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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.
Ian Brown is a research professor in history at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He has published extensively on the modern history of South East Asia, and notably on Burma. His most recent book, Burma's economy in the twentieth century, was published by Cambridge University Press in late 2013.
His wife, Rajeswary Ampalavanar, originally from Malaysia, is also a historian of South East Asia.
Judith Brown is the recently retired Professor of Commonwealth History at the University of Oxford and an emeritus Professorial Fellow of Balliol College. The main focus of her academic writing has been modern India, in particular the careers of M.K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. She has also written on the modern diaspora from South Asia.
She was born in India and then educated in the UK. She returned to India to teach in her “gap” before going to Cambridge (Girton college) to read History as an undergraduate, and then to do her doctorate on the early Indian career of Gandhi. Her teaching career started in her own college where she was a Fellow and Director of Studies in History. She then moved to Manchester University’s Department of History, and finally in 1990 to Oxford. As well as teaching and writing, she has travelled widely for research, to give lectures, and to do many of the tasks which accompany senior academic life. She has been a governor of several UK universities, a Trustee of the Charles Wallace (India) Trust, and was a founder member of the Kluge Scholars’ Council at the Library of Congress. In the 1990s she travelled regularly to South Africa to teach summer courses on India in the then University of Natal.
Judith is also an Anglican Priest, and now helps in Balliol Chapel and in the parish church of St. Mary Magdalen, Oxford. In 2017 she was “lent” to Brasenose College as their interim chaplain. She was married to her late husband, Peter Diggle for over 30 years. Their son works in politics in London and their daughter-in-law is a rising young opera star. Judith’s passion, apart from India, is gardening!
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'.
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.
Group Captain Mike Clegg served for 39 years in the Royal Air Force, firstly as a professional submarine hunter, finally as a political adviser to the Commander Allied Air Forces Southern Europe on contentious issues (of which there were many) concerning Greece and Turkey.
His interest in archaeology was stimulated by membership of an expedition to survey the Roman harbour of Sabratha in Libya (in the days before Colonel Gaddafi!). Later, while based in Malta, he was able to visit many of the famous archaeological sites in the Mediterranean, helped by the fact that his aircraft - the Shackleton – was none too reliable and various technical malfunctions led to emergency landings the length and breadth of the Med. These enforced stops, as well as scheduled exercises in Greece and Turkey, gave opportunities to visit such fascinating places as Pompeii, the Acropolis of Athens, the Palace of Knossos on Crete, Ephesus in Turkey, and Kourion in Cyprus. These experiences led to an abiding interest in the ancient world.
Later in his career, based in Naples for the first of two tours as a NATO officer, Mike became a founder member of the International Archaeological Society and was involved in lecturing, leading tours of the major sites of southern Italy and Sicily, and excavating Roman and pre-Roman sites.
On returning to the UK he undertook a two-year part-time archaeology course at the University of Oxford, which resulted in the award of the University’s Advanced Certificate in British Archaeology. Mike then studied with the Open University and completed several archaeology-based courses before returning to Naples where he continued his degree studies with courses on Renaissance Art (where better to study this subject than Italy?) On completion, Mike was awarded a First Class Honours Degree and a Diploma in Classical Studies.
While still in the Royal Air Force Mike started to plan and lead ancient history tours for a company run by an ex-army colleague from National Defence College days. Since retiring from the RAF in 1998 he has continued to do this, working freelance for a number of travel companies and adding Greece and Cyprus to his list of destinations. Mike also continued his association with the RAF as an instructor on one of its volunteer squadrons tasked with teaching young cadets to fly, finally retiring in 2014 when all RAF gliders were grounded.
He has written articles for archaeological and travel magazines as well as publishing a children’s book. He is currently completing a sequel to this and is working on one covering his experiences as a NATO officer in Italy during the Cold War.
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.
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.
Carrie Gibson received her PhD from Cambridge in 2011, and has spent much of the past decade researching the workings of the Spanish empire, clocking up countless hours in the imperial archives in Seville (her favourite place to research!), and travelling extensively through Spain and Portugal to trace this part of the Iberian past. Although her first book, Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day (2014),concerns connections across the Atlantic, she remains drawn to the roots of the Spanish empire, returning time and again to Spain.
Before embarking on a career as a historian, Carrie was a journalist for the Guardian and Observer. She continues to contribute to media outlets, and has most recently worked with BBC Radio 4 and Vox media in the US. Her next book, El Norte: The Forgotten Hispanic Past of the United States is due out in 2018, and continues her work on Spain’s global links, this time examining the relationship between Spain and North America, starting in the fifteenth century, and running up to today.
In winter 2018/19, she will be lecturing on trade and slavery along the West Coast of Africa, especially in Angola, and she also will be discussing the importance of the Cape Verde Islands to the Portuguese empire and the Canaries to Spain during the era of European imperial expansion.
