Portrait of John Fulljames


Oxford University announces the appointment of its first Director of the Humanities Cultural Programme (HCP).

Published: 2 November 2022



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John Fulljames, who was Director of Opera at the Royal Danish Opera and Royal Danish Orchestra from 2017 until earlier this year, will take up the role in November. He was previously Associate Director of Opera for the Royal Opera; and founded The Opera Group, an innovative company which partnered with the Young Vic.

John has been a director for more than 20 years, collaborating with leading performers, dance companies and visual artists on many of Europe’s biggest stages. He led the creation of productions which have won awards including the Irish Theatre Awards and the Evening Standard Awards and were nominated by the Olivier Awards and the Southbank Show Awards.

The HCP is an active and innovative programme of public events powered by research from across the humanities at Oxford University. It aims to bring the world’s leading performers and emerging artists across different cultural fields to Oxford - both in-person and online. It launched in 2019 and is a founding stone of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities. The Centre was made possible by a £175 million gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman, who is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, one of the world's leading investment firms.

John Fulljames said: “I am very excited by this utterly unique opportunity to lead a multi-disciplinary arts centre which will sit at the core of three difference communities: the Oxford city and region, the university community, and the international cultural community. My aim as Director is to bring these communities together through cultural activity which resonates with all of them.

“I see this as an opportunity not only to create something new to Oxford, but to work with a whole new generation of artists and companies and support them to do things which have never been done before. The Schwarzman Centre will provide the first purpose-built concert hall space in Oxford and I look forward to filling its venues with a diverse range of music and arts performances that bring in different audiences who have not engaged with Oxford University before. I cannot wait to see the synergies which emerge from all these different art forms going on in one place.”

Professor Dan Grimley, Head of Humanities at Oxford University, said: “I am delighted that we have secured a world-class cultural leader for Oxford University’s Humanities Cultural Programme. John Fulljames brings invaluable experience in directing major productions at world-renowned venues, as well as an entrepreneurial flair evidenced by his successful opera start-up. These experiences will help us to produce innovative cultural programming which brings Oxford’s humanities research to new audiences within Oxford and across the world.”

The HCP, which seeks to increase the social impact and understanding of humanities research and reaffirm its value to our common future, has already reached more than 700,000 people with its in-person and online events since the onset of the pandemic. It has supported more than 70 projects with cultural partners inside and outside of Oxford and welcomed a diverse range of Visiting Fellows, including Katie Mitchell, Anthony Ross Costanzo, John Pfumojena, and Katie Melua. As part of her Visiting Professorship, singer Katie Melua developed an original composition with researchers, Oxford students and local musicians, which they then performed to a packed Sheldonian Theatre.

The HCP will bring to life state-of-the-art performance and cultural venues in the future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities, including a 500-seat concert hall, a 250-seat theatre and a 100-seat “Black Box” space for experimental performance. Enabling works are now underway on the construction site and the building will open in 2025.


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View the full programme of HCP events: