Grants awarded by the Convocation Trust

The Convocation Trust is an exempt charity, connected to the University of London.  It was founded to carry on the traditions of the University of London Convocation, the association of graduates established by the University of London Charter in 1858.  

When the Convocation closed in 2003, its funds were transferred to the Convocation Trust, which continues to fund a variety of projects at the University of London.   All applications for grants are considered by the trustees of the Convocation Trust, and those deemed the most worthy are awarded.

Grants awarded by the Trust - 2019/2020

SAS and IMLR – Seminars in World Literature and Translation

This application was to support a co-organised series of 12 seminars between the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) and the London Intercollegiate Network of Comparative Studies (LINKS), whose members are based across the London colleges.

As an intercollegiate network, LINKS relies on funding and staff time from the individual colleges. The IMLR sought to advance its mission to facilitate the recovery of languages teaching and research in and beyond London and, if successful, would use this project as a seed to fund a larger AHRC Networking Grant in World Literature and Translation.

The Convocation Trust awarded the full £2,262.10 requested for the seminars.

SAS and IES – Toolkit for inclusivity and diversity in English Studies

This application for a Toolkit in Inclusivity and Diversity in English Studies (TIDE) would enable the Institute of English Studies (IES) to take a wholly new role in leading the national research agenda in English Studies, by focussing on diversity and inclusivity, recovering past histories and putting them to new use in the present and future.  

To deliver TIDE the project would draw on the strengths of IES, but proposed to take them in a new direction of critical importance to UK research. There is no resource similar to TIDE in the UK or indeed worldwide.

The Convocation Trust awarded the full £44,700 requested for a full-time post-doctoral research for a period of 12 months.

The Great Grad Job Hunt was awarded £97,636 from the Trust for a project providing students and graduates with relevant, easy-to-access guidance on job hunting.

Grants awarded by the Trust - 2018/2019

SAS and ICS – Nationality, Identity and Belonging research project

The proposed project "Nationality, Identity and Belonging: An oral history of the ‘Windrush Generation’ and their relationship to the British State, 1948-2018." fell within the mission of the ICwS to explore the history and contemporary concerns of the Commonwealth. 

The request was for funds towards hiring  a research fellow and staging a Witness Seminar as well as producing an accompanying pamphlet.

This specific study of the relationship between Caribbean communities in London and post-war immigration legislation represented an important attempt at outreach to parts of the capital’s Caribbean diaspora which have traditionally been underrepresented in the HE sector.

It would demonstrate the tangible ways in which Humanities research carried out by the University can address specific problems faced by the capital’s residents and policy-makers.

It would also enhance the University’s engagement with the BAME community, helping to build confidence in the ICwS’s ability to conduct research on Commonwealth diaspora communities in a sensitive and effective manner.

The Convocation Trust awarded £22.042 towards the project.

College Hall and Connaught Hall – garden redevelopment project

The College Hall & Connaught Hall Garden Redevelopment Project requested funds from the Convocation Trust to oversee the re-planting and improved landscaping of both garden spaces.

This would have a direct and measurable impact on the students of both Intercollegiate Halls.

It would also provide a direct and continued opportunity for students to volunteer and contribute to the community in which they live, thereby supporting the University’s commitment to ensuring that its students play an active role in enhancing the community in which they live and study.

The installation of the insect hotels that were proposed would provide a habitat for new wildlife, helping the University maintain, protect and increase value of its green spaces in the Bloomsbury area.

This project would provide demonstrable and substantial benefit to approximately 600 new residents on an annual basis for the next 35-50 years. 

The Convocation Trust awarded the requested £22,000 towards the running of the project.

Cumberland Lodge – annual award

The Convocation Trust has supported the Cumberland Lodge with an annual grant for a number of years. From 2010 to 2015/2016 the grant was to the value of £5,000. For 2016-17 the award was increased to £6,000.

The Cumberland Lodge was asked to approach the University in the autumn of each year so that such proposals could be considered at the December meetings.

