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Christine Davidson Memorial Lecture

PLEASE NOTE: Applications for the CDML are now closed

The late Christine Davidson was a member of the Tolkien Society for 28 years and a major contributor to its activities during this time. As an educator and writer she always encouraged the achievements and aspirations of others and one of her greatest passions was promoting and enjoying the work of Tolkien; unsurprisingly she played a key role in the success of The Ring Goes Ever On Tolkien conference at Aston University in 2005.

In order to continue her legacy in education, we are setting up the Christine Davidson Memorial Lecture (CDML), which carries a bursary aimed at enabling a Tolkien scholar to attend Return of the Ring in August 2012 and present an aspect of their research in lecture format. Applications are welcome from scholars (whether independent or affiliated) from any field and stage of Tolkien studies and for whom attendance presents financial difficulty. Lecture topics can be drawn from any area of Tolkien studies including creative responses. Your planned lecture can be supported by any appropriate media forms as relevant to your topic. It is very important that your proposal is appropriate for a live presentation and is not simply a ‘reading’ of an academic essay or thesis chapter. In this way non-traditional forms of scholarship will also be considered. In the first instance the award will cover conference registration & accommodation for 4 days, but may also defray other associated costs at the judges’ discretion. The award is not transferable. Application for the Christine Davidson Memorial Lecture award implies acceptance of the rules. No correspondence will be entered into regarding the outcome of the selection process, and the judges’ decision is final.

Stage 1

In order to apply for this bursary you will need to complete the online application which comprises four sections.

  1. Personal details
  2. Covering Letter
  3. Name of referee
  4. Supporting evidence (optional)

You need to upload a one-page cover letter outlining why you think you deserve this award, the nature of your scholarship and experience, and what you would hope to offer as a lecture topic for a 45-minute presentation. In addition to the cover letter you will need to give the name of a person who we can contact to verify your identity and scholarship. This person can be an academic supervisor or a member of a Tolkien society, or other relevant literary society, who is familiar with your work; if you are in doubt please contact us.

In support of your application you may also upload a small example of your work such as some photographs, a short audio or video file or a sample of writing of up to 3000 words - file size not exceeding 5MB. Please note that we will only look at the supporting evidence where we feel it would help with our evaluation of your proposal, and not in all cases - the cover letter is the primary mechanism by which we will create a shortlist.

Stage Two

Using the cover letters we will choose a shortlist of applicants. Decisions will be made by a panel of representatives from academia, The Tolkien Society and the late Christine Davidson’s family. Decisions will be made on a combination of academic merit and deserving circumstances. The identity and scholarship of shortlisted applicants will be confirmed by reference from the nominated person. A shortlisted candidate who has falsified evidence in their application will be disqualified. Candidates on the shortlist will then be invited to submit a full text or detailed version of their presentation from which the panel will then select the recipient of the award.

Awards will not be made in absentia - should the scholar not be available to present the lecture at Return of the Ring, another scholar will be chosen from the shortlist.

All shortlisted scholars will be presented with certificates whether or not they attend, however, and acknowledged in Amon Hen. All shortlisted applicants who are attending the event will be given the opportunity to present their topic as a 20-minute paper as part of the normal conference proceedings. As there will be only one winner we strongly urge that applicants also apply to present a 20-minute paper as part of the ordinary conference proceedings - this can be on the same or a different area of interest or scholarship. We ask this because the ordinary Call for Papers closes prior to the decision on the CDML shortlist, and only shortlisted applicants will have the automatic right of presentation.

Here is the online form.

If you would like to contact us, please email