General News

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


Thursday, 10 December 2015 15:23

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The Queen's Young Leaders of 2016 announced

Sixty young people from across the Commonwealth have today been recognised as exceptional leaders in their communities as part of the Queen's Young Leaders Programme.

Each young leader will receive a prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award from Her Majesty The Queen in 2016.

The Programme celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in their communities. Here at ICE, we are delighted to support the Programme by organising workshops and tailored support to help the Award winners develop their management and leadership skills.

This year’s Award winners, 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 Queen’s Young Leaders Programme was established in 2014 by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief and the Royal Commonwealth Society, in recognition of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth. Over the next three years the Programme, run in partnership with the University of Cambridge, will support thousands of young people to achieve their goals.

Dr Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said: "Once again 60 incredible young people from around the Commonwealth have shown strength, leadership, empathy and drive. Some of our winners are just embarking on their leadership journey and others are more established. Either way, we recognise not only what these amazing young people have achieved, but also their potential in changing people’s lives for the better in the countries and communities in which they live."

To see a full list of Award winners and Highly Commended runners up, and read more about their stories please visit


Thursday, 05 November 2015 10:54


ICE archaeologist Gilly Carr discovers grave of Nazi victim in BBC investigation

ICE archaeologist Dr Gilly Carr has discovered the grave of a long-lost Nazi victim as part of a BBC Inside Out investigation.

Sidney Ashcroft was deported from Nazi-controlled Guernsey for stealing food and punching a German soldier in an attempt to protect his mother.

Sidney was one of the 'Guernsey Eight' - a group of islanders who were deported to different Nazi prisons and concentration camps for various defiant acts against the occupying Germans in the Channel Islands during WWII.

Dr Carr has spent years researching the lives of deported Channel Islanders and has retraced Sidney's final steps. Accompanied by his cousin, who she tracked down, she discovered Sidney's resting place in a mass grave in the cemetery of St Michael in Straubing, where Sidney's body had been dumped after his death from tuberculosis in Straubing prison in Germany. Dr Carr and Sidney's cousin, Chris Roberts, were able to lay a plaque in the place of the mass grave so that Sidney's final resting place could be remembered.

The people of Straubing have since planted flowers around the plaque and a local priest has blessed the burial place.

The poignant story was captured for the BBC's Inside Out programme, broadcast on BBC One on Monday 2 November 2015.

Nazi victim Sidney Ashcroft's grave found after 70 years - read the full story on the BBC website

BBC Inside Out 02/11/2015 - watch the programme on BBC iPlayer


Thursday, 15 October 2015 10:08

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Dr Susan Oosthuizen elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Dr Susan Oosthuizen, Reader in Medieval Archaeology and ICE's Academic Director for Historic Environment, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (RHS).

Since it was founded in 1868 the RHS has become the foremost society in the UK working with professional historians and advancing the scholarly study of the past. It is a learned society with charitable status that is increasingly at the forefront of policy debates about the study of history. It works closely with the Historical Association, the body that leads on history in schools, the Institute of Historical Research, a central hub for the provision of research resources, and History UK (HE), a council of representatives of UK university history department.

Fellowships are awarded to those who have made "an original contribution to historical scholarship", normally through the authorship of a monograph, a body of scholarly work similar in scale and impact to a monograph, or the organisation of exhibitions, conferences, the editing of journals and other works of diffusion and dissemination grounded in historical scholarship.

Susan is delighted to have been elected to a Fellowship of the RHS. "It is not only a personal honour", she says, "but one that recognises the contribution to world-class scholarship in history and archaeology by academics and students across the wider higher education context of lifelong learning."

Further information

Dr Susan Oosthuizen's profile

Royal Historical Society website

Historic Environment courses at ICE


Friday, 04 September 2015 10:49

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Dr Gilly Carr awarded German grant for her work with victims of Nazi persecution

Dr Gilly Carr, University Senior Lecturer and Academic Director in Archaeology at ICE, has been awarded 50,000 Euros by the EVZ Foundation for her research on Channel Islander victims of Nazi persecution. The EVZ Foundation (Erinnerung, Verantwortung, Zunkuft – Remembrance, Responsibility, Future) was set up to support projects on victims of Nazism.

Although the funding will cover Gilly’s research expenses and outreach activities for three years, and will pay for research assistants in Jersey, Guernsey and Berlin, the funding that Gilly has received will primarily be used to build a sophisticated website on which will be uploaded the testimonies written by islanders in the 1960s to get compensation from the German government.

These islanders had been sent to Nazi prisons and concentration camps for acts of resistance against the German occupying forces in the Channel Islands between 1940 and 1945. They represent a key group of British citizens who experienced these institutions and have been largely forgotten outside the Channel Islands.

Gilly has collected around 100 testimonies out of the c.250 islanders deported to prisons and camps, and will supplement these records with public and private archival and family documents from Jersey, Guernsey, the UK and across Germany. These will be cross-referenced with camp and prison records, maps and photographs to build up an online picture of the experience of islanders in their journeys across Europe as they were moved between prisons and camps, often in chains or in cattle trucks.

This project, which will take three years, will be supplemented by a book. Gilly has a contract with Bloomsbury Academic to write Testimonies of Nazi Persecution from the Channel Islands: A Legitimate Heritage? This book will build upon an earlier monograph, published in 2014, entitled Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands, which was co-authored by Paul Sanders and Louise Willmot.

Over the last few years, Gilly has carried out much heritage and memory-related work in the Channel Islands with victim groups of Nazi persecution, such as excavating a forced labour camp; giving public lectures on Holocaust Memorial Day; curating exhibitions on those deported from the islands to civilian internment camps; and designing a Resistance Trail. She has also campaigned for memorials to be erected to people who died in Nazi prisons and camps.

Gilly is extremely excited to have received this funding and is looking forward to continuing her research in this field and raising awareness about the plight of these Channel Islanders, to make sure that their experience is integrated into what is known of British experiences of the Holocaust.

View Dr Gilly Carr’s profile

Find out more about Archaeology courses at ICE


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