In June 2016 the University Secretary wrote to Cumberland Lodge, recognising the importance of the Lodge’s work and informing the Lodge that the Committee would be receptive to bids in future which should be submitted to the University in the autumn of each year so that such proposals could be considered at the December meetings of the Trustees. 

For 2018/2019 Cumberland Lodge was awarded £6,000.

Grants awarded by the Trust - 2017/2018

Royal Veterinary College Pantomime 2017

On 5 December 2017 the Royal Veterinary College Performing Arts Society requested £500 from the Convocation Trust, to help cover the costs of microphone hire, costumes, and stage, seating and lighting hire to stage their annual musical. The production that year was ‘High School Musical’

The college advised that the musical is an inclusive project, bringing together students across all years and courses and giving a separate focus from their normal studies, helping to promote wellbeing, so the money being requested from the Trust would assist in a highly positive enterprise.

The musical provided entertainment for the entire university community.

The Convocation Trust Committee of Management awarded the requested £500.

SAS – Being Human Festival intern

Managed by a small team at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, Being Human is the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, and one of the largest free festivals in the UK.

As the Being Human festival grows in scale and visibility there is an increasing  focus on developing the festival infrastructure to ensure that it continues to deliver on its aims,

To this end, the SAS requested £17,439 towards the appointment of an intern to work with Member Institutions to produce content such as event blogs and to share best practice in public engagement, being involved in the press launch and public relations work. 

The Convocation Trust awarded £8,720 towards the total amount requested.

SAS – Scholar at Risk scheme

The Council for Academics at Risk (CARA) requested financial assistance from the Convocation Trust for the funding of a CARA scholar on an annual basis.

The CARA fellowships programme acts as a lifeline to academics at risk, helping them to reach a place of safety where they can continue their work.  Most of them are passionate about returning home when the situation allows.

CARA also supports academics who have been forced to flee and have already reached the UK. CARA receives 10-20 new enquiries a week and is now supporting people from 27 countries and some 270 academics and 350 dependents.

The Convocation Trust awarded £25,000 towards the £150,000 requested by the Council.

University of London – Leading Women plaque scheme

The University’s ‘Leading Women’ commemorative plaque scheme aimed to create a permanent legacy for the 150th anniversary of women’s admission to the University, in 1868.

The scheme intends to commission and install commemorative ‘blue plaques’ to commemorate notable alumnae and/or historical women faculty members on the sites of the University of London and Member Institutions.

The Convocation Trust awarded the full £6,500 requested for the scheme.

SAS – lighting for the Living Literature Frankenstein event

The Living Literature initiative was inaugurated in May 2016 with ‘Living Gatsby’ and followed in May 2017 with ‘Living Proust’.

The event was designed specifically to showcase research expertise in a variety of public engagement formats, bringing in different subject areas from across the School and university.

The aim was to break down the barriers between researchers and audiences, showcasing research expertise in innovative and accessible ways, and transforming the public's expectations about what it means to encounter serious academic research in the humanities. 

The 2018 Living Literature focus was Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. Not only was 2018 the bicentenary of Frankenstein’s publication, it also marked 150 years since the University of London admitted women to university education.

The Convocation Trust awarded £4,500 towards the estimated £13,000 costs of staging the event.

University of London – Leading Women artwork

In 2018 the University celebrated the 150th anniversary of women bring admitted to the University of London, to enrol for a “special examination” course, with a series of events and activities, and by creating a permanent public memorial to be developed through a student competition.

A project was proposed a project to create a piece of public art as a lasting memorial to the first admission of women to university level education.  Suggested themes with a focus on women included aspiration and achievement, learning and scholarship, access to education, social good, heritage, progress and leadership. The artist chosen by competition to create the work was Arielle Tse of the Slade School of Art at UCL and the work, I am rooted but I flow, is installed in Torrington Square.

The Convocation Trust awarded the £25,000 requested.

