Paul Lay

Paul Lay is editor of History Today. He is a Senior Research Fellow of the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Buckingham and is a member of the advisory board of the History and Policy group at King’s College London.

Andrew Wilson


The Erasmus Fellows is a group of renowned scholars and experts. Drawn from diverse fields, they work with Erasmus Forum on our activities and research, providing  analysis and unique insights into our investigations of culture, history and politics.

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Professor David Abulafia, FBA

David Abulafia is Professor of Mediterranean History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College. David's interests embrace the economic, social and political history of the Mediterranean lands in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. His most recent book,The Great Sea (Penguin), explores the history of the Mediterranean from 22,000 BC to AD 2010. In 2011 David received the Mountbatten Literary Award from the Maritime Foundation for this book, and in 2013 he was awarded a British Academy Medal for the ‘landmark academic achievement' which the book represents. He has written many other books including The Discovery of Mankind: Atlantic Encounters in the Age of Columbus; The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms, 1200-1500; The Struggle for Dominion, Mediterranean Encounters, Economic, Religious and Political, 1100-1550 and A Mediterranean Emporium: The Catalan Kingdom of Majorca. 

Dr Victoria Bateman

Dr Victoria Bateman is a Fellow in Economics and an economic historian at the University of Cambridge. She is Director of Studies for the Economics Tripos at Gonville and Caius College, and holds a degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge as well as graduate degrees from the University of Oxford. Victoria is author of the book "Markets and Growth in Early Modern Europe" (Routledge, 2016), writes regular economic commentary for Bloomberg View, and has contributed articles to The Guardian, Times Higher Education, The Conversation and The Telegraph. She has appeared on the BBC (Radio 4 & Newsnight), discussing everything from Brexit to welfare reform, and has made a public call for a sexual revolution in economics. Victoria is known for her strong views both on Brexit and feminism.

Professor Nicholas Crafts, FBA

Nicholas Crafts CBE has been Professor of Economic History at the University of Warwick and the Director of the ESRC Research Centre on Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) at Warwick University since 2010, and is a Fellow of the British Academy. His earlier career included academic jobs at London School of Economics and Oxford University. His publications include British Economic Growth during the Industrial Revolution (1985) and The Great Depression of the 1930s: Lessons for Today (edited with Peter Fearon) He has been a consultant for many organisations including HM Treasury, IMF, Unilever and World Bank. He was a Lead Expert on the UK Government Office for Science, Foresight Future of Manufacturing Project that published its report in October 2013.

Rebecca Fraser

Rebecca Fraser is a writer and broadcaster. Her previous work includes a biography of Charlotte Bronte which put Charlotte in her proper context by examining her life within the framework of contemporary attitudes to women. Rebecca was President of the Brontë Society for many years. She wrote the Introduction to the Everyman Edition of Shirley and The Professor. A contributor to the BBC History website, her A People’s History of Britain has been described as "an elegantly written,impressively well-informed single-volume history of how England was governed during the past 2000 years." Her new book, The Mayflower Generation: The Winslow Family and the Fight for the New World (October 2017) examines the lives of immigrant families settling New England, their achievements and compromises as they struggled to flourish in 17th century America.

Rowan Williams, FBA (Right Reverend and Right Honourable Lord Williams of Oystermouth)

Rowan Williams is Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge and was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.  He was later Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford 1986 – 1991 and became Bishop of Monmouth in 1991.  His published works include major reassessments of figures central to the history of Christian doctrine (such as Arius: Heresy and tradition, 2001), biographical studies of major literary artists, as in Dostoevsky: language faith and fiction (2008) and accounts of figures and movements of thought central to the history of spirituality.

As novelist, biographer and critic Andrew Wilson occupies an unique position in English literary life. Sweets of Pimlico ( 1977 ) heralded the arrival of an unique voice in the history of the English novel encompassing as it has done an immense variety of thematic preoccupations and stylistic effects.  Kindly Light ( 1979 ) mingled mordant satire with a typically deft handling of religious motivation, My Name is Legion ( 2004 ) held a mirror to Britain’s newspaper industry and Gentleman in England ( 1983 ) is an elegantly accomplished pastiche of the Victorian religious novel.

