Churchill Fellowship Application

The following text is taken from the Winston Churchill's Memorial Trust website, and supporting material. These excerpts will help me in making an application for a Fellowship. (bold emphases are my annotations)

The Purpose of a Fellowship Churchill Travelling Fellowships offer a unique opportunity for individuals to travel overseas, to bring back fresh ideas and new solutions to the issues facing us today, for the benefit of their profession, their community, and the UK as a whole. When we award a Fellowship, we hope to enable a number of opportunities:

• An opportunity for experiential learning – the primary purpose of a Fellowship is to give individuals the chance to learn at first hand from international practice.

• The beginning of a learning journey – the Fellowship journey continues beyond the four to eight weeks of travel. It inspires Fellows to become leaders, experts, and innovators, building on their learning to develop new models and better practices back in the UK.

• A catalyst for innovative thinking and fresh approaches – the learning from a Fellowship is shared and used by others and can help to inspire new ways of working and new ways of thinking back in the UK.

• A global conversation – Fellowships help to develop ongoing international relationships through which learning and practice can continue to be shared. Initiating this global conversation creates a two-way exchange of ideas and sharing of skills.

 The award of a Fellowship can have a profound impact on individuals, who return with a greater belief in their own abilities, as well as benefiting others through the new ideas brought back to the UK. Often a Fellowship serves as the key to unlocking an individual’s potential. It can accelerate their career, developing them as a leader in their field of expertise or as a role model, and continues to be a motivating influence long after they have returned from their travels. 

Winston Churchill considered that his extensive travels had been a hugely positive influence in his own life, and he believed that face-to-face contact between nations would lead to better harmony and trust. With his prior seal of approval, the Trust was set up as his living memorial on his death in 1965, so that British people, from all walks of life, could experience the benefits of overseas travel. He believed they would be inspired and enthused to make their own valuable contributions, not only to British life, but to global understanding. This ethos has remained unchanged for over five decades. We have now awarded more than 5,250 Travelling Fellowships, and are constantly humbled by our Fellows’ dedication to bringing positive change to their communities, with their passion, determination and innovative thinking. Many initiatives have been instigated, particularly over the past five years, to ensure that our Fellows and their work are further supported. An example of this is the partnerships we have developed with other organisations who have front line expertise, or who fund activity in areas of mutual interest. This allows our Fellows to access new networks and share their findings as widely as possible with others. We are enormously grateful to our partners and to our supporters for the many ways in which they contribute so much to our work. In addition to our general Fellowship categories, each year we introduce new topical themes which reflect current and often complex challenges facing the UK. Migration, Mental Health, and Enterprise in its widest form, are current areas of focus. It is now more than half a century since the Trust was established, and we are all proud of Winston Churchill’s enduring legacy, but we continue to look forward – to ensure that his living memorial remains relevant in today’s world. In 1922, Winston Churchill said: “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.” Our Fellows reflect this sentiment – whatever their chosen path, they invariably demonstrate tenacity, drive and deep seated passion for developing and improving their professions and their communities, and thus the UK as a whole. This continues long after they have returned from their initial fact-finding trip.

My plan for a travelling fellowship would be to go and research fully the evidence based materials, production methods and techniques of application for painting in oils.

My extensive reading upon the subject of painting conservation has revealed that the science of archival painting materials and methods is now better known than ever before. Yet, paradoxically, contemporary painting methods seem unaware of good practice. Since the supposed "death of painting" the skills and technical expertise required are barely to be found in our universities and colleges. Yet artists have continued to paint, but they are not painting well. It would appear that much of 20th and 21st Century painting is literally falling apart due to poor technique, and the situation is set to continue unless something is done to intervene.

As the ateliers and art academies of Europe were declining and new forms of art were taking over, the skills and techniques that had been preserved for generations were going out of vogue. However, there were a few Americans who had come to study in Europe who took those skills back with them to the States. In small ateliers and apprenticeships, these skills were preserved and are the foundation of the huge growth and interest in traditional methods that has spread across the US and Canada, and Europe.

Next month I am meeting with George O' Hanlon (an oil paint technologist and producer of historically accurate pigments), from the USA, whilst he is in London to discuss my application for the Fellowship and to hopefully make arrangements to spend some time researching at his facility in New York. During my time there I also plan to visit Grand Central Academy NY, one of the largest traditional painting schools. After that I plan to travel to Florence to visit the three art establishments that claim to have had the traditional painting skills handed down to them through an unbroken line of apprentices. 

Through this research my proposal will be to disseminate the ideas through a dedicated web presence specifically to assist artists and universities to re-engage with good practice. I would also seek to deliver seminars and workshops to further support the work.

My final submission will include professional evidence-based quotations and links to support the factuality of my proposal.