Development Office - two Convocation Trust scholarships

In December 2015, the newly created University of London Development Office submitted a proposal to the Convocation Trust for a four-year programme (2016-17 through to 2019-20) to support up to nine scholarships across all three Central Academic Bodies of the University (School of Advanced Study, University of London International Programmes and the University of London Institute in Paris) for a total commitment of £67,500. 

The Convocation Trust made a two-year commitment of £30,000 for: 

  • two scholarships (of £7,500 each) at the School of Advanced Study (commencing in 2016-17);
  • one scholarship (of £7,500) in 2017-18 for each of the University of London International Academy and the University of London Institute in Paris in 2017-18.

These awards are as important to the institution as to the recipients themselves.  Student numbers are a critical measurement as outlined in the University’s Operating Plan, and scholarships enable students to take up the offer of a place that they would not have otherwise been able to do.

The Development Office submitted a second bid for funding of these scholarships to be extended to 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The Convocation Trust again awarded a further £15,000 for these scholarships in both 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The Convocation Trust awarded £20,000 to the School of Advanced Studies in 2017 for their involvement in the Being Human Festival.

Grants awarded by the Trust - 2016/2017

SAS – Being Human Festival

In 2016, the Convocation Trust awarded the School of Advanced Study’s Being Human festival a sum of £26,551 to enable the University of London to act as a central London festival Hub and to establish a University of London communications and public engagement network – all of which were successfully achieved.

This new bid aimed to build on that success and to consolidate further the University of London as a showcase and the Being Human festival as a fixture in the UK-wide university calendar. 

The Convocation Trust awarded £20,000 of the £24,000 requested for the festival.

Conference of Astronomy and Physics Students 2017

The Conference of Astronomy and Physics Students (CAPS) is an annual, four-day long physics conference, the largest of its kind in the UK, directed at undergraduate students.

In 2017 the conference was to be hosted at UCL from 27-30 June. The organising committee is made up of undergraduate and Master students at UCL and they were looking to raise at least £10,900.00 to ensure the conference would go ahead.

The Convocation Trust awarded £3,000 towards the conference.

Cumberland Lodge – annual grant

The Convocation Trust has supported Cumberland Lodge with an annual grant for a number of years. From 2010 to 2015/2016 the grant was to the value of £5,000. For 2016-17 the award was increased to £6,000.

The award to Cumberland Lodge for 2016-17 was £6,000.

Senate House Library – exhibition display stands

Senate House Library (SHL) marked the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s publication of 95 Theses with a major exhibition and programme of events that explore the impact of ‘the first Brexit’ on culture, society, piety, communications and the new world order in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 

SHL had already secured some funding to support the majority of their planned expenditure. However, an opportunity arose to purchase some bespoke display boards as part of the overall design package. These would be used to support the main exhibition in Convocation Hall, throughout the library, and on the ground floors.

The Convocation Trust awarded the full £11,760 requested for the exhibition display stands.

IHR archive project – support for the appointment of an archivist

The Institute of Historical Research (IHR) is a world-renowned centre promoting the study of history through academic research, the provision of primary resources and support offered to historical scholars.

The heart of the IHR is a 200,000 volume open-access library, specialising in the history of Britain, Western Europe and North America, from the fifth century to the present featuring an unparalleled collection of printed primary sources. 

These collections have been digitised as British History Online and in recent years the IHR has become a digital operation as much as a physical space with 25 major resources online and over 5 million unique users annually.

In 2008, a professional Archivist completed a small-scale survey with recommendations for the IHR Archives, which was generously funded by the Friends of the IHR. One of the key outcomes was a report detailing the steps needed to properly catalogue and conserve the collection as well as guidance on data protection and privacy. 

However, at that time, the IHR was preparing for the redevelopment of its premises and was subsequently relocated to the South Block of Senate House until autumn 2014. Since moving back, the Archive has become
a high priority and had recently received a matched funding award from the Foyle Foundation for £25,000 in support of the project.

The IHR applied to the Trust for funding to unlock the Foyle grant and support an Archivist who would manage the conservation and cataloguing process, and integrate the Archive into the IHR Library’s
infrastructure.

