The White Boffin’s Burden

A new commission from the Centre for New Writing.

Stand up comedian
Do you have what it takes to do stand-up?


The Centre for New Writing is pleased to announce a new creative commission in collaboration with the University’s Research and Enterprise Division. The winning entrant will write and perform a five- minute stand-up comedy routine, which will be filmed with a live audience. The video will be shown alongside “talking heads” of research pioneers from all over the world.

About the commission

Research Councils recently received money to allow British academics to forge partnerships with their counterparts in countries which receive official development assistance (ODA), such as Afghanistan, Bolivia, Haiti and Uganda. The commissioned stand-up routine will combat common prejudices about the quality, range and significance of current research in ODA-listed countries. A team of academics will advise the commissioned writer about the sorts of prejudices that they wish to combat.

The challenge which this commission addresses

Many British academics are considering collaborating with researchers based in ODA-listed countries for the first time. Inexperience, and Britain’s colonial legacy, occasionally produces unexamined assumptions about the calibre of academics based in ODA-listed countries. Common assumptions include:

-British research is superior to research carried out in ODA-listed countries.

-UK academics should be the senior partner in projects focused on ODA-listed countries.

-The citizens of ODA-listed countries are less complex and more readily classified than Britons.

-The problems of ODA-listed countries cannot be solved by research collaborations.

-British academics have all the solutions: these simply need translating into foreign languages and implementing overseas.


How to enter and competition deadline:

1. Write a letter of no more than 300 words, stating:

-Your name and contact details (email and phone number)

-Your experience of writing and performing comedy

- An outline of ideas for, or approaches to, your comedy routine

2. A writing sample of no more than 2 pages of A4, font size 12.


Send your entry by email to Corinne Fowler by Friday May 5th, 2017.

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Contact the Centre

The Centre for New Writing
School of English
University of Leicester
Leicester, LE1 7RH

Dr Corinne Fowler

Deputy Directors:
Dr Harry Whitehead
Mr Nick Everett

Project Manager:
(Colonial Countryside)
Kevin Ncube

Useful Links:
Creative Writing at Leicester