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The British Academy Medal

The British Academy Medals are awarded annually and recognise outstanding achievement that has transformed understanding of a particular subject or field of study in any of the disciplines supported by the Academy, that is, in any branch of the humanities and social sciences. The Medals were first awarded in 2013.


The achievement for which candidates may be nominated is likely to be (a) a publication of particularly outstanding significance for its discipline, in the form of a book, a journal article or other medium appropriate to the discipline concerned, or (b) a body of work assembled over a longer period. Candidates may be of any age, nationality or country of residence. If the nomination relates to a publication, the nominated work must be available in English. 

How to nominate

Nominations may only be made by Fellows of the British Academy. Nominations for the 2019 Medal have now closed.

2018 Winners

Timothy MitfordTimothy Bruce Mitford FSA is an Associate Member of the Corpus Christi College Centre for the Study of Greek and Roman Antiquity at the University of Oxford and Commander in the Royal Navy. He was a Rugby School Scholar (1951-56) and Corpus Christi College, Oxford Scholar (1958-62). Timothy received his diploma of Archaeology, Oxford 1962-63 and was a Scholar and Fellow of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara between 1963-65. Having conducted his National Service as a Midshipman, he went on to serve in the Royal Navy for almost thirty years (1965-93), after which he joined the Ministry of Defence (1993-2000).

He is awarded the British Academy Medal for his two-volume publication East of Asia Minor: Rome's Hidden Frontier (Oxford University Press, 2017) which is based on research, field work conducted largely on foot, and new discoveries. These two remarkable volumes result from 50 years of endeavour, establishing the whole line of Rome’s Euphrates frontier from the Black Sea to the beginnings of Mesopotamia. 

"What? Me? A naval officer?”’ – Dr Timothy Bruce Mitford, July 2018

Miriam GriffinDr Miriam Griffin was an American Classical Scholar who played a crucial role in inciting interest in readers to appreciate the philosophical writing of the ancient Romans in their historical context. Educated at St. Anne’s College, Oxford as a Fulbright Scholar (1957-60), she went on to be a teaching Fellow at Harvard University, before returning to the University of Oxford - first as Fulford Research Fellow, St. Anne’s College, then as a Lecturer in Ancient History at Somerville. Miriam was always primarily a historian of ideas, rather than politics. She was the author of three books: Seneca: A Philosopher in Politics (Oxford, 1976; rev. ed. 1992), Nero: The End of a Dynasty (Batsford, 1984; rev. eds. 1987, 1996), and her last book Seneca on Society (Oxford, 2013), a study of Seneca’s De Beneficiis. In addition to these, she wrote many important articles, about to be published by Oxford University Press as Politics and Philosophy at Rome: Collected Papers.  As the editor of A Companion to Julius Caesar (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), she brought together academics from a range of areas; she worked also with other notable academics, including Michael Crawford, 2017 winner of the British Academy Derek Allen Prize. In he organized the first ever “Women in Classics" dinner, held in Oxford, and maintained close relationships with her pupils, whom she continued to teach, supervise and help, years after her retirement.

Dr Miriam Griffin passed away in May 2018 after a long, brave fight with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. She leaves a husband, three daughters, a grand daughter, many grieving friends, and a magnificent legacy of scholarship and human generosity.

“Let us drink a toast to caritas: loving generosity.” – Dr Miriam Griffin, 2002.

Professor Catherine Whistler

Professor Catherine Whistler is Keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum, and curator of Italian, French and Spanish art; she is a Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford. Her scholarly catalogue, Baroque and Later Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum, appeared in 2016.  Her research interests include Venetian art; the history of collecting; drawings and print culture; and the art of Raphael.  At the Ashmolean, she has curated exhibitions on topics such as Brazilian Baroque Art or the Grand Tour, as well as the 2017 award-winning show, Raphael: The Drawings, curated with Dr Ben Thomas as part of a research project on Raphael and the Eloquence of Drawing funded by the Leverhulme Trust.  She has collaborated with leading British artist Jenny Saville, who presented new work in response to the Ashmolean’s exhibition, Titian to Canaletto: Drawing in Venice in 2015-16.  Prof Whistler’s current research project on Italian drawings is funded by The Getty Foundation as part of The Paper Project, an initiative focussed on prints and drawings curatorship in the 21st century.

“I am truly honoured and utterly delighted to receive this prestigious award from the British Academy, an institution that splendidly celebrates and supports the arts, humanities and social sciences as fields of intellectual enquiry.” - Professor Catherine Whistler, July 2018

Previous Winners

2017  Professor Antony Griffiths FBA for The Print Before Photography: An Introduction to European Printmaking 1550-1820 (British Museum Press, 2016)

2017  Professor Avi Shlaim FBA, University of Oxford for Lifetime Achievement.

2017  Professor Dame Marina Warner DBE CBE FBA, Birkbeck, University of London for Lifetime Achievement.

2016  Professor Tim Blanning FBA for Frederick the Great: King of Prussia (Allen Lane, 2015)

2016  Dr Susan E. Kelly for Charters of Chertsey Abbey (British Academy, 2015) and Charters of Christ Church Canterbury (British Academy, 2013)

2016  Professor David Lowenthal FBA for The Past is a Foreign Country – Revisited (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

2015  Professor Patricia Clavin for Securing The World Economy: The Reinvention of the League of Nations 1920-1946 (Oxford University Press, 2013)

2015  Professor R F Foster FBA for Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland 1890-1923 (Allen Lane, 2014)

2015  Professor Robert Fowler FBA for Early Greek Mythography Volume 2: Commentary (Oxford University Press, 2013)

2014  Professor David Luscombe FBA for The Letter Collection of Peter Abelard and Heloise(Oxford University Press, 2013)

2014  Professor Geoffrey Parker FBA for Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century (Yale University Press, 2013)

2014  Professor Thomas Piketty for Capital in the 21st Century (Harvard University Press, 2013, English edition 2014)

2013  Professor David Abulafia FBA, University of Cambridge, for The Great Sea: a Human History of the Mediterranean (Penguin Books, 2011)

2013  Dr Noel Malcolm FBA, All Souls College Oxford, for Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan (Oxford University Press, 2012)

2013  Professor Tim Shallice FBA, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL, and Dr Richard Cooper, Birkbeck, University of London, for The Organisation of Mind (Oxford University Press, 2011)