Our Trip Scholars

Each Oxford Journeys trip is accompanied by an expert trip scholar. Our scholars share their extensive knowledge and insights into the sites visited and give regular talks about their related research.

Meet the experts who accompany our alumni trips below.

Dr Rowena E. Archer is a Fellow and lecturer at Brasenose College and lecturer at Christ Church. She was born in Northern Ireland but partly educated in England, reading for her first degree at Bristol. She spent two ‘gap years' in the late 1970s in France, the first time doing the wine harvest in the Beaujolais.  She first worked on the Late Medieval English Nobility during the Hundred Years War with France but was drawn towards the experiences of women. She has published on a wide variety of aspects of women’s lives making particular use of the work of the late fourteenth century Franco-Italian writer, Christine de Pisan and is just starting a study on the impact of the Anglo-French wars on women. She has a particular interest in Henry V and Agincourt. She teaches French History from 1000–1500 and runs a specialist course on Joan of Arc and her Age, 1419–1435. She is Director of the long running Medieval Studies Programme for the Cambridge International Summer Schools and regularly teaches at Madingley Hall. She travels to France at least twice a year, partly for work and partly for pleasure.

Professor Peter Bellwood is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the Australia National University in Canberra.  An alumnus of the University of Cambridge, he specialises in the prehistory of Southeast Asia from archaeological, linguistic and biological perspectives.  He is currently involved in archaeological fieldwork near the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and is co-author of the book Southeast Asia: from prehistory to history published by Routledge.  Professor Bellwood knows the site of Angkor Wat well, having recently organised an archaeology conference in Siem Reap.

Professor Colin Bundy is a respected South African historian and an influential member of a generation of historians who substantially revised understanding of South African history.  He is now retired but has held a number of senior posts across many higher education institutions, including Warden of Green Templeton College, Oxford, director and principal of the School of Oriental and African Studies, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of London, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, director of the Institute for Historical Research, and vice-rector of the University of the Western Cape.

Dr Jan D. Cox specialises in 19th-century Nordic Art and is based in the Department of Continuing Education at both University of Oxford and Cambridge.  He presented papers on the subject in Copenhagen, Oslo and the Danish Institute in Rome.  In 2016 he is tutoring a week-long Summer School on art, music, and film in Scandinavia, and is also a keynote speaker on the impact of Nordic Art at the annual conference of the International Association of Scandinavian Studies.

Dr Carolin Crawford is Public Astronomer at the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy.  Dr Crawford is also a College Lecturer, Fellow, and Tutor at Emmanuel College, and was appointed as Professor of Astronomy for Gresham College from 2011 to 2015. Her years of active research experience and her significant contributions to science, engineering, and technology won her a prestigious Woman of Outstanding Achievement award in 2009.  Dr Crawford will be covering a range of exciting topics during your voyage such as exoplanets, lifecycles of stars, and cosmology.

Professor Nick Davies (Wolfson, 1973) is Professor of Behavioural Ecology at the University of Cambridge. An ornithologist and field naturalist, he has accompanied many previous alumni tours to great success. His research concerns the study of how behaviour evolves in response to selection pressures from ecology and the social environment. His current work focuses on the interactions between cuckoos and their hosts, and Professor Davies has recently published Cuckoo: cheating by nature (Bloomsbury), as well as having previously co-authored a number of definitive primers on Behavioural Ecology.

Professor Roger Davies is the Philip Wetton Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University and a Student of Christ Church. He is Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Institute of Physics and was recently elected the Fellowship of University College London. His research interests centre on cosmology and how galaxies form and evolve. He has a longstanding interest in astronomical instruments and telescopes and has pioneered the use of a new class of astronomical spectrograph to measure the masses and ages of galaxies, as well as search for black holes in their nuclei.

Dr Matt Friedman is a Lecturer in Palaeobiology in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford. His research focuses on the evolution of biological diversity within vertebrates, using fossil evidence to understand the timing of major evolutionary events, and the patterns by which modern animals came to acquire their distinctive anatomical features over geological timescales. Dr Friedman accompanied a very successful alumni tour to Madagascar in 2014.

Dr Justin Gerlach (Wadham College, 1988) is a Senior Teaching Member at Robinson College, Cambridge and an affiliated researcher at the University Museum of Zoology.  He was born in the Seychelles and growing up there he became passionate about nature and conservation. He completed his PhD in Zoology at the University of Oxford before joining the research team at the University of Cambridge and his research interests cover all aspects of tropical island ecology, evolution and conservation. Species of particular interest include the Seychelles giant tortoises, sheath-tailed bat, sooglossids frogs, caecilians and the tiger chameleon.

