General News

Monday, 15 August 2016 10:14

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Army Wives: a new book by Midge Gillies

Midge Gillies, Academic Director of Creative Writing at ICE, has written a new book which documents the experience of British 'army wives' through history.

From Crimea to life under the British Raj, from the First World War to Afghanistan, Midge uses first-hand accounts, letters and diaries to tell the fascinating and varied stories of the women who lived through these life-changing events.

Army Wives (Aurum Press, 2016) explores all aspects of army life: from the impact life-changing injury – mental or physical – has on the family to the final blow of death itself; from the séances, public memorials and deaths in a foreign field of the Great War to the modern media coverage of flag-draped coffins returning home by military plane.

Midge goes on to examine the struggle for a normal life: how wives communicate with their husbands in letters and coded messages or by Skype and texts – and the everyday pressures of being a modern army wife, whether living in barracks or trying to maintain a normal home life outside ‘the patch’.

Above all, Army Wives examines what it really means to be part of the ‘army family’.

About the author

Midge Gillies has written six books including highly acclaimed biographies of the record-breaking pilot Amy Johnson, and Edwardian music hall star, Marie Lloyd. In Waiting for Hitler, Britain on the Brink of Invasion she recreated the tension and fear that permeated the summer of 1940. She studied History at Cambridge and has written for a wide range of publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Independent and the Los Angeles Times.

She is Academic Director of Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, and teaches on a wide range of programmes, including the Certificate and Diploma courses in Creative Writing.


Wednesday, 22 June 2016 11:03

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2016 Queen’s Young Leaders visit ICE

We are delighted to welcome the 2016 Queen’s Young Leaders to Madingley Hall this week. The Young Leaders are here to take part in a series of workshops, organised by ICE, to help them develop their management and leadership skills.

Over a packed week, Queen’s Young Leaders will visit global corporations, the sights, shops and museums of London – and Buckingham Palace for a reception with Her Majesty the Queen. In the midst of all this, they are spending two days in Cambridge to think, network, be inspired and learn.

This year’s Queen’s Young Leaders, who are aged between 18 and 29 and come from all over the Commonwealth, are working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of different issues including education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality.

The 2016 Leaders will be welcomed and supported by Alumni from the 2015 group during their stay in Cambridge, including:

  • Alicia Wallace, women’s rights activist, public educator and grassroots organiser from the Bahamas
  • Nicole Brown, CEO of Robogals Global – an international non-profit organisation that promotes engineering as a career for women – from Australia
  • Shamir Shehab, a social entrepreneur, environmental activist, and policy advocate, from Bangladesh
  • Edmund Page, CEO and founder of the Xavier Project, an NGO working with refugees in Kenya and Uganda
  • Jerome Cowans from Jamaica who is known for his work in youth leadership and youth development
  • Tabby Besley, founder and co-ordinator of InsideOUT, a national youth charity in New Zealand
  • Nkechikwu Azinge, founder of the Sickle Cell Aid Foundation (SCAF) in Nigeria
  • Jordan Kerr, Director of the National Youth Council of Australia.

For updates, photographs and the latest news on #QueensYoungLeaders at Madingley, visit the Leading Change Facebook page or catch them on Twitter @LeadingChangeUC.


Tuesday, 21 June 2016 10:42

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Dr Gilly Carr wins Vice-Chancellor's Impact Award

ICE archaeologist Dr Gilly Carr has won the 2016 Vice-Chancellor's Impact Award for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, for her work on 'Victims of Nazism in the Channel Islands: A Legitimate Heritage?'.

These prestigious awards have been established to recognise and reward those whose research has led to excellent impact in the world beyond academia.

The aim of Gilly's research has been to increase awareness of Channel Islander victims of Nazi persecution both locally (in the Channel Islands) and nationally. She is achieving this through the creation of a plural 'heritage landscape' in the Channel Islands, to facilitate the voice of this group, and via education. She is working with the Holocaust Education Trust to create educational materials for the UK and Channel Islands, and will also be curating exhibitions in London. The creation of the heritage itself is a major achievement and will be of significant impact for the Channel Islands.

