The British Academy has awarded their 2021 President’s Medal to broadcaster and historian Professor David Olusoga in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the humanities and social sciences.
Professor Olusoga is a British-Nigerian historian, writer, broadcaster and filmmaker, best known as the author of Black and British: A Forgotten History and presenter of acclaimed documentaries, such as the BAFTA-winning Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners and the current A House Through Time.
David is a Professor of Public History at The University of Manchester, and in October he chaired a discussion on diversity in statues and public memorials led by Creative Manchester. He received an OBE in the 2019 New Year Honours list for services to history and to community integration.
The President’s Medal – the British Academy’s highest honour in its suite of prizes and medals – is awarded annually in recognition of services to the humanities and the social sciences. Previous recipients of the accolade include author Margaret Atwood, writer and historian William Dalrymple, primatologist Dame Jane Goodall, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, and author Dame Hilary Mantel.
“We are delighted that David has been recognised by the British Academy for his insightful and important work,” said Professor Keith Brown, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at The University of Manchester. “His passion, clarity and depth set a very high standard, and his willingness to highlight difficult issues from our past – and their impact on the present – is a perfect illustration of the importance of historical studies to contemporary society.”
“Professor David Olusoga merits the British Academy’s highest accolade for his approach to championing inclusive approaches to British and international history by presenting diverse stories from Britain’s past and engaging a wide range of people on the important issue of how we understand our collective histories,” said Professor Julia Black, President of the British Academy.
“Across literature and television, his achievements are an inspiration to researchers in the humanities and social sciences looking to bring their research to a wider audience. His remarkable impact shows that there is unquestionably a huge public appetite to learn the realities of Britain’s international past.”