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£120,000 for Cabot Project

A replica of John Cabot's ship, the 'Matthew' sailing on the Avon

A replica of John Cabot's ship, the 'Matthew' sailing on the Avon

2 June 2011

The Cabot Project, run by Dr Evan Jones of the Department of History, has been awarded £90,000 funding from Gretchen Bauta, a private Canadian benefactor with a particular interest in Canada's early history.

The donation will be supplemented by an additional £30,000 from the Gift Match scheme, under which each pound donated to a British university is, until July 2011,  being supplemented by an additional 33 pence grant from the Government.

Dr Jones said: “This is fantastic news!  It will allow us to extend the length and scope of a project that is transforming our understanding of the famous voyages launched from Bristol by John Cabot during the years 1496-98.  It's a truly generous gesture on Gretchen Bauta's behalf and one for which we are very grateful.”

Most of the money will be spent on paying for collaborators such as Margaret Condon, who has been working on the project for the last two years. Money will also be used to buy Dr Jones out of some other duties over the next few years – albeit he will still continue to teach, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, during this time.  This will include units like 'Discovering America' (third year) and 'Bristol, 1000-1542' (MA) that relate directly to this project.

“Teaching and research are sometimes pitched in opposition to each other,” said Dr Jones.  “But they shouldn't  be.  For the whole point of studying history at a place like Bristol is that students should see research feeding into their teaching, while students' own research projects, from first year onwards, feed back into the research life of the department.”

The Cabot Project is an international collaborative project set up in July 2009 to investigate the Bristol discovery voyages of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries – in particular, those undertaken by the Venetian adventurer, John Cabot (a.k.a. Giovanni Caboto, Juan Cabotto, Zuan Chabotto).

The project leader in Bristol is Dr Evan Jones, who is working in association with Margaret Condon, Professor Peter Pope (Memorial University, Newfoundland), Dr Francesco Guidi Bruscoli (University of Florence /Queen Mary, London) and  Dr Heather Dalton (University of Melbourne).

The origins of the project lie in Dr Jones' investigations of the research claims of Dr Alwyn Ruddock, which were published as 'Alwyn Ruddock: "John Cabot and the Discovery of America"', Historical Research, 81 (May, 2008), 224-254.