Back

Three Somervillians among subjects chosen for Oxford’s Diversifying Portraiture initiative

7th April 2017

Lahiri for webProfessorial Fellow and holder of the Chair in Linguistics, Professor Aditi Lahiri; Emeritus Fellow and Somerville’s Theoretical Physics Tutor from 1975 to 2008, Professor Dame Carole Jordan; and Honorary Fellow and Somerville alumna Dame Esther Rantzen (English, 1959) are among subjects chosen for more than 20 new portraits commissioned to reflect Oxford University’s diversity. 

The portraits – mostly paintings and photographs – illustrate the diversity of those who are connected with the university and include figures from public life as well as distinguished academics; men and women, people with disabilities, people from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and people from LGBTQ+ communities.

The project, funded by the Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Fund, previously catalogued existing paintings from around the University that highlight the range of pioneering figures whose achievements over the centuries have challenged the stereotypes of their time. Sitters were selected from over a hundred nominations of living Oxonians.

Jordan for web


Professor Dame Carole Jordan, whose portrait by Rupert W Brooks is yet to be unveiled


The new portraits will be shown at an exhibition in Oxford’s Weston Library later this year. Following the exhibition, the paintings will be displayed in the Examination Schools building in Oxford’s High Street, where students come to hear lectures and take their exams.

Dr Rebecca Surender, Advocate and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality and Diversity at Oxford University, said: ‘It is hugely important for students and staff to feel at home at Oxford, and to feel inspired by people they can relate to. This series of portraits, created by a talented group of artists, will broaden the range of people represented around the University. All of those selected to take part have made enormous contributions to Oxford life and to society more widely.’

Rantzen for web


Dame Esther Rantzen by Ander McIntyre


The full list of sitters and artists are:

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

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close