For more on her work, see carriegibson.co.uk
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
Angus Graham-Campbell was educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge where he read English, and he is a teacher, academic, lecturer, playwright and theatre director. He has taught English and Drama at Sevenoaks, Repton, St Paul's School, NH in the USA and at the Shore School in Sydney. For over 40 years he taught at Eton College, where he was Head of English, a Housemaster and a Teacher of Creative Writing, and where he directed over 60 plays, working with scores of gifted actors, including Damian Lewis, Eddie Redmayne, Dominic West, Tom Hiddleston, Will Keen and Nyasha Hatendi among many others - including Boris Johnson, who he cast as Sir Politic-Would Be in Jonson's 'Volpone'! He specialises in the Romantic Poets and he has written and directed site specific plays about Shelley and Keats that have been performed in Rome, Hampstead and most recently in the Old Operating Theatre at St Thomas's Hospital in London. Many of Angus's plays have been heard on BBC radio or seen at the Edinburgh Festival. For ten years he edited the literary journal 'The Keats-Shelley Review', and he is a Trustee of the Keats House in Rome, in which the poet tragically died in 1821 aged 25. Angus is also a keen follower of sport, especially cricket and football, being a lifetime supporter of St Johnstone and Fulham. As a historian of the game he has contributed extensively to books on football. His presence on the cruise is indicative of two of his greatest loves: travel - and reading!
Angus Graham-Campbell's exciting new site-specific play 'Rebel Angel' about poet John Keats is due to open in London in the unusual and atmospheric Old Operating Theatre, at St Thomas's Hospital. It previews from 19 September with a gala opening night on 22nd September. The play runs to 7th October and there is talk of a transfer to Rome in 2018.
The play deals with the characters and events surrounding Keats' decision to abandon medicine and devote his life to the pursuit of poetry.
Lara is a Teaching Associate at the University of Sheffield and an Honorary Research Associate at Cardiff University. She is an expert in the Early Medieval (Viking Age) Archaeology of the North Atlantic, with a special focus on domestic animals. Prior to completing her AHRC funded PhD at Cardiff University, she studied Medieval Archaeology at the University of Nottingham. After a brief fling with archaeology in warmer climes (and finding a scorpion in her trench!), she decided to focus on excavations in northern Europe where overfriendly dogs are the major hazard. She has lectured and taught archaeology at the universities of Sheffield, Cardiff, Nottingham and Iceland. She has also been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Iceland and the National Museum of the Faroe Islands.
Heritage, museums and public engagement are other areas of interest for Lara. In 2017 an exhibition based on her PhD research opened at the Reykjavik City Museum. She has co-produced a travelling exhibition on the Vikings in Orkney, and enjoys guiding groups around museums in Iceland. In the name engagement and research she has even found herself falling down a mountain whilst chasing a sheep during the réttir (the annual Icelandic sheep round-up). Bumps and bruises aside, she enjoys encouraging others to engage with her research on animals in the Viking Age through public talks.
Lara’s interest in the Early Medieval North Atlantic started when, as an undergraduate student, she accidentally found herself excavating a Viking Age farm site in Iceland in the shadow of the most active volcano in Iceland, Hekla. After a summer spent knee-deep in mud, feasting on Icelandic specialities, especially skyr and kleinur, and hoping to witness her first ever volcanic eruption she was hooked. Lara kept returning and in autumn 2012 I moved to Iceland to continue her PhD research. Having successfully avoided sheep’s head and rotten shark, she has yet to find a reason to leave and continues to split her time between Iceland and the 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.
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. 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 ›
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.
Sandy Primrose is a biologist by training and has degrees from the University of Strathclyde and the University of California. After undertaking research in Australia he returned to the UK and took up lecturing positions at the universities of Edinburgh and Warwick.
In 1981 he made a career change by moving to industry where he held senior management positions, first in a pharmaceutical company and later in diagnostic, food and environmental companies. After 20 years in industry he made another career change and started working as a biotechnology consultant as well as being an adviser to various UK governmental organisations (Health Protection Agency, Food Standards Agency, and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). He was awarded an MBE in 2010 for services to the Food Standards Agency.
Sandy still consults widely as well as being Chairman of a number of small, high technology companies. He has written a number of very popular scientific textbooks but is particularly proud of his recent publication entitled Plants, Poisons and Personalities which is aimed at lay audiences. Sandy’s passion is gardening and the half-acre garden of his house between London and Oxford is filled with unusual trees and shrubs.
Over the years he has shown many groups round his garden and when he does so he tells them the stories behind the plants that he grows. These stories, and his experiences in industry, form the basis of his entertaining cruise lectures that cover topics in gardening, uses of plants, plant history and plant conservation.
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.
