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British Academy lecture series

Information on the remit, frequency and nomination process of the 30 series of British Academy lectures.

Following a major review in 2011, the Academy now has 30 series of lectures - many of them associated with endowments received by the Academy. Below is information on the remit, frequency and nomination procedure of each series.


The British Academy Lecture
Origins: established to mark the Academy’s move to new headquarters in Carlton House Terrace in 1998; first delivered in 1997.
Subject/remit: to promote appreciation of the Academy’s fields of scholarship, in particular on matters of topical debate.
Selecting body: Communications and Engagement Committee.
Current intended frequency: annual.

President’s Lecture
Origins: added to the Academy’s portfolio of lectures in 2015; first delivered in 2017.
Subject/remit: offers a platform for an eminent public figure to address the British Academy – typically in conversation with the President of the British Academy.
Selecting body: the President.
Current intended frequency: annual.

Isaiah Berlin Lecture
Origins: endowed through a bequest from Sir Isaiah Berlin FBA; first delivered in 2001.
Subject/remit: an appraisal of the contemporary condition of any one of the fields of learning with which the Academy is concerned.
Selecting body: Communications and Engagement Committee.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Master-Mind Lecture
Origins: endowed through a bequest from Miss Henriette Hertz (1846-1913); first delivered in 1916.
Subject/remit: an appreciation of an individual of ‘genius’, connected with any of the disciplines of the Academy.
Nominating body: Communications and Engagement Committee.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Lecture in Classics and Ancient History
Origins: added as part of the 2011 review of lectures; first delivered in 2013.
Subject/remit: Classics and ancient history.
Nominating body: Section H1.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Lecture in Religious Studies
Origins: added as part of the 2011 review of lectures; first delivered in 2015.
Subject/remit: Religious studies.
Nominating body: Section H2.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Schweich Lectures on Biblical Archaeology
Origins: endowed by Miss Constance Schweich in memory of her father Leopold; first delivered in 1908.
Subject/remit: ‘the archaeology, art, history, languages and literature of Ancient Civilisation, with reference to Biblical Study’.
Nominating body: specialist advisory committee.
Current intended frequency: three lectures given every 3 years.

Lecture on Africa, Asia and the Middle East
Origins: added as part of the 2011 review of lectures; first delivered in 2014.
Subject/remit: Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Nominating body: Section H3.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Anna Morpurgo Davies Lecture
Origins: in 2011, the British Academy and the Philological Society agreed to establish a joint lecture; first delivered in 2013; in 2014, the Academy and the Society agreed to name the lecture series after Anna Morpurgo Davies FBA.
Subject/remit: Linguistics and philology.
Nominating body: Section H4, in consultation with the Philological Society.
Current intended frequency: every 2 years.

Shakespeare Lecture
Origins: endowed by Mrs Frida Mond (1847-1923); first delivered in 1911.
Subject/remit: ‘some Shakespearean subject, philosophical, historical, or philological, or some problem in English dramatic literature and histrionic art, or some study in literature of the age of Shakespeare’.
Nominating body: joint lectures committee of Sections H5 & H6.
Current intended frequency: every 2 years.

Warton Lecture on English Poetry
Origins: endowed by Mrs Frida Mond (1847-1923), and named after Thomas Warton, ‘the first historian of English poetry’; first delivered in 1910.
Subject/remit: English poetry.
Nominating body: joint lectures committee of Sections H5 & H6.
Current intended frequency: every 2 years (odd years).

Chatterton Lecture on Poetry
Origins: endowed through a bequest from E H W Meyerstein, and named after the poet Thomas Chatterton; first delivered in 1955.
Subject/remit: the life and works of a deceased poet who had written in the English language; to be given by an early career scholar.
Nominating body: joint lectures committee of Sections H5 & H6.
Current intended frequency: every 2 years.

Lecture in Modern Languages
Origins: added as part of the 2011 review of lectures; first delivered in 2013.
Subject/remit: Modern Languages (covering both languages and literatures).
Nominating body:
joint lectures committee of Sections H5 & H6.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Lecture on the Novel in English
Origins: added as part of the 2011 review of lectures; first delivered in 2014.
Subject/remit: the English novel.
Nominating body: joint lectures committee of Sections H5 & H6.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Albert Reckitt Archaeological Lecture
Origins: funded by the archaeological trust established by the late Mr Albert L Reckitt; first delivered in 1951.
Subject/remit: Archaeology.
Nominating body: Section H7.
Current intended frequency: every 2 years.

