchers
- promote new ideas and forms of understanding in the humanities
- provide short-term fellowships for a small number of scholars from Britain and overseas, chosen in open competition
- invite prominent writers, broadcasters and public figures to spend short periods at the Institute
- engage the highly rated Birkbeck Humanities research departments in cross-disciplinary work.