Huw Edwards delivers 2023 Geddes Lecture

31 May 2023

Huw Edwards talking at Geddes 2023 Lecture
Huw Edwards speaking at the 2023 Geddes Lecture

BBC News chief anchor and national events presenter Huw Edwards gave the Philip Geddes Memorial Lecture 2023 and at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on Friday 19 May on the 40th anniversary death of journalist Philip Geddes.

Established in 1998, the lecture is convened in memory of St Edmund Hall alumnus, Philip Geddes (1977, English Language & Literature), who was murdered by IRA terrorists in the 1983 Harrods bombing at just 24 years of age. Each year the Hall and the Geddes Trust invite an esteemed journalist to give a lecture about their views on the state of journalism today.

The lecture commenced with two introductory speeches: the first from St Edmund Hall’s Pro-Principal, Professor Robert Whittaker and the second from co-founder and Emeritus Trustee of the Geddes Journalism Awards, Christopher Wilson.

Following this we heard from a panel of past prize winners, Tony Diver (Whitehall Correspondent, The Telegraph), Marianna Spring (BBC’s Disinformation and Social Media Correspondent), Matt Roller (Assistant Editor, ESPNcricinfo) and Dr Rachel Trethewey (author and previously a journalist at the Daily Mail and Daily Express) who shared their career experiences since winning the prizes.

Afterwards, the Chairman of the Geddes Trust, and previous Geddes Trust prize winner, Peter Cardwell introduced Huw Edwards to the stage.

Huw spoke on ‘What’s the point of the BBC?’. In his talk, he covered the main reasons for the BBC’s relevance and importance in the modern age, its challenges and the need for editorial transparency. Huw took questions from our in-person audience, who between them totalled around 160 attendees. The lecture was followed by the 2023 Geddes Prize winners receiving their awards at dinner with Huw Edwards back at St Edmund Hall.

Watch the 2023 Geddes Lecture on St Edmund Hall’s YouTube Channel.

Geddes Student Journalism Prizes 2023

The Trust and the Hall award three annual Geddes Student Journalism Prizes to both recognise and support emerging journalistic talent. The prizes cover expenses on either a media project or internship, with previous prize winners going on to work for eminent newspapers, such as The Economist, The Times and The Guardian.

This year’s Geddes Trust prizes have been awarded to three very talented Oxford student journalists.

Philip Geddes Memorial Prize – Anna Dowell

Anna is a final year student in English Language and Literature at Wadham College.

She has extensive experience in student journalism across a range of publications and styles: as Director of Investigative Journalism for ISIS, as Science and Technology section editor for Cherwell; as a columnist and theatre critic for Cherwell; and as a commissioning editor for the Oxford Review of Books.

She hopes to pursue a career as a journalist, developing still further her obvious strengths in investigative reporting. She has applied for a range of graduate traineeships and Masters courses to this end.

Her project for the Geddes Prize is to investigate the experience of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the current conflict who have settled here under the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ policy. Well planned with initial stages of research in place, the project is to interview and profile charity workers, refugees, and members of local councils to offer a better understanding of the efforts at integration and settlement experiences across a wide range of communities in the UK. Starting at the ‘community welcome hub’ at Dover, where most refugees arrive, she would then visit Ukrainian refugee hubs in the key reception areas of Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham, and London. Her submitted work and interview showed that she is used to approaching both vulnerable individuals and figures of authority and dealing sensitively and insightfully with both. She would put these critical and compassionate skills to work so as to place the voices of refugees at the forefront of this investigation.

Ronnie Payne Prize – Nalishebo Simukulwa

Nali is a third year French and English Joint Schools student at Merton College, currently on her year abroad in Réunion.

She was Editor in Chief of The Oxford Tab newspaper during her second year and has a good deal of experience beyond Oxford.  She interned at Gay Times magazine, where she worked on several news reports as well as feature articles and has written as a freelancer for gal-dem, iNews, and a number of other publications.

She hopes to pursue a career in journalism and has applied to The Guardian’s 2023 positive action scheme. If that application is unsuccessful, she will return to Gay Times as a repeat intern for 2023.

For her Prize project she will travel to Lusaka, Zambia to report on the second annual Feminist Festival which will culminate in a day of celebration on September 9th 2023. A British-Zambian who is able to understand Bemba and Nyanja – two local languages which are commonly spoken in Lusaka, Nali’s cultural knowledge should help her to report on this festival and the issues it raises with the required cultural sensitivity and understanding. Technically well versed in sound and film recording, she proposes a series of video reports, in range of different formats, together with accompanying print articles exploring the aims and the events of the festival. The ambition with this series of reports is to answer questions like ‘What does dismantling patriarchy look like in Zambia?’, ‘How are feminist principles being implemented by NGOS and individuals as Zambia rebuilds as a country?’ ‘What roles do cultural festivals play in such contexts?’

Clive Taylor Prize – Ariana Rubio

Ariana is a Finalist in English Language & Literature at Lady Margaret Hall.

Ariana has made a speciality of sports journalism, particularly women’s sports, with a focus on football and tennis. Throughout her three years at Oxford, she has contributed regularly to the ‘Sport’ section of Cherwell. She was Sport Deputy Editor in Trinity of 2021, and Sport Section Editor in Michaelmas of 2021. In summer 2022, she completed an internship at POLO STORIES, a non-profit organisation which disseminates inspiring documentaries and articles about women’s issues.

For her Prize project she proposes to join the fans at the Women’s World Cup in Australia this summer. Following the Lionesses’ triumph at the 2022 Euros, she will follow their progress in the upcoming tournament in ways that track the political and cultural capital of women’s football alongside the immediate events of the tournament. Pieces she has planned include (a) a fan-focussed interview article, looking at the inclusivity of women’s football: there are many more women and children present at women’s matches than at men’s, so what does the World Cup mean to girls and women? (b) A more analytical comparative piece about another kind of inclusivity: the prevalence of LGBTQ+ players + fans in the women’s game. This latter article would be especially interesting in the context of discussions around the Saudi sponsorship of the tournament & the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Huw Edwards speaking at 2023 Geddes Lecture
Huw Edwards speaking at 2023 Geddes Lecture
Q&A with Huw Edwards and Peter Cardwell
Q&A with Huw Edwards and Peter Cardwell, Chairman of the Geddes Trust
Christopher wilson at podium for Geddes LEcture 2023
Panel at Geddes Lecture 2023
Panel at Geddes Lecture 2023
Participants and prize winners in Geddes 2023 Lecture
Participants and prize winners in Geddes 2023 Lecture
Huw Edwards and Peter Cardwell, Chairman of the Geddes Trust
Huw Edwards and Peter Cardwell, Chairman of the Geddes Trust
Nalishebo Simukulwa, Ronnie Payne Prize, with Pro-Principal and Huw Edwards
Nalishebo Simukulwa, Ronnie Payne Prize, with Pro-Principal and Huw Edwards
Anna Dowell, Philip Geddes Memorial Prize with Pro-Principal at St Edmund Hall and Huw Edwards
Anna Dowell with Pro-Principal at St Edmund Hall and Huw Edwards
Ariana Rubio, Clive Taylor Prize, with Pro Principal and Huw Edwards
Ariana Rubio with Pro Principal and Huw Edwards

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