The Humanitas Programme is a series of Visiting Professorships at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge intended to bring leading practitioners and scholars to both universities to address major themes in the arts, social sciences, and humanities.
Each of the Humanitas Visiting Professorships consists of around five events, which include public lectures, workshops, masterclasses, seminars, and related symposia bringing together diverse speakers on subjects related to the Visiting Professor’s field of expertise. Lectures and symposia are filmed and available online to audiences throughout the world.
Created by Lord Weidenfeld in 2010, the Humanitas Programme is funded by a number of donors and managed by the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, fitting into its mission to promote dialogue, understanding, and collaboration in different ways across cultures, disciplines, professions, and communities.
The Humanitas Programme is run with close collaboration between the ISD, the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford, and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge.
Often drawing media attention for its topical and high-profile speakers, such as Norman Foster discussing the importance of the United Kingdom's architectural heritage, and Mark Thompson after leaving the BBC to become CEO of the New York Times Company, its Visiting Professorships have touched upon topics ranging from the interpretation of Mozart's unfinished musical manuscripts to addressing the needs of urban sustainability and development in the 21st century.
List of Humanitas Visiting Professorships
Visiting Professorship in Architecture University of Oxford, Brasenose College
- 2010-2011: Lord Foster (architect), How do we sustainably accommodate even larger populations in cities in a way that does not recklessly deplete natural resources?
- 2011-2012: Lord Foster (architect), Heritage and Lessons
Visiting Professorship in Chamber Music University of Cambridge, Peterhouse
- 2010-2011: Alfred Brendel (pianist), On Character in Music and Light and Shade of Interpretation
Visiting Professorship in Chinese Studies University of Cambridge, St Catharine's College
- 2011-2012: Professor Wu Hung (University of Chicago), Reading Absence in Chinese Art and Material Culture
Visiting Professorship in Classical Music and Musical Education University of Oxford, St John’s College
- 2012-2013: Imogen Cooper (pianist), Schubert
- 2013-2014: Midori (violinist and educator), Bach, Brahms, Music Education and Community Engagement
Visiting Professorship in Comparative European Literature University of Oxford, St Anne’s College
- 2010-2011: James Wood (Harvard), Everything, Nothing, Something; ‘Melville and the New Atheists; Jens Peter Jacobsen and the contradictions of atheism; ‘Tolstoy’s Third Way Lecture; An answer vouchsafed them: Virginia Woolf’s mystic God; Beckett and Nothing, online
- 2011-2012: Ali Smith (author), On Time, On Form, On Edge, On Offer, and On Reflection
Visiting Professorship in Contemporary Art (including photography) University of Oxford, Magdalen College
- 2010-2011: Thomas Struth (photographer), Do pictures contribute to identity and cultural difference?
- 2011-2012: Shirin Neshat (artist and filmmaker), Images and History
- 2012-2013: William Kentridge (artist), Thinking On One's Feet
Visiting Professorship in Drama University of Oxford, Brasenose College
- 2010-2011: Athol Fugard (playwright), The Playwriting Process and Theatrical Directing
- 2011-2012: Vanessa Redgrave (actress), Theatre and Politics Today
Visiting Professorship in Economic Thought University of Oxford, All Souls College
- 2011-2012: Sir Partha Dasgupta (Cambridge), Time and the Generations
- 2012-2013: Stanley Fischer (Governor of the Bank of Israel), Lessons of the Crisis
- 2013-2014: Roger Myerson (Nobel laureate, University of Chicago), Political Economy and Economic Development
Visiting Professorship in Film & Television University of Oxford, St Anne's College
- 2012-2013: Michael Winterbottom (film director), Genre, Adaptation, and Contemporary Cinema
Visiting Professorship in Historiography University of Oxford, Trinity College
- 2012-2013: Christopher Bayly (University of Cambridge), Worlds of Thought: Empire, India and Islam
Visiting Professorship in the History of Art University of Cambridge, Clare College
- 2012-2013: Philippe de Montebello (former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), The Multiple Lives of the Work of Art
Visiting Professorship in the History of Ideas University of Oxford, Merton College
- 2012-2013: Lorraine Daston (Executive Director of the Max Planck Institute, Berlin), Nature’s Revenge: A History of Risk, Responsibility, and Reasonableness
Visiting Professorship in Interfaith Studies University of Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall
- 2011-2012: Lord Sacks (Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth), A Jewish Theology of the Other
- 2012-2013: Abdou Filali-Ansary (Aga Khan University, London), Beyond Apologetics: Approaching Religious Traditions Through Modern Disciplines
Visiting Professorship in Media University of Cambridge, St John’s College
- 2010-2011: Mathias Döpfner (CEO of Axel Springer AG), ‘The Freedom Trap’, ‘The Internet – a Liberating or Enslaving Machine?’ and ‘Can Journalism be Free in the Digital Age?'
- 2011-2012: Manuel Castells (UCLA), Communication Power in the Network Society
- 2013-2014: Alastair Campbell (former Director of Communications and Strategy to Prime Minister Tony Blair), A Life at the Nexus of Media and Politics
Visiting Professorship in Museums, Galleries, and Libraries University of Oxford, Balliol College
- 2010-2011: Glen D. Lowry (Director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York), The Abodes of the Muses: Theorising the Modern Art Museum
- 2011-2012: Malcolm Rogers (Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), The Art Museum in the 21st Century
- 2012-2013: Ivo Mesquita (State Art Gallery of Sao Paulo), Contemporary Art and Globalisation
Visiting Professorship in Opera Studies University of Oxford, New College
- 2011-2012: Joseph Volpe (General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, 1990-2006), Whither Opera in the 21st Century?
- 2013-2014: Renee Fleming (Soprano)
Visiting Professorship in Rhetoric and the Art of Public Persuasion University of Oxford, St Peter’s College
- 2012-2013: Mark Thompson (former Director General of the BBC, CEO of The New York Times Company), The Cloud of Unknowing
Visiting Professorship in Statecraft and Diplomacy University of Cambridge, Pembroke College
- 2011-2012: Helen Clark (Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme; Chair of the United Nations Development Group; former Prime Minister of New Zealand), Development in the 21st Century
Visiting Professorship in Sustainability Studies University of Cambridge, Trinity Hall
Visiting Professorship in War Studies University of Cambridge, Churchill College
- 2010-2011: Hew Strachan (Oxford), Modern War and the Question of History
- 2012-2013: Martin van Creveld (Military historian and theorist), The Future of War
Visiting Professorship in Women’s Rights University of Cambridge, King’s College
- 2011-2012: Baroness Kennedy QC (Principal, Mansfield College), The Illusion of Inclusion: Women and the Law
- 2012-2013: Melanne Verveer (United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues), Gender Equality: A Moral and Foreign Policy Imperative