Gilly has recently filmed two BBC documentaries on her work. Her application earlier this year was successful for Jersey woman Dorothea Le Brocq to be recognised as 'Righteous Among the Nations' by Yad Vashem for sheltering a Jewish woman. Gilly's exhibition on Channel Islander victims of Nazism will be coming to London, to the Wiener Library for the study of the Holocaust and Genocide, in 2017.

Speaking after the awards ceremony, Gilly said: "I am really pleased to win this award for my work on victims of Nazism. I am passionate about getting their story more widely known and it is nice to feel that one's hard work has been appreciated."


Thursday, 02 June 2016 13:49

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Dr Ed Turner awarded the John Spedan Lewis Medal for his significant contribution to conservation

On the 24th May ICE Academic Director for Biological Sciences, Dr Ed Turner, was awarded the John Spedan Lewis medal for his significant and innovative contribution to conservation at the Linnean Society of London’s annual meeting at Burlington House in Piccadilly, London.

John Spedan Lewis, founder of the John Lewis Partnership, was a skilled business man, but considered himself first and foremost a naturalist. He was a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London from 1933 until his death in 1963. The following year the John Spedan Lewis Foundation was established to support projects closely aligned to Spedan’s personal interests in the field of natural history. The John Spedan Lewis Medal was commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the Foundation.

Many congratulations to Dr Ed Turner on receiving this much deserved award.

Learn about conservation science

If you would like to learn more about conservation science, the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education has a wealth of courses available.

You can find a full list of our Conservation and Biological Science courses on our website.

Dr Turner himself is teaching a number of forthcoming courses:

The story of life on earth: four billion years in seven hours (25 June 2016)
Undergraduate Certificate in Evolutionary Biology (returning 2017)
Undergraduate Diploma in Evolutionary Biology (2016)


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, 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, 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.


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.


Tuesday, 26 January 2016 10:02

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The Queen's Young Leaders searches the Commonwealth for mentors

The opportunity to guide the next generation of leaders is being offered to potential mentors around the Commonwealth – be they in business, technology, health, science, education or NGOs.

The mentors will join the 2016 Queen's Young Leaders Mentor Panel to help winners of the Queen's Young Leaders award develop their work.

Current mentors have described the experience as “fulfilling”, “an absolute privilege” and “filled with hope, aspiration, and love for humanity”. Many have also commented that it has helped them network globally.

Inaugurated by HRH the Duke of Cambridge and HRH Prince Henry of Wales in July 2014, the Queen’s Young Leaders Award recognises young people from across the Commonwealth who are working to improve their communities.

As part of their prize, winners receive a course in leadership as part of the Leading Change programme. The course and mentoring scheme have been developed, and are managed by, the Institute of Continuing Education at the University of Cambridge.

Frances Brown, Leading Change Course Director, says:

“Many of our mentoring partnerships have grown into ongoing working and personal relationships with the 2015 Queen’s Young Leaders.  

“This year we are looking to expand our network to cover the Commonwealth countries that were missing last year – particularly those from island nations. We also want to attract more mentors in traditional high-status roles in business and leadership, and those leading in non-traditional, innovative ways.”

What our mentors say

“As I mentored, it opened me to ideas of improving various skills, particularly in terms of nurturing and patience... This has facilitated access to resources on leadership, and management skills, as well as a community of emerging and accomplished leaders.” (Dr Ishrat Bano, Personal Mentor from Pakistan)

“It has been good talking to the Queen’s Young Leaders. I was happy I could share with them, and also learn from them at the same time…” (Ayuk Anne-Chantal Besong, Personal Mentor from Cameroon)

“[My mentees] are exceptional young women working to make a difference in our world. I admire their resilience to achieve their goals despite challenges they face.” (Unami Moatswi, Advisory Mentor from Botswana)

“It was apparent to me immediately that I would learn as much from her as she would from me. We often say this, pay lip service to it, but it has been entirely true with us.” (Dr Rebecca Calder, Personal Mentor from Canada)


If you're interested in becoming a mentor, or would like to find out more about the programme, please visit


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