Nineteenth century England has been a more or less continuous inspiration for the Wilson pen. The Laird of Abbotsford- ( 1980 ) -a pioneering work- re-established Walter Scott as a major literary figure. Studies of Hilaire Belloc ( 1985 ) Milton ( 1983 )  C.S.Lewis ( 1990 ) Iris Murdoch  ( 2003 ) and, latterly, Charles Darwin, ( 2017 )  have shown the author’s unerring ability to shine  a piercing light on some of the more monumental figures in the English literary landscape. The Victorians;  After the Victorians, and Our Times- a trilogy covering the experiences of the British peoples from the age of the regency to the present day- is both panoramic in effect ,and bracingly synoptic in its exegesis.  Biographical accounts of Tolstoy ( 1988 ) , St Paul ( 1997 ) and  Dante ( 2011 )  have revealed the author’s European range of scholarship. Present throughout the Wilson oeuvre is a truly Erasmian capacity to combine seriousness with satire.

Professor Semir Zeki, FMedSci FRS

Semir Zeki is one of the foremost neurologists of his generation. He obtained his Ph.D. in anatomy from University College London, where he became a Henry Head Research Fellow of the Royal Society before being appointed Professor of Neurobiology. Between 1994 and 2001, he was the director of the Welcome Laboratory of Neurobiology. He is also a Fellow and member of several other organisations including American Philosophical Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Academia Ejuropae. Zeki has specialised in studying the primate visual brain and more recently the neural correlates of affective states, such as the experience of love, desire and beauty that are generated by sensory inputs. His lifetime contributions have led him to be known as the 'father of neuroaesthetics'. Throughout his career he has been the recipient of numerous awards and honours, his most recent being the Rome Prize (2012).

Corresponding Fellows

Sholto Byrnes

Sholto Byrnes is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia - which is effectively the country's national think tank, and is the lead coordinator for the ASEAN network of national think tanks - and he is a weekly international affairs columnist for The National, Abu Dhabi. 

As well as Malaysia, he has lived in Saudi Arabia, Papua New Guinea and Qatar, experiences which inform his keen interest in how different cultures, values and religions affect regional and local views of systems of governance and questions of political legitimacy. His reports and interviews have been from around the world, ranging from heads of state such as President Jimmy Carter of the US and President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, to philosophers including Amartya Sen and Baroness Warnock, to a wide range of cultural figures, amongst them Steve Reich, Daniel Barenboim, Herbie Hancock, Anish Kapoor and the late Beryl Bainbridge.

His career in British journalism began at the Sunday Telegraph, after which he spent several years at the London Evening Standard, the Independent newspapers - where he was chief interviewer and a regular columnist - and the New Statesman, of which he was assistant editor and a longstanding contributing editor. His writing has appeared in just about every other UK newspaper and current affairs magazine, as well as in publications in Asia such as the South China Morning Post, the Jakarta Globe (Indonesia), and the Star and New Straits Times (Malaysia). His media appearances include The Today Programme, Newsnight, Channel Four News, the South Bank Show and Al Jazeera (both English and Arabic channels).


Educated at the King's School Canterbury and Balliol College, Oxford, in 2009 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Christian Caryl

Christian Caryl is the editor of DemocracyPost, a section of the Washington Post editorial department that follows the challenges facing democracy around the world. He is also a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and a contributing editor at The National Interest. From 2004 to March 2009 he headed the Tokyo Bureau of Newsweek. Before that, from 2000 to 2004, Caryl served as Newsweek’s Moscow Bureau Chief. After 9/11 he carried out numerous assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of Newsweek’s reporting on the war on terror. In the course of his career he has reported from more than 50 countries. Earlier Caryl served as Moscow bureau chief for U.S News & World Report starting in July 1997. Before moving to Moscow, Caryl spent 13 years as a freelance journalist in Germany, where he contributed to publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Spectator, and Der Spiegel. He was a winner of the 2011 Overseas Press Club award for Best Online Commentary, a member of a Newsweek reporting team that won a 2004 National Magazine Award for reporting from Iraq, and a 1999 finalist in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting. In his journalistic career he has reported from some 50 countries. A 1984 graduate of Yale College, he speaks Russian and German.

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