Can academics become better writers?

Fri 16 April
  • Start: 3.30pm (UK Time)
  • End: 4.30pm (UK Time)
  • Venue: Online
  • Address:
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Brilliant academics are often not brilliant writers or brilliant lecturers. Is this a problem? Should we do something about it?

There is a rather unfair assertion that the more highly educated a person is, the worse their communication skills. The University of Chicago creating a special writing faculty – first and foremost to help the academic staff.

Is it inevitable that academics use highly-specialised language?

How should students and academics be taught to improve their writing and presentation skills?

Is it just a problem for scientists or does the same problem exist in the humanities?

This will be a panel discussion about academic writing and presenting followed by an open discussion.


Dr Max Atkinson

From 1974-1986, Max was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, having formerly lectured at the universities of Lancaster and Manchester. He was a visiting professor at the Henley Management College from 1986 to 2006 and has also been visiting professor at Duke University, North Carolina and the universities of Vienna and Stockholm. He wrote a pioneering book on political rhetoric called Our Masters’ Voices which formed the basis of a World in Action documentary that trained a woman with no speaking experience to speak at a national political conference.

Justine Bashford

Justine works as a speechwriter at the University of Cambridge, predominantly for the Vice-Chancellor and other senior figures. She also compose articles and editorials for web and print, and is involved in strategic planning for University events.

Professor Richard Toye

Richard is Professor of Modern History at the University of Exeter. He previously worked at the University of Cambridge. He is a prolific author on modern British and international political and economic history. His critically acclaimed book Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness won him the 2007 Times Higher Young Academic Author of the Year Award. He also regularly appears on television programmes.

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