As part of our Cumberland Lodge Fellowship programme, we offer Personal Development Grants to support creative endeavours that will enhance Fellows’ skills and promote progress towards more peaceful, open and inclusive societies.

Our Fellows can apply for up to £300, during the course of their fellowship. In 2018-20, two of these grants were awarded to support the launch of new digital media series, both of which are responding, in their own way, to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Podcast series

Angelika Love is one of our 2018-20 Cumberland Lodge Fellows. At the time of writing, she is approaching the end of her two-year fellowship.

Angelika recently completed a DPhil in social psychology from the Oxford University of Oxford, where she was based in the Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict. Her doctoral research focused on how relationships between groups change when boundaries between the ‘ingroup’ and ‘outgroup’ become increasingly blurred, particularly in relation to the role of multi-ethnic individuals within social groups.

Inspired in part by her involvement in our conferences and activities over the last two years, Angelika has launched Angelika Love’s Conversations, a timely podcast series amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, looking at different approaches to improving social integration.

‘My experience as a Cumberland Lodge Fellow has challenged me to assess where and how I can continue to help build resilient and creative communities; communities that thrive on diversity and pursue their purpose in a sustainable and socially conscious way.

‘One channel I have discovered recently is podcasting. Inspired in part by conversations with Cumberland Lodge staff and fellow Fellows, but also reflecting back on my time as a student at the Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway, I recently recorded and produced a podcast on social integration in action.’

Angelika applied for a Personal Development Grant to help with the costs of creating a simple website, purchasing a domain name, and buying a microphone. This has enabled to her to launch and promote her series across all the major podcasting channels.

‘My grant enabled me to achieve a create a well-produced programme and to share Season One of Angelika Love’s Conversations with an international audience. The series consists of long-form interviews with activists, entrepreneurs, and academics who are working to create more equitable, integrated and peaceful communities.

Angelika Love’s Conversations is very much made in the spirit of Cumberland Lodge - firmly grounded in the belief that social integration and bridge-building initiatives should not fall off the radar during a period of social isolation.

‘This is a time when many of us are craving more and better conversations, and I hope that this new podcast can inject hope, entertain, and inform. As each episode draws attention to innovative ways in which people around the world are trying to make societies places where more people can flourish, I hope I can highlight the many large and small ways in which each of us can work towards creating more integrated communities.’

Higher education vlog

Alexander Blower, a 2018-20 Cumberland Lodge Fellow in the final year of his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton, used his Personal Development Grant to fund the launch of a vlog (video blog) for secondary school teachers, fellow students and education professionals. It offers insights into the PhD journey, and explores ideas for widening participation in higher education.

His short video posts are shared on Twitter @EduDetective, and on his YouTube channel here.

‘Many of the themes addressed in these videos are to do with ways in which thinkers and practitioners can use education to tackle social divisions and create a fairer, more equal society.

‘The project is geared towards spreading such knowledge as far and wide as possible, tackling silos of thought that exist across disciplines, and creating a meaningful mechanism of communication to the practitioner community.’

Alex’s PhD research centres around social justice in education, with a specific focus on the expectations of white working-class male students for their future educational success.

Since launching his YouTube channel last year, the series’ reach has grown significantly, with some videos achieving more than 5,500 views. Alex has interviewed the authors of texts such as Who are Universities For? Re-making Higher Education (Bristol University Press 2018), and brought the focus of his research to a nationwide community of educational practitioners.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alex has changed the focus of the vlog to provide practical information about student finance and university applications for students and practitioners, during a time of unprecedented upheaval.