Looking forward: new perspectives on the
BSR Council in time for International Women’s Day

Looking forward: new perspectives on the
BSR Council in time for International Women’s Day

The mimosa tree in the Director’s garden at the BSR. Photo credit: Luana Rigolli.
The mimosa tree in the Director’s garden at the BSR. Photo credit: Luana Rigolli.

On the first Wednesday of every month, there is a ‘pranzo per i direttori’ at a restaurant somewhere in the centre of Rome. This is an opportunity for the directors of the all the many foreign academies and research and cultural institutes in Rome to get together and swap experiences and advice, a vital ‘check-in’ with a group with a similar mission and outlook. At recent lunches, ‘direttrici’ have outnumbered ‘direttori’ by some considerable amount. In many ways our lunches represent in microcosm a wider societal shift towards modes of leadership that are differently gendered and conceived: I hugely welcome the range of new perspectives and experiences that our four new women Trustees bring to the BSR Council, and I am looking forward to working with them.

Abigail Brundin, BSR Director

From my job as the Guardian's chief culture writer, I think I've got a good sense of how cultural institutions are perceived from the outside. But I'm also a member of the BSR and I spent an extraordinary time at the school working on one of my books, so I hope I will be able to bring a “user's” perspective too. I hope the school will be able to move into a new period of stability – and, I hope, growth. There will be exciting times ahead, I'm sure.
Charlotte Higgins
I have a long-standing relationship with Italy – through marriage and through forging many cultural partnerships in Italy in my role as Creative Director at the BFI - and jumped at the chance to be a Trustee and to supporting the BSR to develop under its new Director. I hope my experience on the AHRC Advisory Board for UK Research and Innovation, and from gaining IRO status for the BFI, will be helpful to BSR in developing strategies post-Brexit, and that in the next couple of years I can contribute to fundraising, to new partnerships and relationships, and to promoting the BSR to Government and beyond, and really putting it on the map in wider Roman society.
Heather Stewart
I was attracted to the idea of becoming a Trustee of the British School at Rome because I am a scholar of Italian art, and thus I have been aware of it for many years, as an extraordinary community of, and resource for, researchers and artists. However, for various reasons, I have never applied to be a part of that community myself. It struck me that I should know more about it, and that maybe there are many others who could benefit from what the BSR has to offer, and could themselves bring benefit to the BSR community, but who don't know enough about it, or face barriers in applying for, or taking up fellowships there. I hope to be a part of the BSR's mission to cast its net wider, and diversify its community, while working to retain and enhance all the many wonderful things that it is and can be. As an incoming Trustee my priorities are, first, to learn more, to meet and listen to the Director, the staff, fellows and other Trustees; then, I look forward to using my background in academic research leadership and support, and in equality, diversity and inclusion and access work, to help the School achieve what is soon to be set out in its new strategy. Like all of us, after the past two years, I am very much looking forward to resuming some travel outside the UK. Thus, a very immediate priority indeed is to visit Rome!
Beth Williamson
The BSR is an institution that inspires great passion and loyalty, providing an unusual mixture of academic and artistic activities, often to transformational effect. My broad executive and non-executive experience of cultural, educational, media and other commercial organisations will enable me to make a strong contribution to the BSR’s future development and I know I will really enjoy doing so.
Suzanna Taverne

Photo credits: Mimosa tree by Luana Rigolli; Charlotte Higgins by David Levene.

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