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A member of the U.S. diplomatic corp for 28 years, Barclay served in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. His most recent assignments were in Managua, Nicaragua, as Deputy Chief of Mission, and as the U.S. government’s number two diplomat in Havana, Cuba.
Barclay also served in London, Kuala Lumpur and Lilongwe, Malawi where he was a press attache’ and public affairs officer. In the U.K., he managed the U.S. Embassy’s outreach to the Arabic language media during the first Gulf War. In Kuala Lumpur, he was the Chairman of the U.S.-Malaysia Fulbright Commission.
Barclay has lengthy experience developing and implementing programs in democratic governance, human rights and conflict resolution. In Lilongwe, he crafted projects in support of Malawi’s human rights and legal communities, as well as the country’s then-fledgling independent media. He helped steward Malawi through its first democratic elections since independence. Barclay also served in Sarajevo at the end of the the Balkans conflict in the 1990’s, and was an integral member of the U.S. government’s reconciliation and reconstruction team.
In Washington, Barclay served as Spokesman for the Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. As Deputy Director for Andean Affairs, he helped lead early efforts to demobilize combatants in Colombia’s decade-long civil war.
In Cuba, Barclay was responsible for overseeing the Mission’s political outreach, and management of a program to re-settle Cuban refugees in the United States.
He is currently adjunct professor of global political issues at California State Polytechnic University and an independent speaker and consultant on Latin American affairs.
Richard Beacham was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. He attended Yale University, where he majored in History, and was awarded his B.A. He spent his Junior Year abroad at the University of Hamburg, Germany. After graduating from Yale College, he then studied theatre history, dramatic literature, criticism and dramaturgy at the Yale School of Drama, where he earned first his Masters and then his Doctorate of Fine Arts. While still a graduate student, he began spending his summers leading student tour groups widely throughout Europe, an activity he continues to pursue.
In 1974 he emigrated to the UK, where for several years he worked at an Old Masters’ art gallery in Mayfair. In 1976 he was recruited to the University of Warwick, where he founded its highly regarded School of Theatre Studies. He remained at Warwick until 2005, when, together with the rest of a large research team he had developed there, he moved as a “Research Professor” to King’s College.
He has published over 70 research articles and book chapters, and is the sole author of 6 books, published by Yale, Cambridge, Harvard, and Michigan university presses, and by Routledge, and the Alexander Verlag, Berlin. He has frequently appeared as a presenter/talking head in TV documentaries, including productions by the BBC, History, and Discovery Channels.
Dr Tom Birkett is a lecturer in Old English and Old Norse, and an expert on the mythology and literary culture of medieval Scandinavia. He has a PhD from Oxford, where he taught for several years before moving to Ireland and taking up a lectureship at University College Cork. Tom developed his interest in the Viking Age whilst living and studying in Norway, and spent part of his doctorate researching in Iceland, where he returns at every opportunity. He has published widely on medieval literature and culture, on subjects ranging from the runic tradition in England to Norse mythology and its influence on writers such as J.R.R Tolkien, and he contributes regular features on the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons in the national press, including for the Irish Times and the TLS.
In addition to his primary research, Tom has also led high-profile community-engagement projects investigating the impact of Norse culture in his local area and internationally, as well as collaborating with poets on the translation of medieval poetry for his latest book, and he is a firm believer in taking the subject outside the University. He has produced a travelling exhibition on the Vikings in Orkney, edited a booklet on the Vikings in Munster published by the University of Nottingham, and spent the last year running a funded project collecting materials from across Europe to create a major new educational resource on the Vikings. He regularly works with local schools, heritage organisations and museums, and he always encourages approaches to the Vikings that engage the public in interpreting the Viking past, even joining the Danish crew of a reconstructed longship for expeditions around Scandinavia.
Tom started lecturing on cruises in 2014, and has taken groups to Viking sites in Norway, the Scottish Isles and Iceland.
Dr. Broun emigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1967. He has a B.A. from McGill and a Ph.D. from Princeton, both in art history. For fifteen years he worked at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, teaching courses and helping to organise Old Master exhibitions like the Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis and the Holbein Drawings from the Queen’s Collection.
He was also invited to join AGO trips to Florence, London and the River Danube. Since 1989 he has established himself as a popular and entertaining lecturer, most regularly at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and the Royal Conservatory of Music where he was Head of the Humanities Department. He was twice nominated by his students in TV Ontario’s Best Lecturer competition.
He has organized specialised trips for groups of art lovers to North American cities such as Ottawa, New York, Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston as well as to Europe - London (three times), Vienna, Paris, Northern Italy, Provence, Holland and Belgium, Spain and Rome. In the Fall of 2013 he was one of the directors of the innovative programme Writing and Painting in Magical Greece.
He now lives mostly on the Greek island of Poros where he gives lectures in support of local charities. He is married to Pamela Jane Rogers, the well-known American painter and writer. He has made seven trips around Italy lecturing on the Aegean Odyssey.
Stefan is currently celebrating thirty years as a cruise ship lecturer to all parts of the world but says that of his many achievements the one of which he is proudest is to have been voted among the one hundred people of Polish descent who have contributed most to the life and culture of Britain - a list on which he appears, alphabetically, between Bonnie Prince Charlie and King Cnut!
Stefan was educated at the Universities of Southampton and Oxford and is a Chartered Biologist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Chartered Horticulturist, a founder Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London and Associate of the Royal Photographic Society. He holds an honorary chair in Biological Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University, honorary doctorates from the Universities of Southampton and Derby and is an honorary fellow of CABI Biosciences International and of Warwickshire College. He is double past-president of the British Mycological Society and holds the Veitch Memorial Medal in gold of the Royal Horticultural Society, the Benefactors' Medal of the British Mycological Society and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Garden Media Guild.
Stefan is probably Britain's most experienced media gardening expert and has published over sixty books on natural history and gardening, many of them standard reference works and most translated into several languages. He is believed to be Britain's second biggest selling gardening author and has also written for most national newspapers and leading magazines. Stefan has used his special expertise in fungi to write the most comprehensive field guide to British fungi ever published. His major natural history book, the encyclopaedic Fauna Britannica described the entire wild animal life of the British Isles and its role in British culture. HRH The Prince of Wales wrote the Foreword and the book was short listed for British Illustrated Book of the Year.
Among his numerous broadcasting achievements, Stefan appeared most famously on BBC Radio's 'Gardeners' Question Time' as panellist and chairman for a unique unbroken run of over 600 broadcasts in twelve years, just part of a portfolio of well over 1,000 radio programmes. For three years he presented 'Classic Gardening Forum' on Classic FM and devised, wrote and presented six series of the hugely successful programme 'The Gardening Quiz' on Radio 4. He has also appeared on or presented around 1,000 television programmes, many featuring his own garden, on every British terrestrial television channel and has presented several series on satellite stations. He is Patron or Trustee of numerous gardening and science-related bodies including the North of England Zoological Society, owners of award winning Chester Zoo and also has over thirty years experience as an expert witness in matters of litigation involving plants.
