Dr Christopher (Chris) Williams has held posts at the universities of Bristol, Birmingham, Cairo, Cambridge, London and the United Nations. He is an invited Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), and magistrate.
At school he taught himself to play the trumpet and gained a place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, aged 16. He then became Head of Brass teaching at Wells Cathedral School and a tutor at Dartington College of Arts. In 1980 he left the UK to teach at the Cairo Conservatoire, Egypt, working with Samha El-Kholy, and was principal trumpet of the Cairo Symphony Orchestra. Here he became interested in disadvantage and poverty, and taught at the Al Noor Wal Amal School for blind children. In 1985 he broke the cultural boycott of South Africa to be a principal trumpet with the PACT (SABC) Symphony Orchestra, to experience apartheid. He taught music in the Alexandra, Gauteng township, and co-founded the Johannesburg-based education NGO for street-working children, Street-wise, with Jill (Swart) Kruger. This became the topic of a PhD, his ‘first degree’. He then held Fellowships from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation concerning disability rights, and the Economic and Social Research Council within the Global Environmental Change Programme.