Emma Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys are among the celebrity names announced as non-academic visiting fellows of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford by its principal Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of the The Guardian.
Malorie Blackman, the former Children’s Laureate, High Court judge Sir Rabinder Singh, and scientist and novelist Jennifer Rohn have also been made fellows.
Mr Rusbridger said that the appointments were “drawn from a variety of backgrounds, callings and professions” and made to “form a bridge between our own academic community and the worlds they inhabit and represent”.
“We canvassed names from our own governing body, of people of distinction whom we admired and whom we felt could add to the intellectual and cultural life of LMH,” Mr Rusbridger said. “A small subcommittee then whittled down the names to arrive at the list we are announcing today – which spans science, medicine, the performing arts, literature, feminism, politics, law and policing.
“Visiting fellows are appointed for three years. We hope they will occasionally come and eat at college as well as debate, perform, challenge and otherwise engage with the fellows, tutors, support staff and students. One or two have already come up with other ideas for how they might use their relationship with LMH to develop other projects and thinking.
“Some of the names we announce today did not go to university; one left school at 16. We think we can learn much from them – and we hope they treasure their time with us.”
Mr Rusbridger made a point of noting that only one of the fellows is an academic, saying that the college has “a significant number of distinguished scholars who are honorary and emeritus fellows”.
Completing the list are Francis Habgood, chief constable of Thames Valley Police, artist Cornelia Parker, composer and clarinettist Mark Simpson, neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, and film director Beeban Kidron.