Vice-Chancellor's Inaugural Lecture

Thursday 7 December 2017

Order of proceedings

Chancellor’s welcome
11am (UK)
7pm (China and Malaysia)

Vice-Chancellor’s inaugural lecture
11.15am (UK)
7.15pm (China and Malaysia)

Questions and reflections
12 noon (UK)
8pm (China and Malaysia)



Read the transcript of the lecture 



Professor Shearer West

Professor Shearer West is the seventh President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, taking up office on 2 October 2017.

Professor West is a Professor of Art History and has held a number of leadership roles in higher education. She obtained her BA degree in Art History and English at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and her PhD in Art History at the University of St Andrews.

Following her PhD, Professor West worked as an editor for the Grove Dictionary of Art before taking up her first academic post at the University of Leicester. In 1996, she moved to the University of Birmingham as Head of the History of Art Department, then Head of the School of Historical Studies, and Acting Head of the College of Arts and Law. She was awarded a personal chair in 2000.

Further reading

In 2008 Professor West was appointed Director of Research at the Arts and Humanities Research Council where she also chaired the Research Directors Group for Research Councils UK. She was appointed Head of the Humanities Division at Oxford in 2011, where she oversaw the launch of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) and the Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Programme in the Humanities. She was appointed Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield in 2015.

Professor West has authored and edited many articles and nine books including Portraiture; The Visual Arts in Germany 1897-1940: Utopia and Despair; and Fin De Siecle: Art and Society in an Age of Uncertainty. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, the Higher Education Academy and the Royal Historical Society, and has held two visiting fellowships at Yale University.

Professor West also has a number of international roles, most recently acting as main panel chair for the national research assessment exercise for humanities in Norway and serving on the steering group to introduce impact into the Excellence in Research (ERA) exercise in Australia.

She has also represented the UK on the Science Europe Humanities Scientific Committee, and has been a jurist for the Spinoza Prize in the Netherlands and the Odysseus and Solvay prizes in Belgium, as well as an Advisory Board member for the Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Vienna.

Visit the Vice-Chancellor's website, blog and videos





Coat of arms-UON

University of Nottingham

Founded in 1948, with a history stretching back to 1881, the University of Nottingham is a research-intensive institution and a member of the prestigious Russell Group of universities.

The University’s educational ethos is built on the premise that education can transform lives and unlock the potential of its 44,500 students. This drives a commitment to excellence in teaching, learning and graduate outcomes – preparing students to shape the world around them.

The University’s outstanding teaching secured Gold in the recent Teaching Excellence Framework. It has also been named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, and features in the top 20 of all three major UK university rankings.

Further reading

A world-leading research portfolio worth £600 million brings together talented, passionate and dedicated people who strive to make discoveries that have a real impact on lives and societies across the world. The University is ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014, with 97% of its research recognised internationally.

The University is one of the UK’s most successful institutions in the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialisation, and is a major employer and industry partner both locally and globally, contributing more than £1 billion each year to the national economy.

Its pioneering spirit has seen the University lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia, to form a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Continual investment in a world-class estate both in the UK and overseas, delivers award-winning campuses, buildings and facilities which are unrivalled in providing inspiring spaces for staff and students to research, teach and study.

As the University enters an exciting new chapter with a new Vice-Chancellor, the words of its founder, Sir Jesse Boot, remain a constant truth.

“In each succeeding age the University will spread the light of learning and knowledge and will bind science and industry in the unity that is so essential for the prosperity of the nation and the welfare of our fellow citizens.”