The institute initially focused on cultural activity in Slovenia, combining elementary research projects with a wide range of disciplines: philosophy, history, archaeology, anthropology, ethnology, comparative literature, art history, geography, and the social sciences.
Since its inception the institute has functioned as an umbrella institution for researchers at the Faculty of Arts including those involved in the programme for young researchers, run by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology and the Slovene Research Agency (ARRS).
The research projects conducted by the researchers at the institute fall under the following four categories: core, applicative, post-doctoral, and international (bilateral and multilateral). A list of past and ongoing projects is available online.
To date the institute has collaborated in altogether ten projects within different EU Framework Programmes. The faculty coordinates and governs the project Daphne and is part of Networks of Excellence Ramses2, Alpinet, and two network projects of the EU. From 2004 to 2009 the Faculty of Arts collaborated in 18 bilateral international science projects and 36 other international projects co-financed by the EU.
Publishing is one of the institutes's main activities. Approximately five to ten works in the humanities and social sciences are published per year. Publications are in Slovenian, English, or in bilingual format. Tables of contents of past publications are available in the online catalogue.