Stefan has a long-standing interest in modern British political history and is recognised internationally as an authority on Winston Churchill and his social circle. His book 'Churchill and Chartwell' was described by the International Churchill Center in Washington DC as '…a thoroughly indispensable standard work, as important for the library of any serious Churchill student as the memoirs of close associates'. His latest work, a biography of the Hon Venetia Stanley, confidante of prime minister H H Asquith, has already been hailed as 'a masterpiece'.
Michael Buerk is one of the United Kingdom’s best known broadcast journalists and writers. He has probably won more awards for international television reporting than any other British journalist. He was main presenter (anchor) of the BBC’s flagship evening television news programme for 15 years. He continues to report for and present television and radio programmes for the BBC and other channels, write for many of Britain’s leading newspapers and magazines, lecture on current affairs issues and chair corporate and other conferences.
In his career as a foreign correspondent for the BBC he reported from nearly 70 countries. He covered more than a dozen wars on four continents. He was honoured by the British Academy for Film and Television Arts (BAFTA – the British Oscars) and twice by the Royal Television Society. He won two of the three most important American honours for journalism, the George Polk and National Headliner awards, and the European equivalent, the Monte Carlo Television Festival Golden Nymph. He has been honoured by the United Nations and the Roman Catholic Church. He won the James Cameron memorial award for coverage of the end of apartheid in South Africa that “combined moral vision with professional integrity”. He has been named Science writer of the year, and received a string of other awards for his broadcast and written journalism. The Royal Scottish Geographical Society gave him their Mungo Park award for his work in Africa.
Michael Buerk holds an MA from the University of Bath and doctorates from the Universities of Bristol, Aston and Surrey.
Stephen Carr-Smith spent 33 years in the Army. During 1962-1982, he served 10 years in Germany at the height of the Cold War. From 1988-1995 he was serving in NATO, most of which was spent helping develop the “New NATO” after the demise of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR.
His last appointment was as the Deputy Director General of the NATO Communications Agency in Brussels. On leaving the Army in 1995, he worked for a company providing security and mine clearance services in remote and hostile countries; was the Senior Military Advisor to an operational analysis company owned by British Aerospace; and was the Chairman of a company developing opportunities to marry-up Russian technology with western finance and production.
From 1999 to 2006, he was the Ombudsman for Estate Agents, a national appointment dealing with redress and financial compensation for buyers and sellers of residential property throughout the UK. Since 2009, he has been the Chairman of Help Moving Office, an internet company run by his second son that has now expanded into America.
He has had a number of other involvements, like being an Honorary Colonel of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) – an all women, uniformed volunteer body that has supported the British Army for 100 years. From 1997 to 2003, he was a Colonel Commandant of the Royal Signals. From 2003 to 2013, he was the President of the Stragglers of Asia Cricket Club, with its origins in the Punjab in the 1920s – and, accompanied by his wife, he led tours to Sri Lanka in 2004 and to India in 2007.
Peter Cattermole graduated in geology at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. He taught petrology, planetary geology and volcanology at both the Universities of Wales and Sheffield and conducted volcanological and petrological research in several countries, including Wales, Indonesia and Europe. While in Indonesia he studied volcanic activity in central Java, Bali and Lombok. He was a Principal Investigator with NASA’s Planetary Geology and Physics Program, working at both the Universities of Arizona and Sheffield, studying the volcanoes of Mars and Venus.
He has published many books and academic papers in the fields of both geology and astronomy and has appeared regularly on BBC TV’s “Sky at Night” programme when such topics as the Moon and planets were under the spotlight. Before entering academia he spent time as a draftsman, a climbing instructor, a museum curator and a forester. He also had a short spell teaching at Gordonstoun School.
Since retiring from academia he ran for many years a portfolio of specialist geological tours around the world, given many lectures and, having had a lifelong interest in astronomy, has organised and led numerous trips to witness total eclipses of the Sun. He continues to have a close interest in the volcanoes of Sicily and the Aeolian Isles and especially enjoys explaining modern geological ideas on cruise ships. He and his wife spend several months of every year in their finca on the island of La Gomera, naturally, an extinct volcano.
Simon is Director of Culture & Society at the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. Simon leads the Trust’s grant-funding programs for public engagement, humanities and social science research. He is also responsible for Wellcome Collection, the Trust’s public cultural venue; the Wellcome Library, which holds one of the world’s largest collections relating to the place health and medicine in human culture, and the Hub, an innovative interdisciplinary research centre. He was previously Head of the Wellcome Library where he led a highly successful digitisation programme and an exciting redesign of the Library's public spaces. Before joining the Trust, Simon was Director of Museums and Special Collections at the Royal College of Surgeons. He holds a first degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in history from King’s College London.
Simon has extensive experience in lecturing to a wide range of audiences. Many of his talks explore the history of medicine and health and its relevance to our lives today, and he is particularly skilled at bringing medical topics to life for non-medical audiences. His lecture topics include the history of medicine in Ancient Greece and Rome; the medical world of the Venetian Republic; the history of anatomy and the birth of modern clinical medicine; medical travellers; medical and natural history museums and collectors and cabinets of curiosity; the history of museums and the relationship between art and medicine. He has been a guest lecturer at organisations including the Wallace Collection, Dr Johnson’s House, Gresham College, Erasmus Darwin’s House, the Hogarth Society and the Foundling Museum. He has also contributed to a number of television and radio programmes, including a series of conversations with presenter Griff Rhys Jones about curious objects from the Wellcome Collection, due to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in October 2015.
Robin Cormack is an art historian who works on Mediterranean art, particularly from Antiquity and Byzantium, but also from the Renaissance. He teaches in the Classics Faculty, University of Cambridge, and is giving lectures in 2014 in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and at the Universities of California at Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Robin has published books on Byzantine Art, and co-curated the recent Royal Academy exhibition, Byzantium 330-1453.
He has a special side-interest in British architects who worked in Khartoum and New Delhi, and since he has always made it an aim never to write or lecture about monuments and sites unless he has visited them and studied them at first hand, travel is one of the things he does most often. Fortunately his wife, Professor Mary Beard, agrees with this aim, and travels too (and not just on twitter). So do his children who are both students working in Africa, and who spend time in Cairo and South Sudan. He is currently trying to learn to play the harpsichord, but that does not travel with him.
Roderick Dale is Cultural Engagement Fellow with the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age at the University of Nottingham. He is curating the exhibition Danelaw Saga: Bringing Vikings back to the East Midlands and managing the Centre’s public engagement programme. Prior to this, he worked at University College Cork on The World-Tree Project, a community collection initiative that produced a digital multimedia archive of resources for the teaching and study of the Vikings. Roderick earned his PhD on Viking berserks at the University of Nottingham, where he also taught Old English and Old Norse. Before returning to the academy, Roderick worked as an archaeologist throughout Britain. He has appeared on television in Time Team and Ancient Black Ops: Berserkers and has given many radio interviews about the Vikings. He is the author, with Dr Marjolein Stern, of Vikings: Raids. Culture. Legacy.
