Amongst the 11 new Visiting Fellows at Lady Margaret Hall are the actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Watson. The list, which reflects a broad range of people from many walks of life, was published on 5 February.
These non-academic fellows will hold office for three years. They have been chosen to “add to the intellectual and cultural life” at the College, according to the Principal, Alan Rusbridger.
The former Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman, is one of the five women appointed. She is joined by the artist Cornelia Parker, who is best known for ‘Cold Dark Matter: an Exploded View’, ‘The Maybe’ and her embroidered version of the Magna Carta’s Wikipedia article.
The arts are also represented by the film director Beedan Kidron, who directed ‘Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit’ and ‘Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason’ before receiving a peerage in 2012. A graduate of St Catherine’s, Mark Simpson, has also been appointed; a composer and clarinettist, he won the BBC Young Composer award in 2006. They are joined by Neil Tennant, part of the ‘Pet Shop Boys’ duo.
Scientists include Dr Henry Marsh, the neurosurgeon who has worked with colleagues in the Ukraine to develop advance neurosurgery techniques there. The biologist Dr Jennifer Rohn is also amongst the appointments. She works at University College London, but is better known for her ‘lab lit’ novels about Scientists: ‘Experimental Heart’ and ‘The Honest Look’.
Francis Habgood, Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police since last April, has also been appointed a Visiting Fellow. So has Sir Rabinder Singh, the first Sikh High Court Judge in England and Wales.
Most of the Fellows are from non-academic backgrounds and not all went to university. But, according to the Principal, “We think we can learn much from them – and we hope they treasure their time with us.” He said that he “hope[s] they will occasionally come and eat at college as well as debate, perform, challenge and otherwise engage with the fellows, tutors, alumni, students and support staff.”
Image: Ed Webster