Monday, 16 May 2016 13:02

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The Michael Holroyd Prize for 'Recreative' literature awarded at Madingley Hall

When the highly acclaimed biographer Michael Holroyd first addressed Creative Writing Masters students at ICE in October 2013 he drew attention to the term ‘non-fiction’ as an essentially negative expression – describing what it was not rather than what it was – and proposed a new term which also took account of the creative aspect of non-fiction writing. Fiction, he suggested, could be described as creative writing, and non-fiction refigured as recreative writing.

Michael Holroyd has kindly helped us set up a prize for recreative writing at ICE in his name and the winners were announced at an event here at Madingley Hall on Wednesday 4 May.

The prize was open to our Undergraduate Certificate in Creative Writing students and Master of Studies in Creative Writing students, all vying for a £250 prize contribution to their fees, which they could also spend on books.

Genres represented included biography; autobiography/memoir; travel writing; writing on human issues and social/cultural history; writing on science, nature and the environment. The judges,  ICE tutors, Jem Poster; Sarah Burton; and Midge Gillies, created a shortlist before Michael Holroyd himself chose the overall winner.

Shortlisted entrants along with their ICE creative writing peers were invited to a dinner here at Madingley Hall. The event was hosted by Boyd Tonkin, Chair of the International Booker Prize 2016, who had earlier addressed students on the subject of literary prize culture, from fiercely contested playwriting prizes in Ancient Greece to the present day.


3rd place: Look back in hunger by Stu Roberts

2nd place: The Christmas Ox by Jodie Molloy

Winner: Knocking on Walcott’s door by Sara Collins

Michael Holroyd had this to say about the winner’s work:

"Knocking on Walcott's Door is a form of literary autobiography. It is set within a chapter of history and uses memory and imagination to focus on past and present. From an impoverished and eccentric library we are led towards Derek Walcott's poetry. The journey is told with subtlety and composed by a natural writer who takes us on a complex and stimulating journey along maps of the mind ending at Cambridge."

Since winning the Michael Holroyd prize, Sara has also been shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize and signed to major literary agency Peters Frasers Dunlop.

Michael Holroyd went on to say that “this has proved to be an extremely difficult prize to judge. All three of the finalists set very high standards and in a perfect world all should have prizes. They are excellent examples of recreative writing”.

Congratulations to all of the finalists from everyone here at the Institute. We look forward to watching your literary careers flourish in the future.

Creative Writing courses at ICE

If this has inspired you to start writing, we run a number of creative writing courses at ICE, including short courses, online courses, and part-time University qualifications.

We are now enrolling students for the Undergraduate Certificate and the Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing (no previous qualification is required):

Creative Writing Certificate 1
Creative Writing Certificate 2
Creative Writing Diploma 1
Creative Writing Diploma 2

Other open-access courses include day schools such as Writing picture books and weekend courses such as World of words in September. You may also wish to take part in the Creative Writing Summer Programme in August.

Applications for the MSt in Creative Writing open in October for entry in October 2017.

Should you have any further questions regarding future creative writing study with us, please contact Katherine Roddwell at


Friday, 06 May 2016 08:08

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Dr Gilly Carr presents BBC documentary on the lost heroes of World War II

Cambridge ICE archaeologist Dr Gilly Carr is presenting a new BBC documentary in which she helps two women discover the fate and final resting place of loved ones snatched by the Nazis during their occupation of the Channel Islands.

‘Finding Our Fathers: Lost Heroes of World War II’ will be broadcast on BBC One South West at 7.30pm on Friday 6 May 2016, and on BBC iPlayer.

The two women, Pat Fisher and Jean Harris come from separate islands (Jersey and Guernsey) and have remarkably similar stories. Both their fathers were called Joe and both women were not long born when their fathers were deported for distributing BBC News in Nazi-controlled territory, never to be seen by their families again.

As part of the BBC investigation, Dr Gilly Carr uncovered fresh information about what happened to the two men. She took Pat and Jean on an emotional journey through Europe to piece together what happened to their fathers and find out where they are buried. Both men were shunted from various forced labour and concentration camps in Germany and Czech Republic. One died in the Czech Republic and was buried in a mass grave and the other died in a prison in Halle, Germany.

The experience was a harrowing but rewarding one for everyone involved. Gilly said: “Filming the documentary was incredibly emotionally draining. We were all crying several times a day, but the whole experience was very worthwhile and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. More stories like the one we uncovered need to be told.”

Gilly Carr is a Senior Lecturer and Academic Director in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education (ICE). She is also a Fellow of St Catharine’s College and a Member of the McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research. She works in the field of Conflict Archaeology, POW Archaeology and Heritage Studies and her current research projects are based in the Channel Islands.

Gilly will be teaching a short course at the Institute of Continuing Education in 2017 on the subject of Channel Islander victims of Nazism. Details will be announced in July.


Thursday, 05 May 2016 10:13

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Culture and identity in the early medieval fenland landscape

Journal article by Dr Susan Oosthuizen in Landscape History 37, 1: 5-24.