The Convocation Trust awarded £50,000 towards this project.

Grants awarded by the Trust - 2015/2016

The Careers Group - A Living History of Job Hunting

In 2016 the Careers Group applied to the Convocation Trust for a project focusing on giving students and graduates relevant, easy-to-access information on job hunting.

The project was to be entitled “The Living History of Job Hunting” and the Careers Group proposed the following:

  • Students and recent graduates from across the University of London Federation were to be recruited to video document their experiences of job hunting across a range of different sectors.  
  • These videos, supplemented with advice and guidance from University of London Careers Consultants, were to become a comprehensive resource for young people graduating from university to find jobs.  
  • The videos would then be accessible to the 180,000 strong student body of the University of London, as well as recent graduates and young people from other institutions.

The short, succinct videos, shot in the style of YouTube vloggers, would demonstrate to students how to hunt successfully for jobs, giving students and graduates live, real-time examples and understanding of how their peer group were job hunting.

Students and graduates were encouraged to use the comments section on YouTube’s platform so that they could engage with each other directly as well as with this project’s social media and marketing coordinator.

It was stipulated that the videos were to be made accessible even after the project had finished so that an ongoing number of students and graduates could benefit from them.

The Convocation Trust awarded Careers Group the £97,636 requested for this initiative.

Senate House Library – Utopia and Radical Voices exhibitions

Building upon the success of the 2016 Shakespeare season, Senate House Library sought funding to support its next two seasons, Utopia (October to December 2016) and Radical Voices (January to March 2017).

These were shorter seasons, which primarily aimed to engage with their existing academic audience during term-time, although wider public engagement was included in the supporting events programme through a range of activities proposed such as street art, performance and song.

£5,000 was sought for each season which would be matched from the Library's engagement budget for 2016-17.

The Convocation Trust awarded £10,000 towards the two seasons.

SAS – Being Human Festival

The small team at the School of Advanced Study have established Being Human as the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, and one of the largest free festivals in the UK.

The festival has drawn increasing participation from University of London Colleges, and Senate House has featured as a coordinating centre of activity.  

In previous years however the funding and human resource have not been available to unlock the building’s full potential as a national hub of activity. 

Additional funding was sought to create a festival Hub in Senate House that would:

  • raise public awareness of Senate House’s history and current status as a central academic hub;
  • showcase humanities research from across the University of London Colleges;
  • act as a catalyst for cross-college collaboration during and beyond the festival;
  • establish a year-round University of London public engagement network that will last beyond the duration of the festival. 

The theme for the festival in 2016 was ‘Hope and Fear’. Drawing on Senate House’s history as the WWII Ministry of Information and its popular association with George Orwell, but also the ‘utopian’ founding principles of the University: in 2016 programming in Senate House was developed around this theme to create a ‘Ministry of Hope and Fear’.

The Convocation Trust awarded £26,550 to the Being Human Festival.

Senate House Library – Shakespeare 2016 and exhibition materials

Senate House Library applied for funding to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare with a season of events, supported by an exhibition, around the theme 'Metamorphosis'.

The aim of the exhibition was to examine how the canon of Shakespearean text changed from performed scripts to first folio, with further appraisal and change through the eighteenth and nineteenth century, leading to today's recognition that they are iconic cultural treasures.

The exhibition was to showcase the Library's collections to a global audience via online exhibition galleries and digital resource, and offer great opportunity for collaboration with SAS Institutes and academics from the federal member institutions.

The Convocation Trust awarded £50,000 towards the exhibition.

Development Office – Convocation Trust Scholarships

In December 2015, the newly created University of London Development Office submitted a proposal to the Convocation Trust for a four-year programme (2016-17 through to 2019-20), to support up to nine scholarships across all three Central Academic Bodies of the University (School of Advanced Study, University of London International Programmes and the University of London Institute in Paris) for a total commitment of £67,500. 

