The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture is the largest of the three research institutes within the Faculty of Arts. Research ICOG covers a wide range of disciplines, including History, the Arts, Literatures and Cultures, American Studies and Media and journalism studies, International Relations, Humanitarian Action and Area Studies. While mainly centred around Western culture from classical antiquity to the present day, research in ICOG also pays special attention to emerging areas such as China and South-East Asia, Russia, Mexico and Canada. Beyond their distinct subject areas and approaches, the disciplines that are home to ICOG all analyse and reflect on facets of cultures, past and present. Many urgent issues our societies are faced with are to a great extent cultural: from how we address ecological problems or tensions between religions and ethnic groups in a rapidly changing global landscape, to the impact of international institutions, mass media, new media and technologies on people's understanding of themselves and of the world around them. Throughout history the arts have articulated human experience and operated as a space for creative exploration. With its wide span of research, ICOG seeks to contribute to the analysis of the mental and material conditions people live in, as well as to the critical reflection on values involved in the choices that are to be made.