We are pleased to announce that Joshua Rice, a cultural history PhD candidate from Woking in Surrey, will be the next recipient of the Amy Buller PhD Scholarship, which is jointly funded by Cumberland Lodge and Royal Holloway, University of London.

Our current Amy Buller PhD Scholar, Amber Pierce, will complete her three years in post this summer, and Joshua will start in September. He will be working closely with us for three years, helping to host our residential student study retreats for visiting groups, whilst working towards his PhD at Royal Holloway’s campus in Egham.

Joshua graduated from Royal Holloway with first-class honours in History, in 2018. He went on to complete an MA in Medieval Studies (with Distinction), and he has now been accepted onto a PhD programme, to explore issues of power and identity, public discourse, and the importance of debates in the dissemination of religious beliefs and ideas. His research focuses on relations between the Church and minority religious groups, over time.

Joshua is particularly interested in the power systems and identity struggles involved, and how they appear to be a permanent fixture throughout cultural history. He hopes that an analysis of debates between majority and minority religious groups will help to bring about a better understanding of the lives, beliefs and ideas of both the participants and observers.

'Highly rewarding experience'

On accepting the Scholarship, Joshua said, ‘I applied for the scholarship because my beliefs resonate closely with the aims of Cumberland Lodge. The opportunity to tackle the causes and effects of social division, alongside my studies, will be a highly rewarding experience. 

‘It is an honour to be named as the Amy Buller Scholar, and over the next three years I look forward to engaging with complex challenges with the inquiring and interdisciplinary approach that Amy Buller envisioned when Cumberland Lodge was founded. 

‘The opportunity to meet, discuss and debate with diverse groups at an institution like Cumberland Lodge will lay the groundwork for a lifetime of learning, teaching, and pursuing a more peaceful and inclusive society.’

Outside of academia, Joshua volunteers as a gallery steward at Watts Gallery in Compton, talking to visitors about art and history. Previously, he worked on a project to bring archive materials from the Royal Albert Hall onto an online database that is accessible to the public.

Joshua also enjoys playing football. He has been a member of the Royal Holloway Football Team for the past four years, and spent one year as Captain. He has a passion for reading about, and visiting, historical sites, and he makes regular trips to cathedrals, castles, parish churches, and medieval ruins across the UK and Europe.

Three-year scholarship

The Amy Buller PhD Scholarship covers tuition fees for three years at Royal Holloway, as well as an annual tax-free stipend of £12,600, and a contribution of up to £500 per year towards research expenses.

The Scholar is based in their academic department at Royal Holloway, but also receives mentoring and support from our academic staff and associates. 

During our weekend study retreats, Joshua will be involved in hosting guests, offering talks and tours, and helping to facilitate St Catharine’s Sessions, which are short seminars focused on particular areas of social and ethical interest outside of students' normal fields of academic study.

In addition to this teaching experience, he will have the opportunity to network with public figures and academics from a wide range of disciplines, and will be invited to contribute essays, blogs and podcasts.

You can find out more about the Amy Buller PhD Scholarship here.