Journalism, Broadcast, Films & TV


Jan Morris »   Bamber Gascoigne »   Professor Aldwyn Cooper »   Dr Edwina Moreton »   David Walker »   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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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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Professor Aldwyn Cooper (HF 1975-76) was the demonstrator in experimental Psychology at Bristol University completing his PhD in December 1974. He applied for the fellowship to continue his research with the world leaders in his field in order to pursue a research career in human memory. His fellowship was at Stanford University, California, for psychology, and the University of California at Berkeley for the study of statistics. The academic experience at Stanford led Aldwyn to abandon his chosen research field and he almost resigned the fellowship to return to the UK. A three day visit from one of the Harkness committee persuaded him to remain and to learn more about technical and social developments in the United States. Taking this advice, he remained for his full term. This period gave him the phenomenal opportunity to meet and work with leaders in the developing field of micro computer technology and its application to education. On his return, Aldwyn was a leader of the team developing computer based education at the Open University. As Managing Director of Henley Distance learning, he initiated the first distance learning MBA in the UK, at Henley, then a world top ten business school. He ran a successful television production company for ten years. He moved to be PVC at the University of Glamorgan and led a substantial eLearning scheme. In 2007, he moved to Regent’s College in London where he led the acquisition of Degree Awarding Powers and University title and where he is currently Vice Chancellor. Professor Cooper sits on several national committees in Higher Education, has been a Governor of a large Further Education College and a large comprehensive school, and is now a commissioner of the Crown Estates Paving Commission.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Dr Edwina Moreton (HF 1976-78) OBE was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for International Studies, MIT, collaborating on projects and publications at both MIT and Harvard on European security and east-west relations. Among many other things, she also learned how to calculate the kill probability of a ballistic missile re-entry vehicle on her (ladies’) slide-rule. Her Harkness Fellowship built on a BA in German and Russian (Bradford), an MSc in Political Science (Strathclyde) and a PhD on Soviet Studies (Glasgow). On her return to the UK she taught at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, before joining The Economist, where she worked for 30 years. As the paper’s Diplomatic Editor, she wrote on a wide range of security issues, from arms control, non-proliferation, trans-Atlantic relations and Asian security, to the UN, international justice and human rights. Boards and councils served on have included the UK Know-How Fund, Chatham House, the IISS and Wilton Park. She was made OBE by Queen Elizabeth and holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Birmingham. She is currently an Associate Fellow of Chatham House, a trustee and director of VERTIC, an advisory council member of the McDonald Centre, Oxford, and serves on the European Advisory Group of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She will serve as Master of the Worshipful Company of World Traders, City of London, 2018-19.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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David Walker (HF 1977-79) was senior reporter for The Times Higher Education Supplement when he applied for a Harkness Fellowship, in 1977 — a decision precipitated by voters in the Holborn ward who chose not to favour his candidacy for Camden Council. Interested in lobbying, and the influence of professional associations on public policymaking, as an HF David joined the Congressional Fellowship program, and spent wonderful nine months in Washington DC, working in both the House and Senate as a staffer. The second half of his fellowship was spent at the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley where he began work on what became Media Made in California, cowritten with Jeremy Tunstall and published by Oxford in 1981. On his return, just after the May 1979 election, David joined the staff of The Economist and pursued a career in journalism, for The Times, The Independent, the BBC and the Guardian, returning to Berkeley for a sabbatical and feeding insights from his time in Congress into Sources Close to the Prime Minister (with Peter Hennessy, 1984) and The Times Guide to the New British State (1995). David left journalism to become managing director, public reporting at the Audit Commission and is now deputy chair of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, chair of Understanding Society, a member of the ethics and governance council of UK Biobank and co author with Polly Toynbee of Unjust Rewards, The Verdict and Dismembered.
Published on: 25th May 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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