Roderick is an expert in Viking-Age warfare, Old Norse language, literature and culture, and reception studies. His primary areas of research are Old Norse literature, medieval and Viking Age Nordic culture, and popular culture depictions of Vikings. He is heavily engaged in communicating academic research about the Vikings to the public, both through public lectures, and by advising authors about Vikings for their books, most recently the English language translation of Makoto Yukimura’s Vinland Saga manga.
Roderick’s interest in the Viking Age stems from an early age when his grandmother told him stories about the Vikings, and was cemented by his time living and studying in Norway. This enthusiasm remains unabated, and he will happily talk Vikings with anyone willing to listen.
Dr Diane Davies is a Maya archaeologist and honorary research associate of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. She completed her PhD at Tulane University, New Orleans. Little is known about the Maya in the UK and so aside from carrying out research in Guatemala and teaching, Diane is an educational consultant for schools giving workshops to both teachers and children on the Maya. She has created award-winning resources, organises trips to the Maya area and is also the Chair of Chok Education, a charity supporting the education of Maya children. Diane organises conferences on the Maya as well as lecturing to a variety of organisations, including the City Literary Institute, London, The Art Society and the Historical Association.
John Dew’s diplomatic career began in Venezuela in 1975. After postings to Paris, Dublin and Madrid, with intervals in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, he headed the Latin American and Caribbean Department of the FCO from 2000 - 2003. After a secondment to Lehman Brothers bank in London he was British Ambassador to Cuba from 2004 to 2008 and to Colombia from 2008 to 2012. He left the Diplomatic Service in 2013. While in Colombia he took a close interest in human rights issues. He is a Patron of the human rights NGO Peace Brigades International (PBI) and an active painter and printmaker who has exhibited at the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers.
Marion Dew has a lifelong interest in international affairs; she grew up in St Antony's College, Oxford and has a BA in International Relations. She did research at the Institute for Community Studies in Bethnal Green, before accompanying John on his first posting to Venezuela. In Havana, she was elected President of the circle of diplomatic spouses, which led to many unusual and varied insights into the country. In Colombia, she worked to support sexually abused girls and women on the streets. Literature and languages (French and Spanish) are her passion and she is also a diarist.
David Drewry is Honorary Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University where he was previously Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute. David has research interests in environmental science, particularly geology, glaciology and climate change. He has published three books and more than 100 research papers (including in Nature and Science). He has led scientific expeditions to the Arctic (including Greenland, Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Iceland and Nunavut) as well as to Antarctica. He has travelled widely in Southern Africa, South and Southeast Asia as well as South America, and Australasia. He holds a Doctorate in Geophysics from the University of Cambridge and has honorary professorships at London University, Krakow Academy, Poland and Xiamen University, China. Professor Drewry is Vice-President of the European University Association, a Board member of the Natural History Museum in London, and was Vice- Chancellor (President) of Hull University. He was previously Director-General of the British Council, Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Vice-President of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. For five years he served as President of the International Arctic Science Committee to 2002.
David has been awarded the Patron’s Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, the Prix de la Belgica Gold Medal of the Royal Academy of Belgium, the Polar Medal and the United States Antarctic Service Medal and several honorary degrees from British and overseas universities. He has a mountain and a glacier named after him in Antarctica.
Thomas Joseph “T.J.” English is one of the most renowned writers in the United States on the subjects of organized crime and the criminal underworld. As a journalist and author, he has written on everything from ethnic gangs in the U.S. to the narco war in Mexico and corruption in law enforcement.
He is the author of seven books, including a trilogy on the Irish Mob in America (The Westies, Paddy Whacked and Where the Bodies Were Buried). His books have been published in twelve countries and ten different languages. Four of his books have been New York Times best-sellers and also finalists for the Edgar Award in the category of Best Fact Crime. His journalism has appeared in numerous national magazines, including Vanity Fair, Esquire and Playboy, and in 2010 he was award the prestigious New York Press Club Award for his reporting about a corrupt DEA agent.
Havana Nocturne, English’s book on the era of U.S. mobsters in Cuba at the time of the Cuban Revolution, rose to #7 on the New York Times Best Seller list after the author made a highly-touted appearance on The Late Show with Jon Stewart. English is a frequent guest on U.S. talk shows and has appeared in documentaries on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, and many other national broadcast and cable networks.
A former New York City taxi driver, English is known for combining thorough research and scholarship with a feel for the streets to create books that are both intimate and epic in scale. Three of his books — The Savage City, Havana Nocturne and a yet unpublished work on the Cuban American mafia in the U.S. — are currently in development for film and television.
English is also a screenwriter and has created teleplays for the crime dramas NYPD Blue and Homicide. For an episode of Homicide that he wrote he was award the Humanities Prize for humanitarian writing in the arts.
He lives in New York City.
Dr Carrie Gibson is a historian, journalist, and author of Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day (Pan Macmillan) and has completed a manuscript on the Hispanic past of the United States, which will be published by Grove Atlantic in 2018. Before receiving her PhD from Cambridge in 2011, where her thesis focussed on the impact of the Haitian Revolution on the Spanish Caribbean islands, she worked as a journalist across a number of places, including the Guardian, Observer, and most recently for BBC Radio 4. Gibson was born in the United States but moved permanently to Britain in 1999
Nancy developed an interest in wine at a very early age (11, but don't tell anyone!). Excellent tasting opportunities whilst at Cambridge University fuelled the passion. For several years after graduation however, wine ran in tandem with other careers including a small business in a doubledecker bus (a Bristol Routemaster), and publishing. For over three years 'Home' was Washington DC where she ran a wine bar close to the White House, later becoming wine columnist for The Boston Globe. On her return to England, she ran Grants of St James's School of Wine before leaving to work as a freelance wine educator and consultant soon passing the notoriously difficult Master of Wine exams in 1995 (there are only 356 in the world at the moment). She continues to lecture throughout the UK and is a regular wine educator at Leith's School of Food & Wine. Until Christie's sold the South Kensington venue in Spring 2017, Nancy ran Christie's Wine Education courses and in past two years she has become intrigued and involved with both olive oil - becoming UK ambassador for I & P olive oil (Lazio, Italy) - and with chocolate - becoming a member of the Grand Jury for the International Chocolate Awards.
More information can be found on her website www.mattersoftaste.co.uk
Gad Heuman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and served as Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick. Gad is the author of Between Black and White: Race, Politics, and the Free Coloreds in Jamaica (1981), The Killing Time: The Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica (1994) and The Caribbean: A Brief History (2006; 2nd ed, 2014).
Gad has edited or co-edited several books, including The Slavery Reader (2003), Contesting Freedom (2005), The Routledge History of Slavery (2011) and Slavery (2014). He is also the editor of the journal, Slavery & Abolition, and a founding member and past Chair of the Society for Caribbean Studies in the UK.