Published May 2016

The fen-basin is located in a region in which material culture had become largely Germanic by the mid-fifth century. This paper evaluates the contribution made to an understanding of that process of cultural change by place-names, archaeology and documentary records.
Archaeological evidence indicates little post-Roman abandonment of the fenland; the region continued to be inhabited and exploited. Patterns of intercommoning, the Tribal Hidage, and stray pieces of information recorded by Bede and Felix, demonstrate the presence of territorial groups across the whole basin by the mid-seventh century in a complex, almost certainly dynamic, hierarchy of subordinate and dominant polities, principalities and kingdoms, some with some Brittonic territorial names and others with names based on Old English elements.

Most of the people who gave these place-names were likely to have been descended from the Romano-British and prehistoric inhabitants of Britain. Different cultural traditions cannot be identified in their material culture, and many may have been bilingual. Such commonalities, together with continuity across the region in structures governing rights of common pasture, suggest that it is as likely that some sub-Roman polities evolved into sub-kingdoms as it is that other polities were created anew. There is nothing so out of the ordinary in such political changes that they might be ascribed to the influence of incomers. The influence of migration on the evolution of early medieval fenland culture remains enigmatic.

You can download the whole journal article on the Taylor and Francis Group website.



Wednesday, 13 April 2016 00:00

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Global Summer Programme:
additional places now available

Apply today

The Global Summer Programme is primarily for undergraduates at IARU institutions. However a limited number of additional places are now available for students from other leading universities around the world.

Students should have an equivalent GPA of 3.5 or above (ie, be in the top 10% in their year), and must provide a current transcript, two referees, IELTS scores (where relevant), as well as the completed application form by Monday 23rd May at the latest.

Application form

Download the application form here.

Open-access Summer Programmes

We also offer a wide range of other open-access programmes:
Ancient and Classical Worlds
Creative Writing
English Legal Methods
Medieval Studies
Interdisciplinary Summer Programme

About our programmes

Programmes are delivered at university level and geared towards an adult audience of undergraduate and graduate students, professionals and retired people. All are taught by leading Cambridge scholars and guest subject specialists. Programmes combine classroom sessions, subject-specific morning lectures and general-interest evening talks. 

Find out more

Browse our programmes online
Download a copy of our brochure
Request a copy of our brochure or
Call us on +44 (0) 1223 760850

What our students say

“One of the best summers of my life! The courses were intensive, challenging and highly enjoyable!”
Marie Tredaniel, France (Interdisciplinary Programme)

“In the introduction talk you said that your goal was to change lives, and in my case you definitely succeeded. I will hopefully be returning next year, and will definitely be recommending it to others.”
Blanaid Barr, Northern Ireland (Literature)

“Classes are rich and rewarding in their variety and depth; plenary lectures are stimulating and fun; the international, intergenerational student body is a delight… It's no wonder students return year after year.”
Ben Wiley, USA (Interdisciplinary Programme)

“The International Summer Programme is the most wonderful thing I have ever taken part in. I have learned more in the past two weeks than in the past two years! Thank you for this opportunity!”
Barbara Plock, Germany (Medieval Studies)

For more information visit
Follow us on Twitter:@Cambridge_ISP





Thursday, 31 March 2016 12:50

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Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown walk opened as part of CB300 celebrations

The Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) has created a new walk in the grounds of Madingley Hall, in honour of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown's Tercentenary.

Professor Sir Mike Gregory, Acting Director of the Institute of Continuing Education, unveiled the Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown Tercentenary Walk at ICE's annual Open Day on Thursday 24 March 2016.

Download a leaflet of the walk to find out more about the route and its history.

Access to the walk

Visitors are welcome to walk round Madingley Hall's grounds, including the new walk, during daylight hours, Please note that the Hall, Courtyard and Walled Garden are private, and that picnics, games, radios and dogs are not permitted in the grounds.

The gardens will be accessible at the Open Afternoon for the National Gardens Scheme on Sunday 5 June, 2.30 to 5.30pm and as part of the Open Cambridge weekend on Friday 9 September, 2.00 to 7.00pm.

A Capability Brown Conference: Moving Heaven and Earth will be held at the Hall from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 August 2016.

Please note that access is not available on the following dates in 2016:

  • Sunday 29 May
  • Wednesday 1 June
  • Saturday 4 June
  • Sunday 12 June
  • Saturday 18 June
  • Sunday 19 June
  • Wednesday 6 July
  • Saturday 16 July
  • Saturday 23 July
  • Saturday 30 July
  • Saturday 13 August
  • Sunday 14 August
  • Friday 26 August
  • Saturday 27 August
  • Sunday 28 August
  • Saturday 10 September
  • Saturday 24 September

Photo: Professor Sir Mike Gregory, Acting Director Institute of Continuing Education, Julia Weaver, Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust, Richard Griffin, Senior Surveyor, University Estate Management, Richard Gant, Head Gardener.
Image credit: Colm Sheppard


Thursday, 31 March 2016 09:44

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'Illicit antiquities'? The collection of Nazi militaria in the Channel Islands.

Article by Dr Gilly Carr, in The Journal of World Archaeology 48(1).

DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2016.1152196

Published online 29 March 2016

This article explores the collection of Nazi or German militaria in the Channel Islands and the change in meaning that this practice has held for four generations of islanders from 1945 to the present day. Focusing on the role of children in building this trade in militaria, it examines why they have been the primary agents of collection and asks what meaning or value such objects hold for them. This article proposes the concept of 'inherited nostalgia' to explain the desire of the third and fourth generations for such objects. It also presents German militaria as 'postmemorial objects', and their display as a 'postmemorial project', as a way of understanding their meaning in this particular formerly occupied part of Europe.

Download the full article on the Taylor & Francis Group website.


Thursday, 25 February 2016 16:55

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New Director of ICE announced as James Gazzard

We are delighted to announce the appointment of James Gazzard as the next Director of the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE).

Jim is currently Professor of Workforce Futures and Associate Dean for Postgraduate Taught Courses, Enterprise and Engagement in the University of East Anglia’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. His academic expertise centres on supporting scientists and clinicians to become more innovative and entrepreneurial.

He has previously worked across the life science and medical sectors for leading organisations including The Royal Veterinary College, GlaxoSmithKline and the Medical Research Council where he founded and led a range of projects including graduate internship schemes, enterprise education courses, job rotation programmes and the commercialisation of new technologies.

Jim holds undergraduate and doctoral degrees in genetics, an MBA in entrepreneurship and a postgraduate certificate in higher education.

He said: “I am delighted and privileged to have been appointed as the Director of the Institute of Continuing Education. I am relishing the opportunity to build on its heritage as a pioneer of high quality adult education.

“The field of lifelong learning is at a fascinating stage, and ICE has a significant role to play in its future. Personal enrichment learning and professional studies have never been more important as we all try to make sense of the rapidly changing and complex environments in which we live and work.

“There is now far less emphasis in adult education on providing information and facts – which are only a click of a smartphone or tablet away. Instead the focus over the coming years will be forming networks of learners, drawn from all parts of the community, which think about and use knowledge in novel and exciting ways.

“ICE, as a central part of the University of Cambridge, is superbly placed to support these emerging types of adult education.”

Jim will take up his appointment at ICE on 4 April 2016.

ICE would like to express its thanks to Professor Sir Mike Gregory for acting as Director since September. His support, expertise and enthusiasm have been invaluable.


Friday, 19 February 2016 13:38

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Book now for our annual Open Day at Madingley Hall on 24 March 2016

Join us for our annual Open Day on Thursday 24 March 2016, at our home, Madingley Hall. This celebration of continuing education will feature dozens of free events running throughout the day.

  • Hear talks by top Cambridge experts
  • Get advice and information about your study options
  • Enrol on the day, with special offers on selected courses
  • Explore the historic Hall and gardens
  • Stay overnight in our comfortable B&B accommodation

View the Open Day programme and book your place today to attend a talk or tour.

What our 2015 visitors said about the event

On 2 April 2015 we welcomed more than 500 people to our Open Day. Here is a selection of their comments from the day:

"Stimulating and inspiring day in beautiful surroundings"

"Welcoming and well organised"

"Excellent lectures"

"Both guides were superb"

"Friendly welcome - typical of Madingley staff"

"Exceptional facilities and services"

"A joy to be here"

Contact us

If you have any questions about the day, please email us at or call +44 (0)1223 746222.


Thursday, 11 February 2016 11:13

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Is neuroimaging measuring information in the brain?

Journal article by Dr Lee De-Wit, David Alexander, Vebjørn Ekroll and Johan Wagemans, in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, pp. 1-14.

Published February 2016

DOI: 10.3758/s13423-016-1002-0

Psychology moved beyond the stimulus response mapping of behaviorism by adopting an information processing framework. This shift from behavioral to cognitive science was partly inspired by work demonstrating that the concept of information could be defined and quantified (Shannon, 1948). This transition developed further from cognitive science into cognitive neuroscience, in an attempt to measure information in the brain. In the cognitive neurosciences, however, the term information is often used without a clear definition. This paper will argue that, if the formulation proposed by Shannon is applied to modern neuroimaging, then numerous results would be interpreted differently. More specifically, we argue that much modern cognitive neuroscience implicitly focuses on the question of how we can interpret the activations we record in the brain (experimenter-as-receiver), rather than on the core question of how the rest of the brain can interpret those activations (cortex-as-receiver). A clearer focus on whether activations recorded via neuroimaging can actually act as information in the brain would not only change how findings are interpreted but should also change the direction of empirical research in cognitive neuroscience.

Read the full journal article on the Springer website.


Monday, 08 February 2016 15:08

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Dr Catherine Seville

The Institute of Continuing Education notes with sadness the sudden death of Dr Catherine Seville, Fellow and Former Vice-Principal of Newnham College.

Catherine Seville played a prominent role in the Institute’s long-standing English Legal Methods Summer Programme for many years, and contributed greatly to the continuing success of the programme. She will be greatly missed by all those who share in the running and teaching of that programme.

A tribute to Catherine appears on the Newnham College website.


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