Humanities


Jan Morris »   Ian Hay Davison »   Bamber Gascoigne »   Tony Tanner »   Professor David Lodge »   Baroness Julia Neuberger »   Chris Barnham »   Robert Barr »   Aminatta Forna »  

 

Jan Morris (CFF 1953) , like many fellows of that era was already well travelled before the fellowship, having joined the army at 17 during WW2, followed by journalism as a foreign correspondent.  A clever and inspired reporter, Jan was initially based in Cairo for the Arab news agency. There was also a role with the Times, including accompanying the first successful ascent of Mount Everest and being the first to release the news of success using encoded messages.  Later with the Guardian she gained crucial evidence about French-Israeli collusion in the Suez crisis.  After 10 years in journalism Jan decided to focus on her writing and there followed a stream of successful books; poetry, history, place and city studies (often referred to as travel books), novels, memoirs, essays and biographies, over 40 in total.  She has received multiple awards for her writing, including a Lifetime Outstanding Contribution to Travel Writing award in 2018; earlier winners were Michael Palin and Bill Bryson. However in an interview with BBC in 2016 she told fellow winner Michael Palin that she does not like to be described as a travel writer, as her books are not about movement and journeys; they are about places and people.  Jan was published under her birth name, James, until 1972, when she undertook sex reassignment after transitioning from living as male to living as female. Her book “Conundrum” is a frank and engaging description of this part of her life. Her most recent publication “In my Mind’s Eye: A Thought Diary”, her first diary style writing, was published at the age of 90. A Welsh nationalist, she lives in North Wales with her lifelong partner and mother of her children, Elizabeth.  
Published on: 25th October 2018

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Ian Hay Davison (CFF 1957-58) CBE FCA graduated from the LSE in 1953 and then qualified as a chartered accountant in 1956. Having taken third place in the national exam his former LSE tutor suggested he apply for a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship. Accompanied by his wife he set off for the University of Michigan. He was then 26 and took the prelims for a PhD in Accounting in the Business School in one year but never completed the thesis. This was followed by a two -month internship on computers on Wall Street and a wonderful three month tour of 40 of the then 48 States.  Returning to the UK in 1959 he joined the infant UK firm of Arthur Andersen rising to managing partner in 1966. In 1983 at the prompting of the Governor of the Bank of England he left AA and for the next 17 years became a financial services regulator. His roles included CEO of Lloyd’s of London, Chairman of the Securities Review Committee in Hong Kong, ExecuChairman of National Mortgage Bank (a failed bank being run down by the Bank of England) and Chairman of the Securities Regulator in Dubai.  He enjoyed other roles: a founding director of “the Independent”; Chairman of BHS, Habitat and Mothercare; Director of Cadbury Schweppes; Chairman of Sadler’s Wells and a director of the Royal Opera House. He retired in 2004 at the age of 73, but carried on as Chairman of Ruffer, the fund managers until 2011 when he was 80.
Published on: 6th December 2018

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Bamber Gascoigne (CFF 1958-59) FRSL is best known for his television role as chairman of University Challenge for twenty-five years (1962-1987). He can be thanked for introducing the following catchphrases into our daily language – “Your starter for ten” and “fingers on the buzzers”.  Bamber was a Commonwealth Fund Fellow in 1958 where he spent a year studying playwriting at Yale. He ‘had already written a revue (which ran for nine months in London’s West End) while a student of English Literature at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and on his return he became a theatre critic. Bamber has also been the author and presenter of many documentary history series and has published many books. His Encyclopedia of Britain covers all the best-known aspects of British history and culture. For the last fifteen years he has been writing a history of the world on the internet, HistoryWorld (www.historyworld.net). Bamber has been a Trustee of the National Gallery, Trustee of the Tate Gallery, member of the Council of the National Trust, and a director of the Royal Opera House. He is a patron of the Museum of Richmond. In 2014 he inherited a large country house dating back to the 16th Century, West Horsley Place. Soon after he received a proposal from Grange Park Opera to build an opera house close to the garden. Bamber and his wife Christina established the Mary Roxburghe Trust to restore the house and involve the public in many different activities there. To fund this, they donated to the charity the estate and all its assets. Grange Park Opera, with their magical new opera house in the woods, opened and completed their first season in 2017 to critical acclaim.
Published on: 24th May 2018

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Tony Tanner (CFF 1958–60) (d 1998) had a career as an eminent scholar of American literature which was born during his time as a Harkness fellow. Having studied English at Jesus College Cambridge, in 1958 he won a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship to Berkeley, California where he first encountered post-war American literature and culture. In 1960, he returned with a passion for American Literature, unusual in the UK at the time, especially in academia. His doctoral dissertation on wonder and naiveté in American literature, later published as a book, became the first on an American subject to be accepted by the Cambridge English faculty. He was appointed a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, where he taught and studied for 38 years until his untimely death from cancer in 1998. Professor Tanner’s teachings on the topic helped persuade Cambridge university to offer a master’s degree in American literature, and in 1989, he was appointed to its first chair in American literature. He wrote a comprehensive study of contemporary American fiction from the period 1950-1970 in City of Words, published in 1971. Tanner briefly took up a position at Johns Hopkins University, but returned to Kings, preferring life at Cambridge. Tanner did not abandon UK and European literature, publishing about the work of literary figures such as Goethe, Flaubert, Rousseau, Henry James, Jane Austen, Byron, Thomas Mann, John Ruskin and Marcel Proust. His final work was to write prefaces to each of Shakespeare’s plays for the new Everyman library. (Sources)
Published on: 24th May 2018