Gad is especially interested in the transition from slavery to freedom in the Caribbean but has also worked on the social structure of slavery as well as on slave and post-emancipation resistance.
A popular lecturer for The Arts Society (the rebranded NADFAS as of March 2017), professor Andrew Hopkins FSA (University of L’Aquila) is an internationally recognised authority on architecture and cities. His richly illustrated presentations reveal the strategies used by great architects to create iconic and memorable buildings, while it is these architects' urban planning that does so much to give individual cities their unique identities and fascinating histories. Previously Assistant Director of the British School at Rome, part of Andrew’s PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London was awarded the Essay Medal by the Society of Architectural Historians, GB. Numerous fellowships include Harvard University's Villa I Tatti in Florence, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., the Getty Center, Los Angeles and St. John’s College, Cambridge. Among his many publications are Italian Architecture from Michelangelo to Borromini, Thames & Hudson 2002 (World of Art) and Baldassare Longhena and Venetian Baroque Architecture, Yale University Press, 2012.
Peter Hore served worldwide during a full career in the Royal Navy, spent nine years in the film and TV industry, and is now a fulltime writer, editor and journalist. A freelance obituarist at the London Daily Telegraph since 2002, he has written over 1,000 obituaries on the men and women of the Royal Navy and on the Royal Marines including the SBS, the FANY, the French Resistance, yachtsmen, shipping magnates and many others.
Peter is a busy public speaker, and writes reviews and articles for several newspapers and journals including the influential Warships International Fleet Review.
He also writes about the history of the sailing navy, and his recent books include HMS Pickle, the biography of a ship, and Nelson’s Band of Brothers. He is the editor of the annual Trafalgar Chronicle which is the prime source of information and the publication of choice for new research about the Georgian navy - also sometimes known as ‘Nelson's Navy’.
He is an elected fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Society for Nautical Research, a chartered member of the Institute of Linguists, and a corresponding member of the Royal Swedish Society for Nautical Sciences.
Peter has written or edited more than a dozen books on naval history, biography and strategy which can be found on amazon.co.uk at Amazon's Peter Hore page
For more information on Peter’s latest book, Lindell’s List, see http://www.peterghore.co.uk/
After graduating in Latin and Ancient History at Exeter University and a career in BBC Television, Gillian became deeply involved in archaeology. As an author, historian, archaeologist, tour guide and Accredited Lecturer of The Art Society of considerable experience and astonishing range, the Reithian mantra of ‘educate, inform and entertain’ remains central to her work; she specialises in lively, passionate and engaging history that connects with our lives today, enabling audiences to relate to archaeology and to find depth and colour in our modern lives through the past’s continuing influence on us today.
She has lectured to audiences including the national media, Classical Associations, art galleries, museums and literary festivals and her books include Visiting the Past: finding and understanding Britain’s archaeology and Roman Britain, while Latin All Around Us: Why the Romans still matter today is due out in 2014 (CUP) and she is currently working on her next book on the History of the Mediterranean. She also shares her love of ancient history by teaching Latin and Roman History to adults and by continuing to work with community archaeology projects. She embraces all media for spreading the word about archaeology and was most recently heard on Radio 4.
To read more about Gillian's work, visit her blog: www.muddyarchaeologist.co.uk
From his earliest days John Hughes has always grown plants with his main passion being cacti and other succulent plants. Unable to do Botany at ‘A’ level, as only Zoology was offered, he went on to study Industrial Chemistry at University and stay on for his PhD. He then embarked on a career as a Forensic Scientist which included a secondment to work in Peru where he fell in love with all things Latin and with South America in particular. He has spent over three years of his life there, often back-packing and looking to learn about all manner of plants from alpines to tropical plants. He has also been a long term member of a field club where members study the British flora and fauna in the countryside.
Having looked after his parents garden from his early teens, the products of his labour led him to become an active amateur showman and later Horticultural judge. He loves to share his passion for plants and has been a frequent speaker to Horticultural Societies, Cactus Societies and Alpine Garden Society Groups and is Chairman of the London Group of the Alpine Garden Society. He has been a member of the Royal Horticultural Societies’ Tender Ornamental Plant Committee for over ten years and a judge at all the major RHS shows such as Chelsea and Hampton Court for much of this time. In his talks he hopes to introduce you some of the beautiful plants that we are going to see and talk about his experiences as a judge for the Royal horticultural Society.
Dr. Daliany Jerónimo Kersh is half Cuban/Spanish but grew up in London. She has a History PhD and is in the process of having her first book published by the University of Florida Press. She has also worked for the International Institute for the Study of Cuba.
She has been an expert lecturer on cruises in the past and is a keen traveller having visited over 55 countries. Although her area of expertise is Cuban women, she is an expert of all things Cuban given she has experienced the culture from the inside, living with locals for two years. Feel free to ask her for anecdotes about the unique, and sometimes comical, daily way of life in Cuba. On her last cruise, she managed to locate a pair of tights for a passenger by successfully navigating the 'black market'!
She is also a fluent Spanish speaker and teaches Latin dance and fitness classes at three corporate banks and three universities in London.
Tony Kapcia has been Professor of Latin American History at the University of Nottingham (UK) since 2003, where he directs the Centre for Research on Cuba and its international network of specialists, the Cuba Research Forum. After studying for a BA in Modern Iberian and Latin American Studies at University College London, he went on to research for a PhD on Cuban cultural history, the start of a long specialisation on the country and its modern and contemporary history and current politics.
Having fallen in love with Cuba from the start, he has been travelling to Cuba frequently since the early 1980s (he estimates 60 times in total), visiting most areas of the island, but especially getting to know Havana and, more recently, the eastern province of Granma. In that time, he has written and published extensively on different aspects of Cuban political and cultural history, and is currently working on two historical studies of Cuba and a historical dictionary of Cuba.
He has also been interviewed frequently on radio and television, usually on contemporary Cuban politics, and in 1998 he was made Profesor Invitado (Honorary Professor) at the University of Havana.
In recent years, he has become fascinated by the ways in which local histories in Cuba are written and on how ordinary Cubans outside Havana learn, understand and remember their local and national history. No matter how well he thinks he knows Cuba, the country never ceases to surprise him; in fact, his postgraduate students joke that his standard response to any sweeping statements made about Cuba is ‘I think it’s actually a little more complex than that’. Which it invariably is.
Jonathan was born in Paris, educated at Bryanston School and Magdalen College, Oxford and taught English at the City of London School for nearly 40 years. During that time, he wrote several acclaimed biographies and travel books as well, as works of fiction, for which he has won many prizes. These include Historic London, Handel: The Man and His Music, Italian Journeys, Venice, The Stranger’s Gallery, Smile Please and Allegro Postillions.
