British Academy announces 2015 prize and medal winners

29 Sep 2015

The British Academy today announces the winners of its 2015 prizes and medals, which will be formally celebrated at the British Academy's annual awards ceremony tonight (29 September 2015).

The prestigious President's Medal has this year been awarded to a group of academics who hold important roles in some Britain's top cultural institutions, including the former Director of the York Archaeological Trust and Jorvik Viking Centre Dr Peter V Addyman CBE, Chief Executive of Arts Council England and former Controller at Classic FM Darren Henley OBE, independent scholar Dr Elizabeth Livingstone, and the broadcaster Michael Wood, Professor in Public History at Manchester University.

The Academy's most valuable prize is the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Transcultural Understanding. This year the £25,000 prize was awarded to Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum and Honorary Fellow of the British Academy.

Here is full list of the award winners: 


The President's Medal

The President's Medal rewards signal service to the cause of the humanities and social sciences. It was first awarded in 2010 and covers a broad range of criteria, including insightful journalism contributing to public understanding, use of research in policymaking, and public leadership.

The 2015 winners are:

  • Dr Peter V Addyman CBE (formerly York Archaeological Trust and Jorvik Viking Centre)for his significant efforts in making archaeology and historic heritage publically accessible

  • Darren Henley OBE (Arts Council England) for his contributions to music education, music research, and the arts

  • Dr Elizabeth Livingstone for her editorial work on successive editions of a major dictionary and numerous international conferences

  • Professor Michael Wood (University of Manchester) for his significant work in promoting the field of History


The British Academy Medal

The British Academy Medals are awarded for landmark academic achievement in any of the humanities and social science disciplines supported by the Academy. Up to three awards may be made each year.

The 2015 winners are:

  • Professor Patricia Clavin (University of Oxford) for Securing The World Economy: The Reinvention of the League of Nations 1920-1946 (Oxford University Press, 2013)

  • Professor R. F. Foster FBA (University of Oxford) for Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland 1890-1923 (Allen Lane, 2014)

  • Professor Robert Fowler FBA (University of Bristol) for Early Greek Mythography Volume 2: Commentary (Oxford University Press, 2013)


Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Transcultural Understanding

A major £25,000 prize for work on transcultural understanding, administered by the British Academy, and named after International Relations scholar, Dr Nayef Al-Rodhan. It rewards outstanding academic achievement that illustrates the interconnected nature of cultures and civilizations. This prize was first awarded in 2013 and will be presented this year at a ceremony on 30 November 2015.

The 2015 winner is:

  • Neil MacGregor Hon FBA (British Museum) for A History of the World is 100 Objects(Penguin, 2012) and Germany: Memories of a Nation (Allen Lane, 2014)


Neil and Saras Smith Medal for Linguistics

The Neil and Saras Smith Medal is awarded to a linguist of any nationality whose career has demonstrated the highest standards of achievement and scholarship.  Professor Neil Smith was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1999 and is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at University College London. In 2013 Professor Smith created a fund at the Academy to provide for an annual medal in his own field of linguistics.

The 2015 winner is:

  • Professor William Labov (University of Pennsylvania) for his significant contribution to linguistics and the language sciences


Brian Barry Prize in Political Science

The British Academy, in partnership with Cambridge University Press and the British Journal of Political Science awards this prize in honour of Brian Barry, a distinguished Fellow of the Academy and founding editor of the journal. The prize will be awarded annually for excellence in political science, as displayed in an essay submitted that has not been previously published elsewhere or under consideration for publication elsewhere.

The 2015 winner is:

  • Dr Parashar Kulkarni (New York University) forAre There Cultural Prerequisites to Effective Property Rights?: Evidence from Inheritance Rights of Widows in Colonial India.


Derek Allen Prize for Celtic Studies

This prize commemorates Derek Allen (1910–1975), elected a Fellow in 1963, who served from 1969 to 1973 as Secretary of the Academy and from then until his death as Treasurer. It was founded in 1976 by his widow, Mrs Winifred Allen, and her sons to provide an award for outstanding published work by a scholar of any nationality in one of three academic fields in which Mr Allen had particular interest. Annual awards are made in turn in musicology, numismatics and Celtic studies. 2015 is the turn of Celtic Studies.

The 2015 winner is:

  • Professor Pierre-Yves Lambert (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) for his outstanding published work and significant contribution to the field of Celtic studies


Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies

The founder of this award, Professor Francis Burkitt, had bronze medals struck in 1923 for presentation by the Academy to scholars in recognition of special services to Biblical studies.  After his death in 1935 the medals were given the name Burkitt Medals and alternately rewards work in New Testament Studies and Hebrew Bible Studies (as in this year).

The 2015 winner is:

  • Professor David J. A. Clines (University of Sheffield) for his significant contribution to the study of the Hebrew Bible and Hebrew lexicography.