Elsley Zeitlyn Lecture on Chinese Archaeology and Culture
Origins: endowed through a bequest from Miss M H Zeitlyn; first delivered in 2001.
Subject/remit: Chinese archaeology, art and music.
Nominating body: sub-committee of representatives from Sections H7 and H11.
Current intended frequency: every 2 years.

Sir Israel Gollancz Memorial Lecture
Origins: endowed through a bequest from Mrs Frida Mond (1847-1923); first delivered in 1924, and subsequently named after the Academy’s first Secretary, Sir Israel Gollancz.
Subject/remit: Old English or Early English Language and Literature.
Nominating body: Section H8.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Sir John Rhys Memorial Lecture
Origins: endowed through an appeal fund in memory of Sir John Rhys FBA; first delivered in 1925.
Subject/remit: a Welsh or other Celtic theme.
Nominating body: specialist advisory committee.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Raleigh Lecture on History
Origins: endowed by Sir Charles Wakefield to commemorate the tercentenary of Sir Walter Raleigh’s death; first delivered in 1919.
Subject/remit: History - rotating between medieval, early modern, and modern topics.
Nominating body: Sections H8, H9 and H10 - in rotation.
Current intended frequency: annual.

Elie Kedourie Memorial Lecture
Origins: endowed through an appeal fund in memory of Elie Kedourie FBA; first delivered in 1996.
Subject/remit: Modern history and politics (with particular regard to Europe or the Middle East).
Nominating body: Sections H10 and S5 - in rotation.
Current intended frequency: every 2 years.

Aspects of Art Lecture
Origins: endowed through a bequest from Miss Henriette Hertz (1846-1913); first delivered in 1916.
Subject/remit: some aspect of the relation of Art or Music to human culture.
Nominating body: Section H11.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Philosophical Lecture
Origins: endowed through a bequest from Miss Henriette Hertz (1846-1913); first delivered in 1914.
Subject/remit: Philosophy.
Nominating body: Section H12.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Maccabaean Lecture in Jurisprudence
Origins: endowed by the Maccabaeans society to mark the tercentenary of the Jewish resettlement in England under Cromwell; first delivered in 1956.
Subject/remit: Jurisprudence.
Nominating body: Section S1.
Current intended frequency: every 2 years.

British Academy Law Lectures
Origins: established at the suggestion of the Academy’s Law Section; first delivered in 2004.
Subject/remit:
on any legal subject other than jurisprudence, where relevant with an eye on practical policy issues.
Nominating body: Section S1.
Current intended frequency: every 2 years.

Keynes Lecture in Economics
Origins: established at the suggestion of the Academy’s Economics Section, and named after John Maynard Keynes FBA; first delivered in 1971.
Subject/remit: Economics.
Nominating body: Section S2.
Current intended frequency: annual.

Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in Social Anthropology
Origins: established by the Academy and the Association of Social Anthropologists, and named after the Association’s first President, A R Radcliffe-Brown, FBA; first delivered in 1972.
Subject/remit: Social anthropology.
Nominating body: Section S3.
Current intended frequency: every 2 years.

Lecture in Geography
Origins: added as part of the 2011 review of lectures; first delivered in 2015.
Subject/remit: Geography.
Nominating body: Section S3.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Lecture in Sociology
Origins: added following the 2011 review of lectures; first delivered in 2016.
Subject/remit: Sociology, demography, social statistics.
Nominating body: Section S4.
Current intended frequency: every 2 years.

Lecture in Politics and Government
Origins: added as part of the 2011 review of lectures; first delivered in 2014.
Subject/remit: Politics and government studies.
Nominating body: Section S5.
Current intended frequency: every 3 years.

Joint British Academy/British Psychological Society Lecture
Origins: first delivered in 2001 to mark the centenary of the British Psychological Society.
Subject/remit: Psychology, connected to an annual theme chosen by the BPS.
Nominating body: Section S6, in consultation with the BPS.
Current intended frequency: annual.