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Professor David Lodge (HF 1964-65) CBE, author and literary critic, graduated from University College London with a BA in 1955, followed (after National Service in the Army) by an MA in 1959. Awarded a Harkness Fellowship in 1964, he went with his family to the United States where he attended Brown University to study American Literature and then travelled across America to California. He described the experience in his memoir Quite A Good Time To be Born (2015) as “an annus mirabilis”. David Lodge is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham where he taught from 1960 to 1987, and still lives in that city. He was a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969 and Henfield Creative Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia in 1977. His time in academia gave him a rich source of inspiration for a series of novels which satirize university life, two of which, Small World (1984) and Nice Work (1988) were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Another major theme in his fiction is Roman Catholicism. How Far Can You Go?(1980) published in the USA as Souls & Bodies, follows the lives of a group of English Catholics through a period of upheaval in the Church. He has also written television screenplays and stage plays and a number of distinguished books of criticism, including The Modes of Modern Writing (1977) and Consciousness and the Novel (2002). David holds several honorary degrees and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts and des Letters. He was appointed CBE in 1998 for services to literature.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Baroness Julia Neuberger (HF 1991-92) was no stranger to challenge when she applied to be a Harkness Fellow for the 1991 intake. Prevented from studying Assyriology at Cambridge (she was refused entry to Turkey, because she was British, and to Iraq, because she was Jewish), she studied Hebrew and was ordained as a rabbi aged 27, the second female rabbi in the UK, but the first to be responsible for a synagogue which she ran until shortly before her fellowship. Immediately before her Fellowship, she spent 2 years at the King’s Fund Institute, looking at Research Ethics Committees (IRBs) in the UK, and published a report which led to limited government and medical royal college action to embed review in law and guidance. During her fellowship she studied healthcare ethics at Harvard, looking at values education for young healthcare professionals, hoping to bring best practice back to the UK. On her return Julia became Chair of Camden and Islington Community Health Services NHS Trust (1992 to 1997) and Chief Executive of the King’s Fund from (1997 – 2004). She was Chancellor of the University of Ulster from 1994–2000, and has been involved in a large number of voluntary and philanthropic roles. Julia broadcasts regularly on Pause for Thought, on BBC Radio 2, and has published widely on matters of ethics, morality and caring for older people and the dying. She chaired the independent review of the Liverpool Care Pathway (for dying patients) and is at present vice chair of the independent review of the Mental Health Act. She was awarded a DBE in 2003 and sits in the House of Lords as an independent. She the Senior Rabbi at the West London Synagogue.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Chris Barnham (1992-93) applied for the Harkness fellowship at Northwestern University, Illinois, to further his understanding of effective schooling in inner cities.  A lifelong advocate of education, based on experiences with great teachers in his own life, he became a teacher after his degree at St John’s, Cambridge and PGCE at Goldsmiths.  He subsequently joined the Department of Education in 1987, and in his 25-year career there he covered a wide range of policy areas from Early Years, higher education strategy, offender learning and skills and welfare to work, the relationship between education and employment. He spent two years seconded to Southwark Council (2000 – 02), where he devised a new multi-disciplinary approach to youth crime to meet the challenge presented by the November 2000 killing of Damilola Taylor. Having left the civil service in 2013, he was elected in 2014 to Lewisham Council in south London and is now Cabinet member for Children’s Services. In his spare time, Chris is a writer; he has published a variety of fiction short stories, and in 2018 published a well-received science fiction novel, Fifty-One. He also runs a policy and strategy consultancy, specialising in creative development and delivery in education, employment and skills.  
Published on: 13th November 2018

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Robert Barr (1992-93) had recently completed his PhD on Social Information Systems, as he applied for the Harkness fellowship.  An urban and social geographer, his academic interests are directly related to the lives of people living in urban areas. For his fellowship he was based at the National Centre for Geographic Information and Analysis at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As an ‘applied’ geographer, he was keen to show how geographical information systems could be used to illuminate social issues. His work showed how much inequality there was, and remains, in the US and on his return he found himself more involved in social issues. He joined one of the Social Exclusion Unit policy action teams and was involved in research that led to the correction of 2001 census, which netted Manchester over £120m in additional revenue support grant.  While continuing as a part-time academic, Bob spun his university lab out as a company which helped produce a National Address Register for the 2011 census that avoided the problems of 2001.  Since 2006 Bob has served as a Liberal Democrat councillor on Warrington Borough Council and currently leads the opposition with 12 councillors. Bob has served on numerous advisory panels, has held office in the Association for Geographic Information and served on the boards of local Housing Associations. He has won a number of awards for his work and, in 2008, was awarded an OBE for services to Geography.
Published on: 13th November 2018

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Aminatta Forna (HF 1996-97) OBE was a Harkness Fellow at Berkeley, California. Before she went to the States she was a current affairs and arts reporter at the BBC, where she had worked since 1989. She rejoined the BBC on her return to the UK to host a programme on European politics. She left in 1999 to write full time. Aminatta was born in Scotland, raised in Sierra Leone and Great Britain and spent periods of her childhood in Iran, Thailand and Zambia. She is the award-winning author of the novels The Hired Man, The Memory of Love and the memoir, The Devil that Danced on the Water. Her most recent novel, Happiness, was published in 2018. She has a world-wide following and her books have been translated into over twenty languages. In 2003 Aminatta established the Rogbonko Project to build a school in a village in Sierra Leone. The charity has also run a number of projects in the spheres of adult education, sanitation and maternal health. Aminatta is the recipient of a Windham Campbell Award from Yale University, has won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Award 2011, the Liberaturpreis in Germany and the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize. She has been a finalist for the Neustadt Prize for Literature, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the IMPAC Award and the Warwick Prize. She was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours in 2017. She is currently Lannan Visiting Chair of Poetics at Georgetown University and Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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