Helen Abbott appointed as Head of the College of Arts and Law

The University of Birmingham has named its new Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Arts and Law. Professor Helen Abbott, who had been leading the College on an acting, and then an interim basis, takes up the role with immediate effect.

Professor Abbott is a Professor of Modern Languages, who researches the sound and phonopolitics of modern French poetry and music. Her research has been supported by grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust. She is currently an Advisory Board member of the AHRC.

Helen is a great leader who demonstrates a strong passion for teaching and research. She is fiercely committed to the arts and humanities, and their contribution to civil society. I am thrilled that Helen will continue her stewardship of the College.

Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham


Specialising in theories of voice and digital methods, Professor Abbott develops language pronunciation apps and works with creative industries practitioners as a vocal coach and language adviser. She has produced award-winning albums with leading British vocalists working in the French language.

Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham said: "Helen is a great leader who demonstrates a strong passion for teaching and research. She is fiercely committed to the arts and humanities, and their contribution to civil society. I am thrilled that Helen will continue her stewardship of the College."

Professor Abbott commented: "It is a real privilege to work at the University of Birmingham and I am proud to lead the College of Arts and Law, which is an ambitious, vibrant and thriving place for students and staff alike. High-quality expertise in arts, humanities, and law is needed more than ever, and this is why Birmingham is delivering innovative programmes and leading major projects to answer the big questions of the day. I am particularly excited that our interdisciplinary teaching and research is supporting the growing needs of creativity, industry, and innovation globally."

Professor Abbott has previously held leadership posts within the College of Arts and Law, as Deputy Head of the College of Arts and Law, and Head of the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music. The College of Arts and Law is one of five colleges that make up the University of Birmingham. As Head of College, Professor Abbott will sit on the University Executive Board.

According to QS World University Rankings by Subject, the University of Birmingham is ranked 64th in the world for Arts & Humanities. Key areas such as English, Linguistics, Performing Arts and Theology are all ranked among the top 50. This year, the College of Arts and Law launched new programmes in Digital Media and Communications, Cultural and Creative Industries, Liberal Arts and Arts and Science, showcasing the innovative and interdisciplinary approach that is the hallmark of the University of Birmingham.

The University of Birmingham is the UK university most targeted by the country’s leading graduate employers, according to ’The Graduate Market in 2024’. This latest survey of almost 1,600 universities worldwide underscores the University’s reputation as a destination of choice for those wishing to secure a top-flight career in many areas, with the College of Arts and Law partnering with major employers and organisations to support opportunities for students in a range of sectors.

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About the University of Birmingham

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