Cambridge History Essay Competition 2012

The Robson History Prize is an annual competition for Year 12 or Lower 6th students. The Prize was established in 2007 in memory of the historian Robert Robson, who was for many years a Fellow and Tutor at Trinity. The aims of the Robson Prize are twofold: firstly, to encourage ambitious and talented Year 12 or Lower Sixth students considering applying to university to read History or a related discipline; and secondly, to recognize the achievements both of high-calibre students and of those who teach them.

Candidates are invited each year to submit an essay of between 2,000 and 4,000 words on a topic to be chosen from the list of questions.

The topics for the 2018 competition are available here.

Submissions must be received by the deadline of 1 July each year. Results will be announced around the beginning of September.


The competition carries a First Prize of £600, to be split equally between the candidate and his or her school or college (the school or college’s portion of the prize to be issued in the form of book tokens with which to buy history books), and a Second Prize of £400, which again is to be shared equally between the candidate and his or her school or college. In addition, further deserving essays of a high quality will be commended.

Any queries should be directed to Dr Peter Sarris by e-mail or by post.

Past Robson Prize-winners


1st Prize: Mr Alex Vinen (Westminster School)
2nd Prize: Miss Anna Brady (Sheringham Sixth Form)


1st Prize: Miss Alexa Stanger (St Paul’s Girls’ School)
2nd Prize: Mr Luke Hallam (Durham Johnston Comprehensive School)


1st Prize: Mr Patrick Hudson (The King’s School, Chester)
2nd Prize: Miss Kathleen Mitchell-Fox (The Marlborough Science Academy, St Albans)


1st Prize: Miss Poppy Freeman-Cuerden (Finham Park School)
2nd Prize: Miss Eleanor Smith-Hahn (Westminster School)


1st Prize: Mr M Rees (St John the Baptist High School, Aberdare)
2nd Prize: Miss H Gass (The Queen’s School, Chester)


1st Prize: Mr S Galimberti (International School, Milan)
2nd Prize: Mr S Lock (King’s College School, Wimbledon)


1st Prize: Mr C. Easton (Newcastle College)
2nd Prize: Mr D. MacDonald (Sgoil Lionacleic, Isle of Eriskay)


1st Prize: Mr P. Hoffman (Stonyhurst College)
2nd Prize: Mr C. Humphreys (Bolitho Sixth Form College)

Four others were commended: Mr T. Gibbs, Miss N. Rainey, Mr R. Smith and Mr C. Wilson.
There were 134 applicants.


1st Prize: Mr Aaron Taylor (Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys School)
2nd Prize: Ms Louisa Caines (Cheltenham College)


1st Prize: Mr Josh Mills (Nottingham High School)
2nd Prize: Mr Christopher Bond (Cheltenham College)


1st Prize: Mr Ben Slingo (Bedford School)
2nd Prize: Ms Nisadha Bandara (Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls)



Christine Macy teaches architectural design and modern architectural history and theory. Her research areas include the representation of cultural identity in architecture, public spaces, civic infrastructure, temporary urbanism and festival architecture. Educated at the University of California, Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She practiced architecture with the EDELMAN PARTNERSHIP in New York and MACK Architects in San Francisco before establishing her partnership, FILUM, with Sarah Bonnemaison in 1990, specializing in lightweight structures and public space design for festivals.  Before joining the faculty at Dalhousie, Prof. Macy taught at UC Berkeley and the University of British Columbia. She is the Atlantic Region correspondent for Canadian Architect.

Macy has been invited to speak on her historical research at Columbia University, University of Maryland, the Catholic University of Leuwen, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, University College-London, and the University of Waterloo. Published books include Architecture and Nature (co-authored with S. Bonnemaison, Routledge, 2004) and Greening the City (Halifax, 2001). She is currently working on Dams(Norton) and an edited volume, Festival Architecture and Architectural Theory(Routledge). Her articles have appeared in Canadian ArchitectCanadian Journal of Urban ResearchDesign QuarterlyJournal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in CanadaOfframp, and On Site Review.  FILUM has been invited to speak on their design work nationally and internationally.  Christine is a member of the BERKELEY PRIZE Committee.