He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, speaks Italian, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese, and has a passion for Venice, a city he knows intimately. On retirement, he took over the chair and works tirelessly, for The Venice in Peril Fund, which raises funds to restore and conserve works of art and architecture in Venice, and to investigate ways to protect them against future risks. Jonathan will be sharing his knowledge of Italy, and in particular Venice, with Oxford and Cambridge Alumni on board this voyage.
Dr Par Kumaraswami is an Associate Professor of Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Reading. After gaining a BA in French and Spanish and a MA in Medieval Studies from the University of London, she moved to Northern California where she lived for several years before completing an MA in Hispanic Languages and Literatures, which is where her love for Latin American culture began. She was a founding member of the UK-based Cuba Research Forum and first got to know Cuba through working alongside Cuban academics and hearing their personal stories of revolutionary Cuba. She completed a PhD in women’s testimonial writing from the Cuban Revolution, during which she became fascinated not only by how Cuban culture contributes to the revolutionary process, but also how important culture is in all our lives.
She has studied, and travelled frequently to, Cuba for over 20 years, and has published extensively in the area of Cuban cultural policy, including her recent book The Social Life of Literature in Revolutionary Cuba: Narrative, Identity and Well-being (Palgrave Macmillan 2016). She works closely with cultural promoters in Havana, lectures on Cuba to a wide range of audiences, and particularly enjoys challenging assumptions about post-1959 Cuba. She is currently working on a 3-year research project based in eastern Cuba (Granma province) about culture, identity and globalisation in the periphery. Her dream beyond her life as an academic is to promote football (soccer) across the island so that the Cuban national team can once more compete in the World Cup (the last time was in 1938).
Dr. Thomas Mannack is Reader in Classical Iconography at the University of Oxford where he teaches Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, and has taught Greek Art at King's College, London. He is an internationally known expert on Greek figure-decorated pottery and studied Classical Archaeology, Ancient History and European Archaeology in Kiel, Heidelberg and Oxford. He gained a first class doctorate at Kiel University. Dr Mannack has published books and papers in English and German on Greek pottery, Greek sculpture, and the reception of ancient art.
He has been invited to present papers by many universities and academies including New York, Berlin, Tours, Brussels, Munich, Copenhagen, Vienna, Basel and Zurich.
In his spare time, Dr. Mannack is passionate about flat German tin figures, which his wife Sigrid hates, and on which he has published two scholarly article, just to irk her. His daughters, Lilith and Fidelis, have rejected the refined and beautiful field of Classical Archaeology in favour of “Science”, but are occasionally willing to accompany him on cruises (and paint toy figures better than him).
As an ornithologist and research ecologist Peter has travelled widely and is a regular and highly successful cruise ship lecturer. Peter’s interest in the environment and ornithology in particular was encouraged during his schooldays at Sedbergh.Whilst still at school he was part of one of the first expeditions to visit South-East Iceland to study the breeding distribution of the Great Skua. Subsequently he was to organise and lead his own expeditions to the Shetland and Faeroe Islands and was awarded a grant whilst an undergraduate at Cambridge University to extend his studies to Arctic Scandinavia. Such was his skill and expertise that he received his licence and has been ringing birds for well over fifty years.
He went on to teach, working in England (Marlborough, Shrewsbury and St John’s School, Leatherhead) and Scotland at The Edinburgh Academy culminating with his final appointment as Headmaster of Lancaster Royal Grammar School where he spent eighteen very happy and successful years. Peter is currently researching the environmental impact of changing patterns of agriculture of the birds of the Western Dales, working in conjunction with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, the British Trust for Ornithology and the Environment Agency.
He is now in great demand to speak to enthusiasts from the RSPB, Scottish Ornithologists Club and regional Wildlife Trusts. In common with many teenagers Peter was faced with choices and although he finally decided to follow a science route into teaching his other love is music and playing the cello. He has pursued this from his schooldays playing now with a number of orchestras in North West England.
In recent years Peter has enjoyed sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with passengers on a range of cruises vising places as far flung as Polynesia, the Amazon, Central America, New England, the Atlantic Islands, Iceland, , Greenland, the White Sea, Baltic and Mediterranean, SE Asia East Africa and the Indian Ocean. His talks which include top quality illustration and sound and video clips are both entertaining and informative. When not lecturing Peter welcomes the opportunity to enhance passengers’ experiences of the wildlife around them out on deck, with on-board commentaries and on tour from the ship.
Peter Medhurst’s work as singer, pianist and lecturer-recitalist has taken him all over the world, and in the last few years he has toured New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and made frequent tours in Europe, giving performances in Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Salzburg, Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Paris and Spain.
Closer to home, he has presented events at the Barbican, St John’s Smith Square, and the Royal Festival Hall on Beethoven String Quartets, Mozart Operas, Vermeer’s Music Lesson, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Golden Age of Vienna, and 18th Century Venetian Art and Music.
He has also directed presentations at the Wallace Collection, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A, linking the visual arts with the world of 17th & 18th century music making.
He is a familiar face to audiences of music societies, regional theatres and British festivals as well as to those of arts based organisations such as The Art Fund, The National Trust. He is also a Accredited Lecturer of The Art Society.
Over the years Peter Medhurst has lectured for the universities of Kent and Surrey, directed a wide range of choirs, vocal ensembles and instrumental groups, and adjudicated and given masterclasses for the British Federation of Music Festivals.
Peter is director of The Classical Music Company, and part of the triumvirate – with television director David Coleman and television producer Sheridan Dudley – that has formed Blue Thread Medhurst Productions. The organisation promotes special musical events, creates films about the arts, produces recordings and organises specialist music tours to unusual locations both at home and abroad.
Read more on http://petermedhurst.com ›
Alan studied History at Lancaster University specialising in the development of Western Science, Art and Philosophy and has an MA in Education. He now works as a professional artist and poet and delivers much loved public talks and performances. He has twice been a visiting fellow and artist-and-poet-in-residence at Durham University (2012-13 and 2015-16) and has given lectures in many prestigious venues and on cruise ships travelling the globe.
Alan has been involved in creative collaborations with Glyndebourne Opera and the Royal Shakespeare Company and produced art and poetry in-residence in a number of historical and international venues, including the preserved studio of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (painter of “The Scream”) and the former prison cell of Austrian artist Egon Schiele. He is currently working with German composer Søren Nils Eichberg on words for a new classical song-cycle for voice and symphony orchestra and creating painted artworks for a sixteen-year long project (exhibition as a work-in-progress, Manchester Cathedral, 2017). He has held solo exhibitions at the Hay Festival and at other locations in the UK and abroad. In art, poetry and his uniquely idiosyncratic and entertaining talks he explores themes taken from art history, mythology and literature and is inspired by music, modern art, theatre, science and his own life
John Osborne graduated in Classical subjects at Cambridge University and taught Latin and Greek language and Ancient History – now revamped as Classical Civilization - for over thirty years at Marlborough College, Wiltshire, where he was Senior Master. His main interests are in Roman imperial history and the architecture of religious buildings.
He worked for several years teaching English for the British Council in Iran and Turkey, which gave him a now long-standing interest in Islamic culture as well as the ancient civilizations of these two countries.
Since 2015 he been a Accredited Lecturer of The Art Society, lecturing regularly in the UK and abroad, including Australia and New Zealand. He has run courses on Ancient Rome and on Islam at the University of Bath, runs an annual course on Mediaeval Parish Churches at Marlborough College Summer School and guides at Salisbury Cathedral.
He has lectured on classical tours to Italy, Greece and Tunisia and has also led specialist tours to various countries in SE Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, including Croatia, Romania and (especially) Bulgaria, where he runs his own cultural and historical tours. He has taught himself Bulgarian and is writing 'A Traveller’s History of Bulgaria'. He and his wife, Karen, have led several highly successful tours to Turkey and Iran in recent years and took a group to Georgia in 2014.
Jonathan Phillips is Professor of Crusading History at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of numerous books on the crusades, most recently Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades which was published by the Bodley Head to very positive reviews and selected as a ‘History Book of 2009’ by The Sunday Telegraph.
Phillips’ previous monograph The Second Crusade: Extending the Frontiers of Christendom, was strongly praised by reviewers in Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, and his earlier The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople was shortlisted for the Hessell-Tiltman Literary Prize 2005.
His current research interests centre upon the involvement of the Italian cities of Pisa, Genoa and Venice in the crusades. This will lead to a monograph, associated articles, as well as an introduction to a translation of the texts of Caffaro of Genoa (with Martin Hall).
Over the last eighteen months Phillips has given invited conference papers and lectures in Damascus, Istanbul, Malta, St Louis USA, Cardiff, Denmark. Professor Phillips has appeared in numerous television and radio programmes, most recently on Channel 4's 'Back from the Dead: Crusaders' and BBC Radio 4’s 'Start the Week' to discuss Holy Warriors. He is currently filming a major 6 part series 'The Road from Christ to Constantine' which he will present. He was the consultant and an interviewee in Channel 4’s programme on the Crusades in 2009, in Boris Johnson’s BBC2 programme 'After Rome' (2008), and the consultant and lead presenter for the History Channel’s 'Crescent and the Cross' (2005). A co-editor of the academic journal, Crusades, he also co-chairs the Crusades and Eastern Mediterranean seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, London.
Photo © Erik van den Boom
Come & sing at sea with Bob Porter!
Bob Porter’s experience as a choir master, conductor and artistic director is back by popular demand. The voyage will include daily singing workshops and a final performance at the end of the voyage, arranged by Bob Porter and the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London.
After studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Bob worked as a musician and teacher, returning to Guildhall to teach and becoming Head of Wind and Percussion in 1985 - a position he still holds today. In the early 1980s, Bob founded the Brandenburg Sinfonia, the first of a group of orchestras under his artistic direction and later in 2010, the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London.
Starting with six concerts at St Martins-in-the-Fields, it has now grown to around 120 events annually making it the largest and most significant Choral Festival in the country.
This year the Festival boasted more than 70 choirs in 67 concerts, covering the standard masterpieces of the choral repertoire along with jazz, barbershop and gospel, also making it one of the most varied and inclusive Choral Festivals!
David Price-Williams has a first degree from the University of Wales in Ancient Near Eastern languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic etc.), with a subsidiary in Attic and Koine Greek. His post-graduate work and his doctorate, from the University of London, is in Near Eastern archaeology. His first overseas archaeological field work in the eastern Mediterranean was in 1969 as a field surveyor at the classical site of Knidos in Turkey. He then worked for the Smithsonian Institution as an archaeological field surveyor on excavations in the Near East before directing his own field research in the same area through the early 1970’s.
David has spent many years working in the countries of Africa south of the Zambesi. From 1976 to 1989 he was the director of a multi-disciplinary team of up to twenty scientists from several universities researching the effects of climatic change on human evolution in Africa. He was based in Swaziland, during which time he also oversaw the building of the Swaziland National Museum and where he eventually became Director of Antiquities.
David has been associated with the eastern Mediterranean – Greece, Turkey, Jordan and the Near East for more than 40 years. He is deeply involved with all aspects of Near Eastern culture, history and archaeology.
David has just retired after thirty seven years lecturing on the Archaeology of Western Asia (Eastern Mediterranean) at the Institute of Archaeology for the University of London Extra Mural Department. He is the author and co-author of numerous academic papers on the area. David has designed and lectured on many tours to Greece, Turkey and the Near East and is very familiar with the archaeological sites in the area. David is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an elected member of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, and a life member of the Southern African Quaternary Research Association. He speaks Turkish and reads Classical Greek.
Steve has first class presentation and outstanding graphics skills coupled with the enthusiasm and ability to entertain and inform. He has a lifetime’s love of the sea and its history, is RYA Yachtmaster qualified, and has extensive sailing experience, including passages on tall ships, most notably the Bark Endeavour, replica of Captain Cook’s ship. He is proud to be an honorary member of the Merchant Navy Association.
Steve has lectured around the world and has been in demand as a cruise ship speaker for over 10 years, with a growing portfolio of over 60 talks. He also speaks regularly to U3A, NADFAS, Probus, National Trust Associations and many other organisations.
He has worked extensively in local and regional radio as musician, writer and presenter.
A member of the Society for Nautical Research, Navy Records Society and the Captain Cook Society and a regular contributor to its quarterly journal, Steve is continuing research, with members of the society and various museums, into Cook’s world and the characters associated with Britain’s greatest navigator. He has worked in Hawaii on the site of Cook’s 1779 shore base and created models of the site for museum display.
His recent book “Better Conceiv’d than Describ’d: The Life and Times of Captain James King, Captain Cook’s Friend and Colleague”, is a culmination of that work and has been very well received.
With a belief that everyone has a story within them, he worked with the BBC on their “Telling Lives” project in 2004/5, introducing short film making skills to the general public. In addition, he has supported his cruise-based colleagues in improving their own graphics presentation skills.
Ernie Rea is a celebrated broadcaster who specialises on the history of religions and the way that faith impacts on the contemporary world. His regular radio programme, Beyond Belief, was awarded the prestigious Sony Gold Award for the best Speech Programme on British Radio. He worked for the BBC for 22 years in a variety of production and editorial roles. From 1989 -2001 he was Head of Religious Broadcasting for the BBC responsible for all their television and radio programmes nationally and locally. During this time, he spent much time in the United States, brokering co-production television deals with leading American broadcasters. He was closely involved in a variety of key national events, including the Funeral Service for Diana, Princess of Wales. He is in wide demand as a speaker at a wide variety of events, including international inter faith conferences, literary festivals, and academic symposia.
In 1997 he was personally awarded the Gold Medal of the International Council for Christians and Jews for his contribution to Inter Faith understanding. He has First Class Degrees in Theology and in History and Politics which helped fuel his passion for the study of world religions and the way in which they impact on the ancient and modern worlds. He was one time Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Education at Manchester University.
