The Berry Chair

6 December 2022

The Berry Chair was established in 1897 following a bequest made by David Berry in acknowledgement of his brother Alexander’s intention to leave money to the University of St Andrews. In the early 1820s, Alexander Berry settled land at Shoalhaven, New South Wales, Australia which was inhabited by indigenous people and which is now the subject of a successful Native Title claim by the South Coast People. Berry was able to settle on and exploit the land thanks to the knowledge, practices and natural resources of local people, his experiences with other indigenous people in Oceania, and the labour of convicts. The School recognises the contribution of all these people to the wealth of the Berry family and ultimately to the foundation of the Chair.

The School is seeking publicly to acknowledge the complex history of the Berry legacy through a research colloquium and other public events over the coming years. The University has long-standing collaborations with indigenous scholars, students and communities in Oceania through the Centre for Pacific Studies and the School of English. We have benefited from and are grateful for the guidance of indigenous scholars in reconsiderations of Berry’s legacy and are developing resources and activities, including a prize for indigenous poetry, to support indigenous scholarship and creative work. We hope that the incoming Chair will take a leading role in these events, and will contribute to the School’s aim to expand horizons and decolonise across periods and areas of teaching and research.

Informal enquiries about the post should be addressed to the Head of School, Professor Ian Johnson, at More information about the bequest can be found on the School's About page.