Dr Jamie Greenbaum is currently a visiting Fellow at Peking National University, researching the history of early Chinese utopias and the early Northern State of Yan (the area around and to the north of present-day Beijing). He has travelled widely in China and lectured on both ancient and contemporary China. He has accompanied seven previous alumni tours.

Gijs van Hensbergen is a writer whose books include Gaudí, In the Kitchens of Castile and Guernica: the Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon.  He has published widely in the Burlington Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, appeared on BBC Radio 4, the Discovery Channel and TV España. He read languages at Utrecht University and Art History at the Courtauld Institute.

Dr Alexander Herrera is Associate Professor at the Department of Art History, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. Professor Herrera knows all of Colombia`s archaeological parks and is well acquainted with the material culture of the broader region, regularly leading study trips, directing research on collections, and bringing together artists and scholars at learned meetings.  A Cambridge graduate, he specialises in the prehistory of the central Andes region from a socio-ecologic perspective, having conducted field research in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. He is currently writing Water Ancestors and Memory, a summary of 15 years’ work on the technical and symbolic dimensions of water management. He has also been working to apply knowledge derived from ancient techniques to rural development today.

Robert Hulse (St Catherine’s, 1972)  is the Director of the Brunel Museum in London.  Robert has worked in education and museums for 20 years and is co-author of The Brunels’ Tunnel, with a foreword by Michael Palin. He is recently returned from a Brunel lecture tour in the USA.

Dr Hubertus Jahn lectures in East European History at Cambridge University, where he is the Chair of the Committee for Russian and East European History. He has travelled extensively in the Caucasus since his first visit in 1982. Dr Jahn’s wife, who is Georgian and was a lecturer at the University of Georgia in Tbilisi, will join him in accompanying our alumni tour, Ancient Routes of the Caucasus.

Dr Nicholas James (Exeter, 1973) is Director of Studies in Social Anthropology at Magdalene College, Cambridge.  Dr ames is a consultant in management and interpretation of historical resources. Throughout his career he has worked, amongst other projects, on the archaeology and history of indigenous American traditions, including Inca imperialism. He graduated from Oxford and is now Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He is an avid exponent of adult education and a seasoned tour guide of Latin America.

Professor Alan Knight is Emeritus Fellow and former Professor of the History of Latin America (1992 - 2013) at the Latin American Centre, University of Oxford.  Professor Knight began specializing in Latin American history because of the Cuban Revolution of Fidel Castro, which concerned the British government enough to sponsor several new Latin American centres including one at Oxford.  

Harriet Landseer is a Prague-based art historian specialising in the heritage and art of the Czech Republic and Central Europe. She majored in art history at Yale University and has lived on and off in Prague since 1991, where she designs and leads tours for museums and heritage organisations including the UK Art Fund and Guggenheim Museums in Bilbao & New York. She is a specialist in Czech and Central European country houses and has an in-depth knowledge of Prague’s architectural history.

Professor Alexei Leporc is a Curator of Western European Art at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. As well as his curatorial responsibilities, he is also Professor of 15th–20th century West European art and architecture at St Petersburg Europe University and has previously held research and teaching positions at Institutes of Art History in Vienna, Munich and Berlin. Professor Leporc has accompanied several highly successful Oxford alumni visits to Russia.

Anthony Majanlahti is a Canadian who has lived in Rome for nearly 20 years. His book The Families Who Made Rome was a bestseller.  He has written several academic books on Rome’s history and is a brilliant and engaging lecturer.

Charles Melville is Professor of Persian History and Director of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge.  Professor Melville has been a long-serving member of the Governing Council of the British Institute of Persian Studies and chairman of the Research Committee, and is currently Vice-President.  Since 1999, he has been Director of the Shahnama Project, and since 2006 he has been President of The Islamic Manuscript Association (TIMA), both based in Cambridge.  In 2010 he was behind an exhibition of Persian manuscripts and paintings of the Shahnama (Persian Book of Kings) at the Fitzwilliam Museum. He has travelled widely in Central Asia and Iran (both before and after the Islamic Revolution).