Joyce grew up in Brazil and Mexico, then moved to the States and obtained a PhD in Medieval History from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She was endlessly curious about what shapes people’s actions, and thus focused on the history of religion and aspects of social history, like the history of sexuality.
Joyce was an award-winning teacher at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. When she retired, she could indulge her twin passions of writing books and giving lectures all over the world. Joyce is an author of more than ten books, including a best-selling western civilization textbook, "The West in the World", and other non-fiction books on history and religion, including "The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages", "The Blood of Martyrs: Unintended Consequences of Ancient Violence" and the award-winning "Perpetua’s Passion: Death and Memory of a Young Roman Woman". Her latest book, “Rome’s Christian Empress: Galla Placidia Rules at the Twilight of the Empire,” (John Hopkins, 2015) tells the biography of a woman who travelled in Spain, and lost North Africa to the Vandals.
Joyce has also appeared on Public Television several times, most recently in the series “Ancient Roads from Christ to Constantine” (2015). She is the expert on North Africa and martyrs, based on her research and travels to that continent. She is also a regular on Public Radio, and is currently writing a series of lectures for the “Great Courses,” which will appear in early 2017.
Even with all this writing, Joyce has had plenty of time to travel, and has circumnavigated the world three times teaching on Semester at Sea’s ship, the MV Explorer. She has also lectured on many commercial cruise ships. She will bring these insights - as well as her personal experiences - to her lectures.
Gillian studied Classics and Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne before going on to complete a PhD in Classical Archaeology at Trinity College, Cambridge, followed by a research fellowship at St Hugh's College, Oxford. Until her recent return to Australia to take up her position at La Trobe University, Gillian was Lecturer in Classical Archaeology at the University of Birmingham.
Gillian is currently Director of The Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies at La Trobe, and her research interests are the ancient Greek colonisation of Sicily and Italy, archaeology and art of Greece and Magna Graecia and burial customs, the subject of a book she's currently completing. She is also series editor of the IAA Interdisciplinary Series and co-edited its first volume on children in the past, Children, Childhood and Society. Gillian is also Curator of the IAA Museum, a Research Associate of the Beazley Archive, University of Oxford, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
Angela Smith is a freelance art historian and has been an Accredited Lecturer of The Art Society for a number of years. She studied Art History at Leicester University and holds a PhD in cultural history from the Warburg Institute, London University. She has spent more than a decade teaching Art History for Leicester University and also Bishop Grosseteste University. She also regularly leads cultural tours to Spain for The Art Society. Her breadth of knowledge and passion to explain developments in art within its historical context is reflected in one of her recent publications: A Timeline of Art History. (The Book Forge, 2012).
Trained as a late medievalist, the art and architecture of the middle ages continues to have a particular fascination for Angela.
Her particular expertise in Spanish art and all things medieval will come together in her lecture on the great pilgrimage church at Santiago de Compostela.
Dr Mark Spencer has always been fascinated by plants, the first plant he grew was a hyacinth when he was 4 years old. Originally a horticulturist, Mark trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew where he was particularly interested in tropical ferns and alpine plants. He later studied botany at university and did a PhD in the evolution of aquatic fungi. After university, he worked as a field botanist for a regional conservation organisation, followed by 12 years as a senior botany curator at the Natural History Museum, London. Mark now is a consultant forensic botanist, public speaker and occasional radio and TV presenter. He has also recently joined the Arts Society as an accredited lecturer.
Mark also has an interest in the history of botany, particularly 17th and 18th century herbariums. He has studied the herbarium of Sir Hans Sloane for over a decade and is the honorary curator of Carl Linnaeus’s herbarium at the Linnean Society of London. Currently he is working on projects on the herbarium of Rev. Adam Buddle a late 17th century English botanist who corresponded with Sloane and the introduction of novel garden plants to London during the 17th and early 18th centuries.
He is also interested in the impacts of non-native invasive species and is an advisor on several regional and national programmes dealing with their management. He is also committed to engaging with and educating the wider public about the value and interest of Britain’s flora. Mark’s botanical interests are wide-ranging but are particularly focused on the historic and non-native floras of London and the Isles of Scilly. Mark is the Botanical Society of the British Isles vice-county recorder for Middlesex and the Vascular Plant Recorder for the London Natural History Society.
Michael Squire is Reader in Classical Art and Archaeology at King’s College London. After receiving a starred first in Classics and a Master’s degree in Classical Archaeology (both at Trinity College, Cambridge), he received his PhD in 2007, with the Hellenic Society prize for best dissertation. Michael has held research fellowships and visiting professorships at Cambridge, Cologne, Munich and Stanford; he also held a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship at Harvard University, and has worked at several Berlin institutes – including the Humboldt University, the Wissenschaftskolleg and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.
Michael’s publications straddle the fields of Classics, archaeology, art history and aesthetics. His first book, Panorama of the Classical World (2004, with Nigel Spivey), has been translated into six languages, and as a doctoral student he co-wrote a guidebook to Rome. Since then he has written around a hundred articles and three further books (including The Art of the Body: Antiquity and its Legacy, 2011); he has also edited eight volumes, on topics including ancient ideas of ‘art’, picture-poetry, Greek and Roman picture-frames, the German Enlightenment and Hegelian philosophy. His work was recognised in 2012 with the award of a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize.
Michael has always combined his research with an active programme of cultural engagement and education. He is an accredited NADFAS lecturer and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; he has also featured on programmes for BBC Radio 4, BBC television, the BBC World Service and ABC in Australia. Over the last ten years, he has regularly accompanied tours around Italy, the Baltic, Greece, Turkey and the Black Sea, and in spring 2018 he will be curating a London exhibition on Modern Classicisms: Contemporary and Classical Art in Dialogue.
Victor Stock is a retired Anglican priest, who was the Dean of Guildford in the Church of England. Apart from his being an Associate of King's College, he is also a member of the Order of Australia (OAM), Doctor of the University of Surrey, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). Victor was educated at Christopher Wren School, West London and King's College London. Ordained in 1970, he was a curate in Pinner and then Chaplain of the University of London's Church of Christ the King, Gordon Square. He was Rector of St Mary-le-Bow in the City of London from 1986 where he hosted 15 years of dialogues with well known people such as Judi Dench, Roy Strong and Jeremy Paxman.
Victor is a regular broadcaster. Retirement has meant Victor has more time to teach and preach and is able to live in London which he describes as the greatest city in the world. He also hugely enjoys being a Governor in both state and private Schools and sitting on the Fabric Committee of Salisbury Cathedral as well as being a Priest Vicar at Westminster Abbey. Victor’s interests include travel, politics and gardening. He is a fascinating and highly entertaining raconteur and his reflections embrace social, political and humanitarian issues of global importance, as well as frequently hilarious anecdotes. His diary from 20 years has turned into the entertaining book 'Taking Stock: Confessions of a City Priest'.