These awards are as important to the institution, as to the recipients themselves. Student numbers are a critical measurement as outlined in the University’s Operating Plan, and scholarships directly enable students to take up the offer of a place that they would not have otherwise been able to do.

The Convocation Trust made a two-year commitment of £30,000 for

  • two scholarships (of £7,500 each) at the School of Advanced Study (commencing in 2016-17);
  • one scholarship (of £7,500) for each of the University of London International Academy and the University of London Institute in Paris in 2017-18.

Senate House Library – restoration of portraits of Convocation Chairmen

Since the refurbishment of Convocation Hall in the Senate House Library it had been the intention to hang the portraits of the former Chairmen of Convocation in the room.  

Some of the portraits were in need of restoration, a request was made to the Convocation Trust for funding for the restoration of the portraits.

The Convocation Trust awarded the £10,000 requested for the portraits restoration.

Cumberland Lodge – annual grant

From 2010 to 2015/2016 the Convocation Trust supported Cumberland Lodge with an annual grant of £5,000. 

For 2015-16 Cumberland Lodge was granted £5,000.

In 2018 the Convocation Trust granted £25,000 to the University of London for a Leading Women artwork project.

Grants awarded by the Trust - 2014/2015

Senate House Histories

The Histories of Senate House (HSH) project aimed to engage users of the building (visitors, staff, students, alumni, researchers,  library users, conference delegates and the general public) with four main strands of the complex, fascinating and often unknown stories behind Senate House and its environs:

  • Design & Architecture.
  • Literature, film and other popular culture.
  • World War Two.
  • Gardens and Squares.

The equivalent of two staff for 12 months were needed; an editor and a digital creator, to implement the project.

The Convocation Trust awarded £50-60,000 towards the project.

Cumberland Lodge – annual grant

Since 2010 the Convocation Trust had  supported Cumberland Lodge with an annual grant of £5,000.

For 2014-15 Cumberland Lodge was granted £5,000.
 

Student Central – extra refurbishment work

In 2014 the Committee agreed to grant Student Central (then  the University of London Union) in Malet Street the full estimated cost of £164,064 plus VAT for the purpose of refurbishing The Venue, the social and events space at Student Central. 

The refurbishment was completed; however, the contrast was stark between the new flooring in the Venue and the shabby flooring immediately outside and it was felt that this detracted from the overall effect of the refurbishment. So during the process of refurbishment a decision was taken to extend the flooring works to the foyer outside the Venue. 

The Convocation Trust agreed to fund the cost of the extra work which was £15,240. 

Grants awarded by the Trust - 2013/2014

University of London Boat Club – matched funding for boat replacement

The University of London Boat Club previously applied for and received a grant of £35,000 to buy a new eight.

The boat was bought and put to good use, including being an important part of the club winning the Victor Ludorum at the recent British Universities and Colleges Sport championships.

The club's next target was to raise funds to buy completely the boats missing from the target fleet, it anticipated doing over 2 years (i.e. raising £35,000 pa).

The Club requested assistance from the Convocation Trust by matching any sum raised from other sources to a maximum of £17,500 per annum for each of the next two years. 

The Trust agreed to match funding for boat replacement (£17.500, with a further £17.500 to be awarded in 2014-15 if the Boat Club’s fundraising continued successfully (a further award was made in 2016).

University of London Union – refurbishment of The Venue

In order to make the Venue and Bar 101 more fit for purpose, the University of London Union requested £164,064 towards:

  • replacement of existing Sound and lighting equipment.
  • refurbishment of the balcony area with replacement of seating.
  • refurbishment of stage flooring and back stage area. 
  • decoration of the Venue and Bar 101 area.
  • new acoustic ceiling tiles.
  • refurbishment of wooden flooring in Venue.
  • new Vinyl flooring in front of stage and Bar 101 area.

The Convocation Trust awarded the £164,064 for this refurbishment work.

Cumberland Lodge – annual grant

Since 2010 the Convocation Trust had supported Cumberland Lodge with an annual grant of £5,000.

