Screen stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Watson have been handed new roles – as visiting fellows at Oxford University.
Sherlock actor Benedict and Emma, who made her name as Hermione in the Harry Potter series, are among 11 notable non-academics to have accepted appointments at Lady Margaret Hall.
Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant, film director Beeban Kidron – who helmed Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason – and former children’s laureate Malorie Blackman have also accepted visiting fellowship roles at the college.
Benedict, who more recently earned positive reviews for his role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Barbican Centre in London, has shifted to the centre of political debate with a number of impassioned comments on the refugee crisis and Syria.
His portrayal of Cambridge code-breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game earned him an Oscar nomination last year for best actor. He was also awarded a CBE for services to the performing arts and to charity.
Emma, who studied for a year at Worcester College Oxford as a visiting student, is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador advocating equality and promoting education for girls.
Visiting fellows are normally appointed for three years, and are encouraged to attend debates and perform at the college.
LMH’s college principal Alan Rusbridger, former editor in chief of the Guardian, wrote about the expectations of a visiting fellow in a blogpost.
“At a minimum we’d like them to drop in occasionally at college, eat with us and meet informally with a variety of the LMH community.
We’d like them to do one thing a bit more structured: it could be a conversation or debate, a performance, a lecture or seminar, a form of outreach – or something we haven’t thought of. We can imagine fascinating interactions or collaborations between them.
“They are welcome to come and stay in college if they’d like a place temporarily to think or work. And some have already suggested other ways in which they might engage with a body of 700 incredibly smart students and tutors in order to stimulate their own thinking or work in progress,” he wrote.