The Amy Buller PhD Scholarship, offered in partnership with Royal Holloway, University of London, offers an outstanding researcher the opportunity to complete a PhD at Royal Holloway, whilst helping to host our residential student study retreats over three years.

Our current Amy Buller PhD Scholar (2017-20) is Amber Pierce, who is researching the changing nature of international criminal tribunals since 1945, and the role of historians as expert witnesses in Holocaust trials, in particular. She is interested in the interdisciplinary relationship between historians and lawyers. She also volunteers at The Jewish Museum in London, and teaches History to first-year undergraduate students. Amber hopes to go on to become a human rights lawyer, after completing her PhD at Royal Holloway.

Our inaugural Amy Buller PhD Scholar (2014-17) was Kitty O’Lone.

Kitty O'Lone

Amy Buller PhD Scholar 2014-17

Kitty joined us as the first Amy Buller PhD Scholar, in September 2014, having completed an MSc in Applied Social Psychology. We supported her to complete a PhD on the social and psychological benefits of confession at Royal Holloway and, since March 2019, she has been working as a Researcher and Public Education Officer at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge.

Kitty’s research interests are in moral cognition and extremism, religion and pro-sociality, and religion and morality. As part of her current role, she is working on developing a reliable set of indicators to help measure the effectiveness of interfaith dialogue initiatives.

‘Cumberland Lodge will stay with me for the rest of my life. The three years I spent as the Amy Buller Scholar were some of my most formative.

‘Throughout the course of the scholarship Cumberland Lodge opened up their doors and in doing so gave me access to a wonderful variety of people, from many different backgrounds and fields. Many of the people I engaged with have since provided invaluable advice or help both during my PhD and after.

‘It seems like no time at all since I arrived for my first of many weekend residential duties at Cumberland Lodge - a study retreat with a visiting group of trainee barristers from Lincoln’s Inn - and it was a baptism of fire! But that was a feature of my time at the Lodge: extraordinary experiences, which were thrilling, challenging and rewarding in equal measure, and ultimately helped me to learn more about myself.

‘The most valuable aspect of my Amy Buller Scholarship were the people I met: people from such a range of backgrounds and disciplines. To have the chance to have discussions with people who are influential in so many different areas of society has been a privilege. It is no exaggeration to say that these encounters have also permeated my academic research and made it all the richer. This applies to not just the more senior visitors but also to the students I met: I was constantly impressed by their intellect, drive and compassion, and this kept me on my toes and made me strive that bit harder to match them. I have no doubt that very many of them will go on to do great things in society.

‘Cumberland Lodge itself is a remarkable place, but the people inside are more remarkable by far. I left with a real desire to translate the spirit into my professional life; to strive towards achieving a more tolerant and cohesive society. When I first started I had little idea of what to do post-PhD, but I left knowing that I want to build a professional life that, in some small way, encapsulates the ethos of Cumberland Lodge.'

Kitty continues to be an active part of our Cumberland Lodge community, as she progresses in her career.

‘In March 2019 I started a post-doctoral research position at the Woolf Institute, Cambridge. Without the experience and contacts I had made at the Lodge I honestly doubt my application would have been successful.

‘Through meeting extraordinary people and having extraordinary experiences at the Lodge, I feel that I am now well-equipped to deal with life after my PhD.’