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Key appointment made for School of Arts and Humanities

My perspective is that the Arts and Humanities are fantastic in Cambridge. They are very diverse and there are brilliant people in all areas. I want to enhance our ambition to match that quality.

Professor Martin Millett

Professor Martin Millett has been appointed Head of the School of Arts and Humanities.

He takes up the post having spent the past 13 years as the Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology in the Faculty of Classics.

The Fitzwilliam College Fellow said he wants the School to focus on its high quality research and teaching and to build on its world-class reputation.

Professor Millett said: “My perspective is that the Arts and Humanities are fantastic in Cambridge. They are very diverse and there are brilliant people in all areas. I want to enhance our ambition to match that quality.”

“I think across the Arts and Humanities community everywhere in the country there has been a tendency to feel that we are under siege with pressures like cuts in funding. But I think that is in many ways a false perception and has led some to feel that simply continuing to exist is itself a victory.

“What I want us to do is to focus on the quality of our work and knowing that we are one of the best research centres in the world.”

Professor Millett added there were several challenges to face, including continuing to attract the very best school leavers into undergraduate studies in Cambridge and then to support the best of those into post-graduate research.

“This will be a challenge given the levels of student debt undergraduate students can expect. I very much hope we can develop much stronger funding schemes through philanthropic donations to give generous scholarships to the very best graduate students,” he added.

Among the things the professor looks forward to is seeing the career progression of talented people within the school: “I’m particularly interested in seeing where the early- and mid-career researchers in the departments are heading and giving them what support I can to fulfil their potential.”

Professor Millett studied in London for his undergraduate degree before pursuing his post-graduate studies at the University of Oxford.

Having spent a year as a museum curator for Hampshire County Council he took up a lectureship at Durham where he rose to a professorship in 1998 before moving on to Southampton and then, in 2001, to Cambridge.

For the last four years he has also been the vice-president of the British Academy in the international team, responsible for its overseas schools and institutions programme.