To make my schedule marginally manageable and to keep commitments under control, I am consolidating and revising various rules of engagement I have developed over the years. I am sorry if they sound rather severe, but they are based on experience and make it easier for everyone to know what is expected in a professional relationship. Since I now make my living from speaking, writing and exhibition work, these rules are now of enhanced importance.

1. External lectures/conferences

  • Lectures/ conference talks are spoken events designed for the occasions and are only exceptionally to be published. In such cases they would only be published if agreed in advance with a deadline at least six months after the delivery of the paper. Talks / lectures will not be posted on the internet without our prior agreement, and the clearing of copyright in the images that are shown is the responsibility of those posting the talk.
    • Lectures will rarely be undertaken without an offer of reasonable fees.
    • Lectures / conference papers will never be produced in written form in advance.
    • Any recording for whatever purpose should be agreed in advance, and intellectual property rights should respected.
    • No transcripts, podcasts or other use of the material after the event will be made unless agreed in advance and adequate time agreed for purposes of reviewing, editing etc.
    • Synopses for papers at conferences will only be provided where the title needs amplifying for the prospective audience.

    2. Books, other publications and media

    • All contracts are to be negotiated with my agent Caroline Dawnay of United Agents.
    • No publications will be undertaken unless the publisher obtains the illustrations and
    • permissions and meets the cost of photographs, reproduction fees etc., or an equivalent agreement is made.

    3. Press, media etc

    • Press interviews will only be undertaken on the understanding that all direct quotes are verified with me.
    • It will be made clear what is on and off the record.
    • I will be happy to discuss radio and TV programmes and podcasts etc in advance, but as soon as there is any direct and/or sustained engagement, a contract should be drawn up with my agent (see under 2).

    4. Exhibitions

    • It is expected that exhibition curatorship will be remunerated at a proper professional rate and in due proportion to the cost of the exhibition as a whole.
    • I am happy to negotiate fees that include a component based on the take at the door.
    • Catalogues / books of the exhibition will be contacted separately with my agent (see 2).

    5. Travel

    • Given that travel expenses are often reimbursed slowly, all substantial pre-booked travel should be paid by the hosts whenever possible. This applies to all overseas travel and any internal UK travel in excess of £150. Hosts should make travel arrangements and pay for the travel in advance.
    • All travel not arranged by hosts should be refunded within 6 weeks of the journey undertaken. Thereafter interest will be charged at a rate equivalent to that on my credit card.
    • An additional £12.00 will be charged to cover costs of bank fees where reclaims are made in currencies other than GBP £ Sterling.
    • All air journeys lasting over 4 hours will be expected to be funded at business class level.
    • Journeys from Oxford to London are limited strictly to one per week.
    • Any regular meetings in London involving x people will be expected to be held once in every x times in Oxford.
    • No meeting in London starting before 11.00am or 11.30 am on Mondays unless overnight stay is funded.

    6. Reading submitted material and reviewing

    • No books or articles will be read for publishers in advance of publication.
    • No marketing endorsements will be provided for publishers.
    • There is no expectation that unsolicited material will be read.
    • Books will be reviewed for journals etc. only exceptionally, and only if they are major reviews of substantial length with a notice of at least 8 weeks.
    • Material submitted by individuals (e.g. research) will, only be read if agreed in advance, and according to an agreed timetable.

    7. Deadlines

    • All deadlines need to be agreed in advance according to a scale appropriate to the job in hand and the time of year;
    • Work will be undertaken in coherent blocks according to a system of time management rather than in a piecemeal way according to opportunistic demand.

    8. Attribution and other enquiries

    • After 40+ years of responding carefully to every message about attribution and other enquiries, including many concerning supposed “secrets” hidden in Leonardo’s works, I am stepping aside from this aspect of my activity. I have been committed to the notion of public service, and have not taken any money for opinions, but the quantity of material I receive and the abuse to which I am subsequently subject on the internet means that in the IT age this ideal is no longer sustainable. I am sorry. This is a pity, but my work as a historian in public is being seriously distorted, not least by the unnecessary personalisation of arguments about matters of judgement. I will continue to engage selectively with a few major items/issues and with important developments in the academic and public domains.

    9. Refereeing

    • I will only referee for: (a) students whom I have directly taught. (b) immediate professional colleagues. (c) those few people for who absolutely no other appropriate referee is available.
    • I cannot referee for anyone for whom substantial amounts of new reading is required.
    • I will only read on behalf of research councils and related bodies where there is no other appropriate referee.
    • All personal references should be requested with a minimum of 10 days notice.
    • Anyone requiring a reference in less time should advise the recipients accordingly.

    10. Examining

    • I have over the years done a great deal of external examining, and will take on no more commitments, except for doctoral theses for which no other appropriate examiner is available.

    11. Meetings

    • I will only attend meetings when I am convinced that the business cannot be adequately conducted in any other way (e.g. by tele-conferencing).
    • See also under Travel no. 5.