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2024 Rex Nettleford Essay Prize opens for entries

Born in Falmouth, Jamaica, in 1933, Ralston “Rex” Nettleford was a scholar and a social critic as well as a choreographer and activist. In 1957 he studied for an MPhil in Political Science at Oriel College, Oxford, with a Rhodes Scholarship. Then after his studies he returned to Jamaica to take on a role at the University of the West Indies, where in due course he would be appointed Vice-Chancellor.

The essay prize aims to recognise Rex’s contributions to scholarship, education and culture while encouraging students to engage with the lasting influence of colonialism and uncomfortable questions posed by it.

Candidates are asked to submit an answer to one of four questions before Friday 15 March 2024. Prizes will be awarded at Oriel College on the occasion of the 2024 Rex Nettleford Lecture on Colonialism and its Legacies during Trinity term.

While British colonialism sets the specific context for the competition, candidates may address any geographical centre of colonialism in their essays.

At the 2023 Rex Nettleford Lecture Ekow Eshun, Chairman of the Fourth Plinth, talked about how recent works of visual art by the African diaspora are imagining new ways of being Black which are free from the restraints that the legacy of colonialism places on Black people.

The winners of the 2023 Rex Nettleford Essay Prize were Isaac Gavaghan and Rufus Shutter. Special commendations also went to Fatima Dambatta, Elicia Brance and Raian Gantra.

To find out more about the 2024 Rex Nettleford Essay Prize, including details on how to enter, click here.