IMES awards two prizes each year to undergraduates who have excelled in their studies.
Born and brought up in Edinburgh, Miss Irene Crawford graduated with an MA General degree from the University of Edinburgh. She travelled widely in the Middle East and Africa, and worked for a time as the private secretary to Ian Smith, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1960s. Following her return to Edinburgh she served the University of Edinburgh for thirty years as the administrative secretary of the Department of Arabic (later renamed Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies) retiring in the mid-1990s. She was devoted to her job and always took a personal interest in IMES students.
In her retirement Irene Crawford lived a solitary life but never lost her affection for the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. She died in 2007 in her mid-seventies and left a substantial bequest to IMES to be used at the discretion of the Head of Department at that time. Professor Carole Hillenbrand, who worked with Miss Crawford for many years and knew her very well, decided that a prize for the best final year Honours student in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies would be the most appropriate way to represent her sentiments and mark her memory.
The value of the Irene Crawford Prize is £400 each year. The prize was inaugurated in 2008.
2016 - Eleanor Lucy Deacon (MA Honours in Arabic and Persian)
Professor Carole Hillenbrand is an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. A member of department from 1979 until her retirement in the summer of 2008, Professor Hillenbrand is a world-leading scholar in Islamic History and has been the recipient of many prizes and honours including an OBE. She has published numerous books and articles, and is actively engaged in a long-term collaborative study of the precious Rashid al-Din manuscript in the University's rare books and manuscripts holdings.
An undergraduate prize has been named in Professor Hillenbrand's honour as a tribute to her dedication to IMES over the years, and the continuing ways in which she enriches colleagues and students with her presence, knowledge, and good cheer.
Awarded annually to the best undergraduate Honours Dissertation, the prize was launched in 2010 and is valued at £100.
2016 - Emma Robertson (MA Honours in Arabic)
In addition to the two prizes above, IMES students may be eligible to apply for the Robert Hillenbrand Prize :
Applications are invited for the Robert Hillenbrand Prize in Islamic Art and Architecture. The prize will be awarded for an outstanding piece of work by an Honours student (3rd, 4th or 5th year Undergraduate) at the University of Edinburgh. Any written work assessed as part of the student's degree (such as a course essay, analytical project, or dissertation), with a focus on any aspect of the art, architecture and material culture of the Islamic world is eligible for submission. Preference may be given to longer works, such as dissertations, and the prize may only be awarded once to the same student. The deadline for applications is 1 May 2016. For further information, please contact Sue Cavanagh (firstname.lastname@example.org) in History of Art.
The Prize was established through the generosity of an anonymous donor in honour of Professor Robert Hillenbrand, a leading figure in the field of Islamic Art and Architecture, who taught at the University of Edinburgh between 1971 and 2007. Professor Hillenbrand is currently an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University and continues to be an active member of our research community.