Dr Paul Roberts a Accredited Lecturer of The Art Society, is the newly appointed Sackler Keeper of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum. He was previously Senior Roman Curator in the Department of Greece and Rome at the British Museum. He studied at the Universities of Cambridge, Sheffield and Oxford and lived in Italy for several years. He has excavated in Britain, Greece, Libya, Turkey and in particular Italy. His research focuses on the day-to-day lives of ordinary people in the Greek and Roman worlds.
He was the driving force behind the major exhibition "Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum", with its unparalleled glimpse into daily life in the Roman Empire. In June 2016, Dr Roberts worked on an exhibition, Storms, War and Shipwrecks: Sicily and the Sea -the history of Sicily through shipwreck finds at the Ashmolean.
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.
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.
Professor Chris Stringer has worked at The Natural History Museum London since 1973, and is now Research Leader in Human Origins and a Fellow of the Royal Society. His early research was on the relationship of Neanderthals and early modern humans in Europe, but through his work on the ‘Recent African Origin’ theory of modern human origins, he now collaborates with archaeologists, dating specialists, and geneticists in attempting to reconstruct the evolution of modern humans globally. He has excavated at sites in Britain and abroad, and he is currently co-directing the Pathways to Ancient Britain project, funded by the Calleva Foundation.
He has published over 300 scientific papers and his recent books include The Complete World of Human Evolution (2011, with Peter Andrews), The Origin of our Species (UK 2011), published in the USA as Lone Survivors: how we came to be the only Humans on Earth (2012), and Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story (2014, with Rob Dinnis). He regularly lectures to University and public audiences, including cruises and tours for Fred Olsen, Scientific American and National Geographic.
Chris Stringer is a regular contributor to news items on human evolution for UK TV and Radio channels, national and international newspapers and websites, and he has made many appearances on documentaries for UK and international TV channels.
Click here to read more about Chris's work at The Natural History Museum >> http://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/departments-and-staff/staff-directory/chris-stringer.html
Robert H. Taylor, born and educated in the United States, has taught South East Asian politics at universities in Sydney, Hong Kong, and London. He was Pro-Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies prior to his last fulltime academic post as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham. There he frequently interacted with Margaret Thatcher who held the honorary position as Chancellor. Professor Taylor is the author and editor of several volumes on South East Asia. He most recent books were The State in Myanmar (2009) and General Ne Win: A Political Biography (2015), both of which have been translated into Burmese. Since leaving academia, he has worked as a lay immigration judge and a consultant to the oil and gas industry in the UK and USA. In recent years he has been a frequent Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Yushok Ishak Institute – ISEAS in Singapore. Professor Taylor is one of the very few Western social scientists to live in Myanmar, then Burma, in the 1970s and 1980s and has visited the country almost every year since 1975.
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.
Chris has lived and worked in Cape Town and London, with stints in New York, Hong Kong, Europe and Australia. He worked as a journalist in Cape Town during the apartheid era before a moving to one of the world’s largest publishing companies in 1981, becoming South African Editor-in-Chief three years later. In 1997 he transferred with the company to London as International Editor General Books, responsible for editorial content worldwide.
He has travelled to more than 140 countries, edited and published books on subjects as diverse as travel, law, medicine, history and cookery. He helped open new markets for books in Eastern Europe, and spearheaded the drive into teaching English as a foreign language.
Since his retirement, he has been a lecturer on board cruise ships, specialising in Italian and South African history, food and culture. To date he has given over 160 lectures on 80 different subjects and destinations - from South America and the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, Middle and Far East.
Chris’s very close knowledge of the Mediterranean area stems from his marriage in 1986 to his Italian-born wife, Daniela, and is fluent in Italian. He spends part of every year in Italy.
When not working, Chris is passionate about photography and music - and collects hand-made acoustic guitars.
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.
Brian is the Emeritus Professor of Geology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland and currently holds adjunct professorial positions in the Universities of Manchester and Bristol in the UK, and Dublin in Ireland. He has also held university teaching positions in The Netherlands, Canada and the USA. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London and a Member of the Energy Institute, and has published over 100 papers and several books. He has made TV appearances in the UK, USA and Far East and presented Radio 4 programmes for the BBC.
Brian gained his Ph.D. in sedimentary geology from the University of Wales far too many years ago to admit to, and in 2004 was awarded a D.Sc. degree in recognition of his global contribution to sedimentary research. He is a consultant to, and undertakes training courses for, the Oil Industry and several small geological service companies. He has lectured on Voyages to Antiquity cruises since 2011. His studies have taken him to Australia, SE Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America which has given him the opportunity to share his enthusiasm for rocks and earth processes with adult education classes, industry personnel and students alike.
In addition to being passionate about Geology, Brian is an ardent Rugby enthusiast [he's Welsh of course !!] and a devoted follower of American Jazz.