Michael Pyatok has been an architect and professor of architectural design for 43 years. Since opening his own office in 1984, he has designed over 35,000 units of affordable housing for lower-income households in the United States and abroad, and developed participatory design methods to facilitate community involvement throughout the design process. He has helped many communities plan and build new housing, neighborhood plans, and community facilities.

In 1995, he was elected to the American Institute of Architecture's College of Fellows in recognition of his contribution to the profession. In 2001, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.appointed him its Buchsbaum Visiting Professor of Affordable Housing. 

In 2001, Residential Architect awarded him “Architect-of-the-Year” in recognition of the quality he has brought to affordable housing. In 2002, he was featured in Professional Builder magazine as one of twelve “Thought Leaders” of the development industry.  In 2007, he was named by Builder magazine and the National Association of Home Builders, a U.S. organization that helps promote policies to make housing a national priority, as one of the 50 most influential people in the U.S. housing industry.  In 2011 he was inducted into Builder magazine’s Design Hall of Fame. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington's College of Built Environments, Department of Architecture in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.


Gustavo Romero, Arq. is a full time faculty at Facultad de Arquitectura, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). He teaches architectural design studio to undergraduate students and design and technology to graduate students in the Housing and Urban Design program. Professor Romero has been a member of NGO’s dedicated to the study of housing and popular settlements in Mexico such as Habitat, and Fomento Solidario de la Vivienda A.C. (FOSOVI) and is currently president of the latter. These organizations have played a major role in assisting low-income groups in areas such as community organization, cooperative formation, and financial, technical, and legal guidance to residents. Professor Romero has also participated in the formulation of housing policies at local and national levels. He has combined this outreach and research work to academia which has allowed him the explorations of housing alternatives.

Architect Romero is a member of Consejo Nacional de Vivienda (CONAFOVI) in which he acts as representative of civil organizations and representative of national educational and research centers in Mexico. He has been a member of councils at the local and national level and was a member of the Housing International Council (HIC) from 1981-1991.  Currently, Professor Romero participates in the XIV “F” Network on Social Technologies and Living Centers of the Ibero American Program on Science and Technology (HABITED) where he coordinates the project Community Participation in the Social Production of Housing.

His latest publications include: La Participacion en Planeamiento y el Diseño del Habitat Popular (The Participation in the Planning and Design of Popular Housing) coauthored with Rosendo Mesias (Cuba); La Produccion Social del Habitat (The Social Production of Housing); and La Participacion en el Diseño Arquitectonico y Urbano de la Produccion Social del Habitat (The Participation in the Architectural and Urban Design of the Social Production of Housing).


Robert Ungar is a 4th year student at the Department of Architecture in Bezalel, Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel.  He is currently involved in research and counseling for an urban renewal project by a local municipality. In addition to this architectural internship, Robert works as a research analyst in the fields of communications, technology and sustainability.

Robert won the BERKELEY PRIZE Architectural Design Fellowship in 2010 for his proposal to conduct a national competition with the topic of conservation and re-purposing of Israel's historic water towers. The opportunity to re-think the future of the water tower phenomenon in the Israeli landscape, developed into a national competition with sections for both students and professionals.  The competition drew dozens of proposals which subsequently have been publicly exhibited to thousands of visitors. (See the report) .

In 2011 Robert participated in The Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History’s "Journey into Jewish Heritage" program, a three-week multi-disciplinary research delegation to former Austro-Hungarian territory, the aim of which was to document the legacies of former centers of Jewish life. Robert was also a finalist in the BERKELEY PRIZE essay competition in 2009.

Additional Help and Information

Are you in need of assistance? Please email

0 thoughts on “Cambridge History Essay Competition 2012

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *