JR James Travel Prize winners seek to explore the UK’s canals

Huan and Yiting

Two students from Urban Studies and Planning have been awarded the JR James Travel Prize this year: Yiting Zhang and Huan Chen have proposed a canal boat trip in Cambridgeshire, in order to gain a unique perspective on how the canal system affects people’s impression of Cambridge and the surrounding area.

The JR James award was founded in 1981 from funds subscribed in memory of the late Professor JR James. The prize can be used by any student from the department to undertake travel and/or study in Britain or abroad. The spirit of the award, in line with Professor James’s beliefs, is that it should be used to enhance students’ experience, and to widen their horizons.

The students plan to travel by boat from Cambridge to Huntingdon. This trip will last seven days, and Yiting and Huan hope to gain a new and unique perspective on how the canal system continues to affect people’s impression of a Cambridge, which is now under the influence of modern transportation development. The students will hope to become familiar with the canal system and learn more about the culture of living on board a narrowboat. Yiting and Huan will document their trip on camera, recording interviews along the way.

"It is our honor that the panel of the JR James Studentship liked our application,” said Huan Chen. “This trip will be memorable and valuable, it gives us an opportunity to see towns from another perspective.”

“We are looking forward to familiarizing ourselves with the canal system in the United Kingdom,” said Yiting Zhang. “We will produce a documentary which will include interviews with locals and memorable things along the trip. This is a great opportunity and without the funding it would be much harder for us to conduct such a journey. A heartfelt thanks to the JR James Studentship for funding our trip."

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