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20th April 2017

Reeta Chakrabarti among portraits commissioned to reflect Oxford University’s diversity

Reeta Chakrabarti during her student days at Exeter College

Reeta Chakrabarti (second from left) during her student days at Exeter College


Oxford University has announced the full list of sitters and artists taking part in its Diversifying Portraiture initiative, which aims to broaden the range of people represented around the University. Among them is BBC journalist and Exeter alumna Reeta Chakrabarti (1984, English and French), film and television director Ken Loach, eminent astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, award-winning author Jeanette Winterson, and human rights activist Kumi Naidoo.

The portraits – mostly paintings and photographs, some of which have already been completed – will include a mixture of men and women and will feature people with disabilities, people from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and people from LGBTQ+ communities.

Reeta Chakrabarti, who will be photographed by Fran Monks, said: “I loved my time at Oxford. There weren’t – then – many people from my background at university there. But that didn’t stop my experience from being overwhelmingly good. I hope this project will show that Oxford is open to everyone, and that it wants to be more so. I hope too that it reflects present-day Oxford back at itself, and that it encourages an ever more diverse range of people to study there.”

Speaking about the initiative Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “There is nothing quite like walking into a room and seeing someone who looks like you honoured in a portrait on the wall. It is so important for all of us to be reminded that achievement and leadership come in all colours, shapes and sizes.”

The new portraits will be shown at an exhibition in Oxford later this year.

Portrait of Reeta Chakrabarti by Fran Monks

Portrait of Reeta Chakrabarti by Fran Monks

The full list of sitters and artists:

Diran Adebayo (novelist) – Rory Carnegie
Dr Norma Aubertin-Potter (librarian) – Emily Carrington Freeman
Dame Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell (astrophysicist) – Ben Hughes
Professor Dame Valerie Beral (epidemiologist) – Samantha Fellows
Professor Dorothy Bishop (developmental neuropsychologist) – Benjamin Sullivan
Reeta Chakrabarti (journalist) – Fran Monks
Dr Penelope Curtis (arts administrator) – Humphrey Ocean
Professor Patricia Daley (human geographer) – Binny Mathews
Professor Trisha Greenhalgh (primary health care scholar) – Fakhri Bismanto Bohang
Anne-Marie Imafidon (women in science campaigner) – Sarah Muirhead
Professor Dame Carole Jordan (astrophysicist) – Rupert Brooks
Professor Aditi Lahiri (linguistics scholar) – Rosalie Watkins
Kelsey Leonard (water scholar) – artist TBC
Hilary Lister (sailor) – Nicola Brandt
Ken Loach (director) – Richard Twose
Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch (historian) – Joanna Vestey
Jan Morris (writer) – Luca Coles
Kumi Naidoo (human rights activist) – Fran Monks
Dr Henry Odili Nwume (Winter Olympian) – Sarah-Jane Moon
Dame Esther Rantzen (broadcaster and charity campaigner) – Ander McIntyre
Professor Lyndal Roper (historian) – Miranda Creswell
Professor Kathy Sylva (educational psychologist) – Pippa Thew
Marie Tidball (lawyer and disability rights campaigner) – Clementine Webster
Jeanette Winterson (novelist) – Gerard Hanson

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