Dr Peter Morgan is an Islamic Cultural Historian and teaches Islamic Art and Architecture. He is based in the Department for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford and for more than 40 years he has travelled extensively in Central Asia and the Middle East. He has been a field archaeologist in Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Dr Cathy Oakes (Lady Margaret Hall, 1974) is Fellow of Kellogg College and runs the History of Art programme for Oxford's Department for Continuing Education. She directs the Master of Studies programme in literature and arts, co-directs the postgraduate certificate in historical studies, and co-directs the DPhil (doctoral) programme in architectural history.  She is a medievalist specialising in Romanesque art and architecture, and the interrelation of word and image in western medieval culture. She has published on a range of subjects including the iconography of the Virgin in the late Middle Ages and French Romanesque art and architecture.

Dr Vibha Joshi Parkin is Research Fellow at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, and one of the foremost experts on the Naga tribes and their cultures.  Working with the Nagas since 1985, her doctoral thesis was about interaction between Christian and non-Christian Angami Naga, and she has conducted extensive fieldwork into their material cultures, contributing significantly to museum collections.  She guest-curated a major exhibition on the Naga at the Museum der Kulturen Basel, and is delighted to share her knowledge about religious change, colonial experience, and social organisation in Assam and Nagaland.

Professor Charles Ramble specialises in Himalayan anthropology and has spent over 15 years living in Nepal working as an anthropologist and a naturalist. Until recently he was University Lecturer in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford. He currently holds a professorship in Tibetan history and philology at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Sorbonne University) in Paris. He has travelled extensively in the Himalayan region and has led previous successful Alumni visits to Nepal and Bhutan.

Dr Laura Rival is Lecturer at Oxford’s Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology and member of the School of Anthropology, the Latin American Centre and the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests at University of Oxford.  Dr Rival has interacted with Amazonian communities for decades, focusing on how the people interact with and adapt to the tropical rainforest.  Her research interests include Amerindian conceptualizations of nature and society; historical and political ecology; indigenous peoples, development, environmental and conservation policies in Latin America.

Sarah Shaw is a Faculty Member at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, and an Honorary Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies.  One of her key research interests is Indian and Asian influences on British nineteenth-century writers, of whom Kipling is surely the most famous.  Throughout the tour she will accompany in 2017, she will give a series of short lectures about Kipling and his work, as well as carefully chosen poetry and short story readings.

Martin Speight is Emeritus Professor in Zoology and Tropical Ecology at St Anne’s College, Oxford.  Professor Seight’s first degree was in Zoology with Marine Zoology from the University of Wales, followed by a DPhil in Entomology from the University of York. Since 1975 he has lectured at Oxford University, becoming a Tutorial Fellow in 1978. His main interests and expertise centre on tropical ecology, both terrestrial and marine. Research interests have ranged from the effects of forest management on tropical insects, to anthropogenic impacts on coastal ecosystems such as mangroves and coral reefs. He has worked in many countries, including Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia. His latest project is based in Fiji. He has written several student textbooks, including one on insect ecology and another on marine ecology.

Dr Nigel Spivey is Senior Lecturer in Classics (Classical Art & Archaeology) and Fellow and Director of Studies in Classics at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge. He has written extensively on the Etruscans and on the Olympic Games. As an undergraduate, he was a three-time champion at the Oxford-Cambridge athletics match and he remains an active member of the Achilles Club, an Oxbridge sports organization.  He is a popular and engaging lecturer and has presented various television series, including 'How Art Made the World' for the BBC.

David Tolley (Harris Manchester, 1995) is a Tutor in Fine Art at the Ruskin School. He exhibits his own fine art photography worldwide and is a successful commercial photographer. David’s primary interests lie in the interplay between art, literature, and film: exploring the ephemeral in art, and the relationship between past and present, fact and fiction. He works mainly with photography and HD-video. He has recently been making works in collaboration with performance artist, and Ruskin tutor, Brian Catling. In October they exhibited in Leipzig in Germany, at the British Council funded exhibition Kunst Fuer Tiere/Art for Animals, held at Halle Zoo.  Coiner, their animated short film, was selected for a film festival in Modern Art Oxford and shown in the Swedenborg Society in London – part of a group show organised by the Parlour Collective. He has also exhibited his photography in group-shows at Modern Art Oxford: The Oxford Show and The Oxford Open. David is also a College Lecturer in English at Hertford College, Oxford.

Dr Matthew Walton is Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow in Modern Burmese Studies at St Antonys College, University of Oxford.  His research focuses on religion and politics in Southeast Asia, with a special emphasis on Myanmar.  Dr Walton's PhD dissertation (for which he conducted field work in Myanmar and Thailand) explored Burmese Buddhist political thought and its influence on Myanmar's current democratic transition.  He also specializes in ethnic and communal conflict in Myanmar, having published articles on this topic in Asian Survey and the Journal of Contemporary Asia.