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Bristol hosts top US students

Fulbright Scholars in Special Collections

Fulbright Scholars in Special Collections

Fulbright students visit the University Library Special Collections

5 June 2015

Students from the United States are spending a month in Bristol as part of the third annual Fulbright Summer Institute. The programme has been so successful that it has been extended by a further year, and the University will welcome ten more Fulbright students in summer 2016.

The University of Bristol is one of nine institutions to host the prestigious Fulbright Commission Summer Institute, which was established to increase knowledge of the culture, heritage and history of the UK. Ten undergraduates from the US, who have been awarded scholarships in recognition of their academic achievements, will spend four weeks in the city taking part in various meetings, workshops, seminars and field trips looking at the role Bristol has played in American history.

The programme of events will feature slavery and Atlantic Heritage as themes, focusing on the notorious Triangle Trade, which saw ships leave from Bristol with manufactured goods which were then traded for slaves in West Africa. From there, the ships would cross the Atlantic to the European-owned plantations in America and the Caribbean. The slaves would be traded for sugar, rum or tobacco, before returning to Bristol.

On 3 June the Fulbright students visited the University’s Special Collections Library, where they had the opportunity to examine the exhibits, including the Pinney Papers, a collection of accounts, notebooks and other documents dating from 1650-1884 relating to the Pinney family business in Dorset and the West Indies.

Other activities include a harbour tour with Professor Mark Horton, field trips to Plymouth, Exmoor, Bath and Bideford, and community work at the Berkeley Castle dig.

The students will also take part in the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) International Festival of Ethnographic Film, in conjunction with Bristol’s Watershed, the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol and the Center for Visual Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Dornsife College, University of Southern California. Filmmakers throughout the world are invited to submit films for screening during the festival and for the various prizes and awards administered by the RAI.

Students will also enjoy organised social events, including a play at the Bristol Old Vic, a Gloucestershire versus Glamorgan cricket match and a visit to the Clifton Rocks Railway.

The Fulbright Commission was founded in 1948 to foster mutual cultural understanding through educational exchange between both nations. It has a distinguished history built on the legacy of the late Senator J William Fulbright and the global Fulbright Programme is one of the most prestigious awards programmes worldwide operating in over 150 countries, with over 300,000 alumni.

The University of Bristol Summer Institute has been organised by the International Office and the Faculty of Arts, involving academic staff from Archaeology and Anthropology, Drama, Modern Languages, History, Philosophy, English, Theology and Music.

Further information

About the Summer Institute

The Fulbright Commission selects its Summer Institute participants through a rigorous application and interview process. In making these awards the Commission looks not only for academic excellence but a focused application, a range of extracurricular and community activities, demonstrated ambassadorial skills, a desire to further the Fulbright Programme and a plan to give back to the recipient’s home country upon returning.

Fulbright Summer Institutes cover all participant costs. In addition, Fulbright summer participants receive a distinctive support and cultural education programme including: a comprehensive pre-departure orientation, enrichment opportunities in country, a re-entry session and the opportunity to join our alumni networks.

The University of Bristol has a long-standing relationship with Fulbright. It hosted a successful Fulbright Forum in January 2013, hosting 65 Fulbright Scholars, lecturers and staff for two days.

The programme will give the group the opportunity to develop their academic and leadership skills, and to meet a wide range of people from a variety of backgrounds – both from within the University and from outside.

The University will also be hosting the prestigious Summer Institute in 2016.

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