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Scholarships awarded to five exceptional Arts students

The Daniel and Elizabeth Peltz Awards, each worth £6000, have been granted to five students from the School of Arts based on their outstanding academic or professional records.

Image: School of Arts, Birkbeck

Five scholarships have been awarded to students from the School of Arts through the Daniel and Elizabeth Peltz Awards, made possible by the generosity of the Peltz family.

Elanor Best, Yasmin Akhter, Rebecca Clossick, Anna Cottle and Alexandra Kholwadia received the bursaries, each worth £6000 or £3000 per year of their degree, based on their strong applications and outstanding records of achievement.

Located in the Georgian terrace of Gordon Square where, a century ago, Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Lytton Strachey and other members of the Bloomsbury Group lived and worked, the School of Arts is steeped in history and has a well-deserved reputation for cutting edge research and rigorous teaching.

However, postgraduate funding in Arts subjects is limited across the UK Higher Education sector. Scholarships like this are vital to ensure that the merits of Arts subjects are valued and that talented students are able to continue research and practice across their many disciplines.

Daniel and Elizabeth Peltz are strong advocates of Arts education, with Daniel having studied for his own MA in Renaissance Studies at Birkbeck in 2009. Daniel is also a Fellow of the College, and in 2013 both he and Elizabeth provided funds for the creation of the Peltz Gallery.

Daniel said: “I got so much out of my time at Birkbeck and, wherever possible, I feel it’s important for alumni to give something back. I am particularly passionate about the Arts sector, so I am delighted that Elanor, Yasmin, Rebecca, Anna and Alexandra will benefit from these scholarships which I hope will go some way to furthering their own ambitions.”

STUDENT PROFILES

Yasmin Akhter, MA Victorian Studies:

“This award is more than just a form of financial support for me – being one of the very few recipients of this award has granted me an enormous sense of confidence in my academic skills and potential, which is something you cannot put a price on.

“My postgraduate degree is another step towards my goal of completing a PhD in Victorian Literature, to progress into a career in academia. With the support that the Daniel and Elizabeth Peltz Award will provide me, my academic ambitions have been overwhelmingly uplifted.”

Anna Cottle, MA History of Art:

“It is so important to recognise the value of the Arts in general and to enable those who are working full time in low paid employment to increase their chances of a successful career in the Arts, to develop their knowledge and gain the potential to continue on to a PhD. 

“I currently work as an administrator at The British Museum, in the Africa, Oceania and the Americas department where I am surrounded by a wonderful collection of objects and inspiring colleagues. I hope to develop my career within the museum with the aid of this MA, potentially into a project assistant or project curator role. Studying at Birkbeck will open doors to other career routes while fitting well alongside my current role.

Alexandra Kholwadia, MA Contemporary Literature and Culture:

“I can't wait for the start of term; to fulfil my dream of further study of literature alongside a job I am passionate about, and to meet peers as keen as I am to learn. Thank you, Daniel and Elizabeth Peltz, for dedicating this award to the Arts, and more importantly, for holding the door open for those of us who may otherwise have felt it was closed.”

Elanor Best, MA Victorian Studies:

“I am thrilled and honoured to have been selected for the Daniel and Elizabeth Peltz Award. With this support, I will be able to boost my educational experience at Birkbeck by attending conferences and engaging in wider discussions through platforms such as societal memberships - all whilst continuing to work full time. This award, and Birkbeck itself, are unique in this way, encouraging the pursuit of education for those who aren't able to study full time. I hope to be able to work towards pursuing a PhD once my Masters is complete and believe that the Daniel and Elizabeth Peltz Award will help me to achieve this goal.”

Rebecca Clossick, MA Renaissance Studies:

“I am hugely indebted to Birkbeck as an institution for empowering me as a mature student from a working-class background to change the direction of my life and career prospects. My ambitions are to celebrate the achievements of ordinary people and provide a fresh perspective on the relationship between the arts, society, and education in the sixteenth century by consulting previously underexplored archival material, and potentially offering viewpoints of underrepresented social classes and regional locations.”

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