Dr Tom Whittaker (Hispanic Studies and Film) has recently returned from the University of Georgia, Athens, where he spent the summer as the inaugural Franklin-Morris International Scholar. Tom delivered a course entitled ‘Space, Movement and Identity in Hispanic Film’, which was informed by his wider research interests in Spanish and Latin American cinema. The course ran for four weeks, and was open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students across UGA’s  Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Tom says: ‘The Franklin-Morris Visiting Scholarship was a fantastic, life-changing experience. Teaching within a different university system was fascinating, and the students were incredibly enthusiastic. I can’t rate University of Georgia highly enough for its research culture, resources and administrative support. Athens, its location, is great too: it has a thriving arts and music scene, which provides a dynamic backdrop to the university.’

Tom delivers his last seminar at UGA

Tom delivers his last seminar at UGA

Dr Whittaker was treated with characteristic Southern hospitality during his stay, and was able to make important contacts, especially within the departments of Romance Studies and Film Studies. When not teaching and researching, Tom was able to enjoy the subtropical weather of Georgia, as well as sample the calorific delights of Southern  Soul Food, which was in great abundance across the town.

Established by the University of Liverpool and the University of Georgia, the Franklin-Morris International Scholars Programme is named in honour of two of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and the Liverpool-born Robert Morris (1734-1806). The new scholars programme further strengthens the relationship between the University of Liverpool and the UGA. The institutions already have a teaching exchange programme arrangement, and a new institution-wide undergraduate student exchange programme will begin later this year.

Professor Noel Fallows, Associate Dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia, says:

‘One of my goals as Associate Dean has been to pursue a much broader definition of International Education so that it encompasses not only the undergraduate experience, but the graduate experience, and faculty development as well. Working with the University of Liverpool we created the unique Franklin-Morris International Studies Programme, which offers faculty members at the University of Liverpool the opportunity to teach a summer-school class at the University of Georgia, and take advantage of our major research facilities during their stay in Athens. The programme has been a success on a purely logistical level because we share the costs equally. More importantly, it has allowed our students to take classes that we would not ordinarily be able to offer, and to take those classes with outstanding research faculty. I hope that we can expand this programme in future years as our academic partnership continues to evolve.’

Colleagues requiring further information on the Franklin-Morris programme 2013-2014 are invited to contact informally Dr Tom Whittaker tomwhitt@liverpool.ac.uk or Dr Robert Blackwood  rjb@liverpool.ac.uk. Submissions of interest should be sent to Dr Blackwood by Friday 4 October.

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