Dr David Clifford wins the Pilkington Prize

We are delighted to announce that Dr David Clifford, Homerton Fellow and Director of Studies in English, has been awarded the Pilkington Prize. Awarded annually by the Vice-Chancellor, the prize recognises individuals who make a substantial contribution to the teaching programme of a Department, Faculty or the University as a whole.

David's own route into academia was not a typical one. He grew up in a working-class community in South Essex, in a school and family where "no one ever even thought about going to university." After leaving school he worked as a computer programmer for the civil service, where he was encouraged to take short courses to support his career progression. As a result of these courses he belatedly "got the studying bug", and eventually incurred the disapproval of his family by leaving secure employment to go to university. Aged 26, he began a BA in English and Related Literatures at the University of York, which he followed with an MA in Victorian Studies at the University of London, and a PhD at Cambridge. He joined Homerton as a College Lecturer in 2002. 

"I feel driven to look out for people who might have been in a similar situation," he says. 

Professor Nicolette Zeeman, Chair of the Faculty Board of English, said in support of David's nomination: "David comes from an anti-intellectual conservative working-class background, with which he says he wrestled before entering university in 1991, via access, as a mature student. This is clearly the larger context for his absolute dedication to his students, his rigorous support of marginal voices in admissions, his commitment to student support, and his personally tailored teaching curricula - all part of his concern to make his subject speak to the full diversity of his students. The student statements gathered speak to the respect, gratitude and affection he garners among those he teaches and for whom he directs studies, whether in Homerton or across the University."

The prize winners will be celebrated in a virtual ceremony on Tuesday, 29 June. 

"I'm delighted," says David. "It's a terrific honour to receive this award, and I hope it shows how important teaching is at Homerton. Given how many hours of supervising goes on behind our doors week in week out, formal recognition of what we do is extremely gratifying. Our students deserve nothing less."