We were delighted to be able to welcome our Cumberland Lodge Scholars, returning and new, for their annual residential Scholars' Retreat over the weekend of 11-13 September 2020. This was the first of our own residential events we have been able to host since the start of the national 'lockdown' in March.

This year the format was a little different, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with three scholars joining us virtually via video-conferencing, and each session designed to maintain social distancing.

We welcomed ten new Scholars, all PhD students based at universities across the UK, our ten second-year Scholars, and our new Amy Buller PhD Scholar, Joshua Rice, who is embarking on a PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Learning and personal development

The weekend programme offered introductions to the Scholarship, the history of Cumberland Lodge, and the history of the programme, with a guided tour of the site.

Scholars also had the chance to find out more about our 2020-21 programme of discussions and events, and to take part in team-building games.

Our staff led a series of skills-based personal development sessions on:

  • Public speaking
  • Facilitating meaningful discussions
  • Writing for non-academic audiences
  • Podcasting
  • Event planning and webinar production

Meanwhile, our returning second-year cohort  worked together on developing lesson plans for secondary schools, to help pupils learn from the experiences of 1930s Germany recounted in Amy Buller's Darkness over Germany, the 1943 book that led to the establishment of the educational foundation at Cumberland Lodge after the Second World War.

On the final morning of the retreat, this work was presented to our incoming scholars and our Chair of Trustees, Baroness Prashar of Runnymede.

Our Chief Executive, Ed Newell, said: 'This was an extremely productive weekend. As well getting to know each other and do some training together, we also made considerable progress in designing a study guide, to encourage schools to have similar sorts of discussions to those we have at Cumberland Lodge.

'I’m so grateful we could all meet in person – the weekend was a reminder of the value and importance of face-to-face meetings.'

Scholars also had time to explore the Great Park, with a walk to the nearby Copper Horse statue that overlooks Windsor and the Castle, from the top of the Long Walk.

'An amazing first weekend'

Afterwards, Robyn Smith, who is researching wellbeing approaches to supporting young refugees and asylum-seekers in London, at Brunel University, said: 'Such an amazing first weekend at Cumberland Lodge for the Scholars' Retreat. It was lovely to meet the other scholars in person, to engage in critical discussion and take part in some great workshops focused on public engagement skills.'

Martha Beard, a PhD student in the Centre for Memory, Narratives and History at the University of Brighton, tweeted: 'A great (socially distanced) weekend, meeting the other scholars at Cumberland Lodge. Looking forward to future conversations to come!'

Find out more

You can find out more about our two-year Cumberland Lodge Scholarships for doctoral students, here.

Short profiles on each of our current Scholars can also be found here.