Edward Ullendorff Medal for Semitic Languages or Ethiopian studies

This Medal was established in memory of the late Edward Ullendorff who was a Fellow of the British Academy from 1965 until 2011.  He was formerly Professor Emeritus of Semitic Languages and of Ethiopian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. It is awarded annually for scholarly distinction and achievements in the field of Semitic Languages and Ethiopian Studies.

The 2015 winner is:

  • Dr Siegbert Uhlig (University of Hamburg) for his contribution to the field of Ethiopian Studies and Semitic Languages, in particular Ethiopian palaeography


Rose Mary Crawshay Prize

In April 1888 Mrs Rose Mary Crawshay established ‘The Byron, Shelley, Keats In Memoriam Yearly Prize Fund'. In 1914, some years after her death, the Charity Commissioners transferred the administration of the prize fund to the Academy. One or two prizes are awarded each year ‘to a woman of any nationality who, in the judgement of the Council of the British Academy, has written or published within three years next preceding the year of the award an historical or critical work of sufficient value on any subject connected with English Literature, preference being given to a work regarding one of the poets Byron, Shelley and Keats'.

The 2015 winners are:

  • Professor Catherine Bates (University of Warwick)  for Masculinity and the Hunt: Wyatt to Spenser (Oxford University Press, 2013)

  • Professor Ankhi Mukherjee (University of Oxford) for What is a Classic? Postcolonial Rewriting and Invention of the Canon (Stanford University Press, 2014)


Peter Townsend Prize

The Peter Townsend Prize, worth £2,000 is awarded biennially for outstanding work with policy relevance on a topic which Townsend made a major contribution. It is awarded in commemoration of Professor Peter Townsend, one of the most distinguished global figures in contemporary social policy and sociology.

The 2015 winner is:

  •  Professor Andrew  Sayer (Lancaster University) for Why We Can't Afford the Rich (Policy Press, 2014)


John Coles Medal for Landscape Archaeology

The John Coles Medal for Landscape Archaeology is awarded biennially for distinguished achievements in landscape archaeology. The award was created following the decision of Professor John Coles, a Fellow of the Academy since 1987, to establish an Academy Medal for this field.

The 2015 winner is:

  • Dr David Hall (University of Exeter) for his significant contribution to landscape archaeology through his research into the Midland open field systems and his role in the Fenland Project.


Kenyon Medal for Classical Studies and Archaeology

The Kenyon Medal is awarded biennially in recognition of the work in the field of classical studies and archaeology. The award was endowed by Sir Frederic Kenyon, the Academy's sixth President and second Secretary.

The 2015 winner is:

  • Nigel Wilson FBA (University of Oxford) for his significant contributions to the study of Greek palaeography and the history of Byzantine and later scholarship, and his editing of Greek texts.


Leverhulme Medal and Prize for Humanities and Social Sciences

The Leverhulme Medal and Prize, worth £5,000, is awarded every three years for significant contribution to knowledge and understanding within the humanities and social sciences. The award is made in partnership with The Leverhulme Trust

The 2015 winner is:

  • Professor Sir Richard J Evans FBA (University of Cambridge) for his significant contribution to the field of Modern German History


Sir Israel Gollancz Prize

The Sir Israel Gollancz Prize, worth £400, is awarded biennially for work connected with Anglo-Saxon, Early English Language and Literature, English Philology, or the History of English Language.

The 2015 winner is:

  • Professor Ralph Hanna (University of Oxford) for his contribution to, and prolific research in medieval book history and palaeography.


Serena Medal for Italian Economics

The Serena Medal was endowed by Mr Arthur Serena after Great Britain's alliance with Italy in the First World War, to be awarded annually ‘for eminent services towards the furtherance of the study of Italian history, literature, art or economics'. 

The 2015 winner is:

  • Dr Brian A'Hearn (University of Oxford) for his reputation in, and contribution to the study of Italian economic history


Wiley Prize in Economics

This annual prize, made in partnership with Wiley-Blackwell, rewards achievement in research for an outstanding early career economist. The prize is a sum of £5,000.

The 2015 winner is:

  • Dr Johannes Spinnewijn (London School of Economics and Political Science) for academic excellence in the field of economics, in particular his research in current and topical public policy.


Wiley Prize in Psychology

This annual prize, made in partnership with Wiley-Blackwell, provides an award of £5,000 in recognition of excellence in research in psychology. It alternately rewards lifetime achievement by an outstanding international scholar (as in this year) and promising early career work (within five years of doctorate) by a UK-based psychologist.

The 2015 winner is:

  • Professor Peter Fonagy OBE FBA (University College London) for his excellence in and contribution to the study of clinical psychology and psychotherapy

Contact the press office

For further information contact the Press Office on [email protected]  / 07500 010 432.

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