Research Centre for Exile Studies Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Friday 2 October 2015

2015 marks the first 20 years of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies and the 25th anniversary of its forerunner, the London Research Group for German Exile Studies which, in 1995, joined forces with the Centre established in Aberdeen by Professor Hamish Ritchie. The celebration, held on 29 September at the University of London Senate House, included the presentation to Mrs Sheena Ritchie of Voices from Exile, a volume planned as a Festschrift for Professor Ritchie’s 85th birthday, but which now serves as a memorial and tribute to his engagement with the Research Centre’s work, which extended to the donation of his private collection of exile-related works to the Centre, and his inspirational chairmanship of its committee.

Given a home at the then Institute of Germanic Studies in Russell Square, the Centre’s activities continued to expand, assisted more recently by generous sponsorship from the Martin Miller and Hannah Norbert-Miller Trust which, for example, funds a Visiting Fellowships programme, a biennial lecture (speakers have been Heinz Wolff, Daniel Snowman, and Dame Stephanie Shirley), bursaries for doctoral students studying in the field of exile studies at the IMLR, and a major archival project, the aim of which is to make accessible and promote the papers donated by scholars and other refugees who came to the UK in the 1930s (and 40s).

In the past two decades, the Centre has led the way in research in the field of exile studies, organising triennial international conferences and seminars, publishing their conference proceedings and, since 1999, a journal (The Yearbook of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies), and conducting interviews as part of an oral history project.

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