Jean Stubbs is a British historian and co-director of the Commodities of Empire British Academy Research Project (2007-21). She was the founding director of the Caribbean Studies Centre at London Metropolitan University (2002-2009) and served as president of the Caribbean Studies Association (2002-3) and chair of the UK Society for Caribbean Studies (1993-5).
She has been a visiting fellow at the University of Victoria, Canada (2017, 2016), University of Florida (2011, 1996, 1993), Florida International University (1998, 1996), University of Puerto Rico (1998), University of Leiden (1998), and City University of New York (1989-90). Prior to this, she lived and worked in Cuba for many years and, in recognition of her work, she was awarded the UNESCO Toussaint Louverture Medal for her services in combating racism and promoting diversity (2009) and elected member of the Academy of History of Cuba (2012).
She has published widely on Cuba, her specialist interests spanning tobacco, labour, gender, race and migration. Among her book publications are Afro-Cuban Voices (2000) and Afro-Cuba (1993), co-edited with Cuban writer Pedro Pérez Sarduy, and Cuba: The Test of Time (1988) and Tobacco on the Periphery (1985). She is currently collaborating with an international team of scholars researching global commodity frontiers and working on two books, one on post-1989 Cuban Diasporas in Canada and Western Europe and the other a global history of the Havana cigar (1817-2017).
Dr Pieter Van Der Merwe was on the full-time staff of the National Maritime Museum, Royal Museums Greenwich, from 1974 to 2015 and is still its General Editor (part-time) and one of its Curators Emeritus. He has overseen the Museum’s printed output for over twenty years, edited and contributed to many of its publications during that period, and written and lectured on various aspects of maritime history, mainly from 1500 to 1914, including medieval shipbuilding, marine painting, naval subjects, the history of exploration and that of Greenwich itself. Though originally a theatre specialist, with a continuing interest in the history of stage scene-painting, his other experience includes work as a sailing instructor, archaeological diver and tour guide, mainly in the Mediterranean. He is a Vice-President of the Society for Nautical Research and on the editorial board of its journal The Mariner’s Mirror, Vice-Chairman of the Turner Society and a committee member and former Chairman of the Society for Theatre Research. He was appointed MBE in 2012 for services to heritage and the community in Greenwich, and Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Royal Greenwich in 2013.
Tim Weed is an award-winning author, lecturer, and independent scholar. After graduating in Spanish from Middlebury College, he received a Master of International Affairs from the University of California and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from Warren Wilson College. He has directed college semester abroad programs in Spain, Australia, and Venezuela, and has created and led programs for writers, artists, students, and musicians in Spain, Cuba, Argentina, Italy, Ireland, Iceland, India, Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego. A former founding director of National Geographic Student Expeditions, Tim’s articles on travel, history, outdoor adventure, and the writing craft have appeared in The Millions, Talking Points Memo, Backcountry, Writer’s Chronicle, National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel blog, and many other magazines and journals.
He is the winner of a Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Award and a Solas Best Travel Writing Award. His first novel, Will Poole’s Island, was named to Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of the Year list, and his fiction collection, A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing, has been shortlisted for the International Book Awards, the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project, the Autumn House Press Fiction Prize, and the Lewis-Clark Press Discovery Award.
Highlights of Tim’s decades- long engagement with Cuba include bringing some of the first American students to the country since the Revolution in the late 1990’s, leading a four-week creative writing program featuring a cross-island road trip from Santiago to Havana, fly fishing for tarpon and bonefish in the Zapata swamp, and serving as the official interpreter for the Cuban National Choir’s concert tour of New England. An independent scholar and lecturer, he frequently speaks at writing conferences, museums, and nonprofit educational institutions and is a certified member of the SCBWI and Vermont Humanities Council speakers’ bureaus. Tim is the co-founder of the Cuba Writers Program and serves as a featured expert for National Geographic in Cuba, Spain, and Tierra del Fuego.
Christopher Whitton is a Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge. He was educated in his home town of Lancaster, as a scholar at Eton College, and as an undergraduate and graduate student at St John’s College, Cambridge. On receiving his doctorate in 2007 he was appointed to a tenured Faculty position at Cambridge, where he teaches Greek and Latin language and literature; he is also Fellow and Director of Studies in Classics at Emmanuel College. Away from Cambridge, he has been affiliated with Harvard University as a John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow, with Basel University as a guest lecturer, and with the Free University Berlin and Rostock University as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. He has published books with Cambridge and Oxford University Presses and writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement.
Christopher’s research focuses on the literature, history and culture of the Roman Empire, but his interests and expertise extend across the ancient Mediterranean world. A regular visitor to both Greece and the Italian peninsula, he began lecturing on cruises in 2014 and has accompanied groups around the Aegean, the classical sites of Turkey, and the Black Sea.
Outside his work (and pleasure) in Classics, Christopher is a professional church musician. As an undergraduate he was Organ Student of St John’s College, Cambridge, where he played for the prize-winning Naxos recordings of works by Finzi, Leighton, Stanford and Walton. Having held positions at Winchester College, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, the Church of the Advent in Boston and St Bartholomew the Great in London, he now serves as Director of Music at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Gregor Williams was born in Soufriere, Saint Lucia. He graduated with a degree in Engineering Science and a diploma in Civil Engineering from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada which he attended from 1959 to 1962. He worked in structural engineering companies in Canada for six years after graduation, following which he returned to Saint Lucia. In 2000 he was honoured with a Government of St. Lucia National Award: Order of Merit, Silver, for contributions in Education, History and Archaeology in St. Lucia, and in 2009 he was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, for work in Education, History and Archaeology.
Since he was a small child he has been fascinated by the history of Saint Lucia, and by where that history belongs in the history of the Caribbean region and of the wider world. He has worked with historians, archaeologists and anthropologists from many parts of the world. He is also interested in natural history and was responsible for bringing the very rare fauna, specifically the Saint Lucia Whiptail and the Saint Lucia Racer, living on Maria Island off the southern tip of Saint Lucia, to the attention of the scientific world. He is recognised as an important information resource for people carrying out research in Saint Lucia.
He has over the years continued to deliver history lectures to university students from the University of the West Indies and the United States, Peace Corps and Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO) volunteers, local groups and students, and has conducted heritage tours for visiting and local students, and for passengers of cruise ships visiting Saint Lucia.
For many years he has been actively engaged in history and heritage projects, both local and regional. To mention just a few: the anthropological and archaeological project carried out by the University of Vienna between 1982 and 1986; the Cuban sponsored En Canoa expedition in 1987, 1988; the UNESCO Slave Route project, 1994- 2014; the Mabouya Valley Development Project, 2002 and 2012; the proposal for recognition of the forts of the Windward and Leeward Islands as a serial World Heritage project; research into the history of Jean Baptiste Bideau, the Saint Lucian who saved Simon Bolivar’s life 2016- 2017.