The RSAA Travel and Adventure Award for travel in 2017

The Royal Society for Asian Affairs invites applications from individuals who will be aged 18-25 at the time of the proposed trip, for the RSAA Travel and Adventure Award (formerly the Sir Peter Holmes Memorial Award for Travel).

The Award is to encourage individual purposeful travel in Asia by young people, organized by themselves and not part of a group organized by another organization. Applicants should submit a plan of a project involving travel in a country or countries of Asia and relating to the geography, history, politics, environmental conservation, culture or art of the area to be visited. Any part of Asia, including the Middle East, may be chosen. Plans should be costed as far as possible and should state the duration of the travel involved and how the costs will be met. The award will be made on the basis of originality, coherence, evidence of background knowledge, and the degree to which the project is likely to add to general understanding of the area chosen and/or to benefit local people or the applicant. Preference will be given to projects that are not requirements in an academic or other course and ideally should not be part of or related to the curriculum of the applicant’s current course.

Applicants should provide their postal address and contact details for two referees. Candidates may be called to London for interview. However, to avoid unnecessary expense, the aim is to make the award on the basis of written submissions, which should be no more than two sides of A4 in length and should, if possible, be sent both in electronic form and in hard copy. A one-page CV, including date of birth, must be submitted, with a statement detailing how the applicant heard about the award. An acknowledgement of the application will be sent on its receipt.

The successful applicant must submit a 1500-word report within 6 weeks of completion of their trip and will be expected to make a presentation to the Society about the project after its completion, and to provide a photographic or other pictorial record.

The present notice refers to travel in 2016. The award will consist of up to £1000 and two years’ gratis membership of the Society. The adjudicators have discretion to divide the award among more than one candidate if appropriate.

Applications should be sent by 11 November 2016 to The Secretary, The Royal Society for Asian Affairs, 1st Floor, 25 Eccleston Place, London SW1W 9NF (email:, to whom any queries should be addressed. The Society will notify successful candidates by 29 January 2017.


Hover over a recipients name to view more details about their projects.

  • 2016May Homira Rezai

    Name: May Homira Rezai

    Year: 2016

    Afghanistan: to look at the lives of the Hazara people

  • 2016Emilia Smeds

    Name: Emilia Smeds

    Year: 2016

    China: to look at the changing fortunes of bicycle culture

  • 2016Ben Jones

    Name: Ben Jones

    Year: 2016

    Iran: to create a photographic record of the markets of Iran

  • 2016Daoud Jackson

    Name: Daoud Jackson

    Year: 2016

    Turkey: to research the architecture and building decoration of the Seljuks

  • 2016Katherine Crofts-Gibbons

    Name: Katherine Crofts-Gibbons

    Year: 2016

    Uzbekistan: to recreate the journey of Rosita Forbes

  • 2014Sebastian Rumsby

    Name: Sebastian Rumsby

    Year: 2014

    Vietnam: travel to research recent changes in water puppet performances

  • 2014Anna Kellar

    Name: Anna Kellar

    Year: 2014

    Tajikistan: travel to explore four valleys in Western Badakshan province.

  • 2013Rohit Dasgupta

    Name: Rohit Dasgupta

    Year: 2013

    India: travel to rural belt around Bihar/Orissa to find out more about ‘Launda’ (dancing boys) community

  • 2013Kim Jacobsen

    Name: Kim Jacobsen

    Year: 2013

    India: travel to Tiruvallur, Tamil Nadu State to interview Irula tribe re snakes in areas of human habitation.

  • 2013Jamie Maddison

    Name: Jamie Maddison

    Year: 2013

    Central Asia: following in footsteps of Sir Charles Howard-Bury, who travelled there in 1913.

  • 2012Giulia Camerra

    Name: Giulia Camerra

    Year: 2012

    China: analyse causes & consequences of labour shortage hitting manufacturers; will visit 8 textile factories

  • 2012Shaun McPhee

    Name: Shaun McPhee

    Year: 2012

    China: Study of N Korean children in China; long history of migration from N Korea for work, freedom & food.

  • 2011Felix Vicat

    Name: Felix Vicat

    Year: 2011

    Sri Lanka: interviewing military leaders of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam having spoken to those who won.

  • 2011Daria Singh

    Name: Daria Singh

    Year: 2011

    Mongolia: Six months work with Wild Camel Protection Foundation for the breeding & calving season.

  • 2010Andrew Daynes

    Name: Andrew Daynes

    Year: 2010

    Pakistan: Focusing on oral histories/recollections of  Gilgit uprising & their thoughts for current & future Gilgit.

  • 2010Mohammed Khuram

    Name: Mohammed Khuram

    Year: 2010

    China: retracing George Hayward’s & Robert Shaw’s journey in 1869 from Yarkand to Kashgar (by horse)

  • 2009Idris Ouahes

    Name: Idris Ouahes

    Year: 2009

    Israel: Travel to 5 countries in the ME to study the back-ground of Father Antonin Jaussen, priest & spy WW1

  • 2009Matthias Determann

    Name: Matthias Determann

    Year: 2009

    Saudi Arabia: travel to study changes in the public sphere, especially in Riyadh & its surroundings

  • 2008Hannah Warren

    Name: Hannah Warren

    Year: 2008

    India: travel to Madhya Pradesh to study & make pictorial record of female weavers in a community.

  • 2008Peter Cole

    Name: Peter Cole

    Year: 2008

    Yemen: travel to Yemen to make a study of the Mehri tribe.

  • 2008Sonal Barot

    Name: Sonal Barot

    Year: 2008

    Japan: travel to gain a deeper understanding of what lies behind the Indian dance style ‘Bharata Natyam’ in Japan.

  • 2007Nicholas Farrelly

    Name: Nicholas Farrelly

    Year: 2007

    China: travel to the Jingpo Wunpawng Manao Festival in Lonchuan County, Yunnan Province.

  • 2007Alice Ekman

    Name: Alice Ekman

    Year: 2007

    China: photographic project in four coastal cities (Beidaihe, Tangu, Tianjin & Qinhuangdao)

  • 2006Aidan Harris

    Name: Aidan Harris

    Year: 2006

    Tibet: Tibetan identity inside Tibet compared to those in exile; includes travel to Lhasa, Sakya, Amdo & Shigatse.

  • 2006Ben Caldecott

    Name: Ben Caldecott

    Year: 2006

    Malaysia: Survey of environmental & livelihood change in the Kelabit Highlands of Sarawak.



2016 recipients: Katherine Crofts-Gibbons, Daoud Jackson, Ben Jones, May Homira Rezai and Emilia Smeds
Job title:

Katherine has received her award to travel to Uzbekistan in order to to travel in the footsteps of Rosita Forbes.

Daoud is researching the architecture and decoration of the Seljuks in Turkey.

Ben plans to create a photographic record of the markets in Iran.

May is travelling to Afghanistan to look into the lives of the Hazara people.

Emilia is off to China to look at the changing fortunes of bicycle culture.

They will be giving their reports on their travels on the evening of 15 February 2017, at the St Peter’s Parish Hall venue.


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