For 2013-14 Cumberland Lodge was granted £5,000.

University of London Boat Club – men’s eight

The University of London Boat Club (ULBC) established itself as one of the leading University clubs in the world in the 1960s.

Its objectives are to support rowing in the University and in particular the University Boat Club.

From 2002 to 2009 the Club’s equipment had lacked investment, and ULBC therefore requested funding for a new men’s eight at a cost of about £35,000.

The Convocation Trust awarded the full £35,000 for the new men's eight.

University of London Union Theatre Group – 2013-14 theatre production

The University of London Union on Malet Street was built in 1955 with a purpose-built theatre embedded. This was originally used for many student productions.

In recent years the venue has been more frequently used for live music events and has launched the careers of many well-known bands, including Simply Red, Coldplay and Keane.

ULU Theatre Production requested £7,707 from the Convocation Trust to realise it's aims of:

  • a more cohesive community amongst all University of London Students.
  • creating an opportunity to be involved in professional theatre productions at University.
  • creating an opportunity to develop confidence and life skills through drama and the arts that will help students in their future.
  • creating a festival of students work that also celebrates and embraces the minority groups.

The Convocation Trust awarded the £7,707 for this project.

The Convocation Trust awarded £20,000 to Senate House Library in 2013, for a new exhibitions venue.

Grants awarded by the Trust - 2012/2013

Centre for Creative Collaboration – support for student entrepreneurship

The Centre for Creative Collaboration, University of London (“C4CC”) sought the support of the Convocation Trust to establish a new fund designed to support students in developing their entrepreneurial abilities and new businesses or social enterprises.

The Convocation Entrepreneurship Awards would be made to students in their final year of study at any of the federal Colleges of the University of London.  

The Awards were to be designed to support students in pursuing entrepreneurial ideas outside their normal coursework.  

The Awards would seek specifically to support both the personal development of the student in pursuing enterprising ideas with the aim of increasing the employability of each student and also enabling them to explore the idea of forming a new business or social enterprise after graduation.

The Convocation Trust awarded the requested £25,000 per year for three years.

Senate House Library – Journals Room digitisation project

Senate House Library (SHL) provides access to thousands of printed journals, newspapers and other periodicals. In addition it also offers access to hundreds of thousands of ebooks, and further ejournal titles. The Library has a well-regarded reading room specifically designed in the 1950s for the display and consumption of journals. 

This room was proposed as the next stage of SHL ongoing development of the iconic spaces on the fourth floor of Senate House.

The Library planned  to refurbish this space to allow for more comfortable and sociable reading environments. It was hoped that investing in high-quality furniture and leading-edge technology could make a major statement.

The Convocation Trust awarded the £85,400 requested for the digitisation project.
 

Cumberland Lodge - annual grant

Since 2010 the Convocation Trust had supported Cumberland Lodge with an annual grant of £5,000.

For 2012-13 Cumberland Lodge was granted £5,000.

Senate House Library – new exhibitions venue (additional funding)

Following on from the award of £40,000 to fund the new exhibition venue in Senate House Library (detailed below), the Committee agreed to award a further £20,000 to the Exhibition Hall Project.

Senate House Library – new exhibitions venue

The Convocation Trust was asked for a grant of £40,000 to enhance Convocation Hall as a new exhibitions venue within Senate House Library and procure a digital asset management solution to support exhibitions and other in-house, online, outreach activities.

During the refurbishment of Senate House Library, the exhibition space was moved to the Membership Hall. While the Membership Hall is conveniently close to the entrance to the Library, the constraints of space and resulting dislocation of exhibition cases made creating a coherent display very difficult.

The Library wished to return Convocation Hall to its original function as the central, coherent exhibition space, as intended by Charles Holden. It also wished to enhance the visitor experience within the space through the application of digital technologies, and to provide visitors, students and scholars with a dynamic, contemporary and memorable experience of their rare, world-class collections.

The Convocation Trust awarded the requested £40,000 for the new exhibitions venue.