Stimulating scholarly activities
The Colleges this year have developed strong and lasting links with the Institute of Advanced Study. In the coming years the University can expect many visiting fellows not only through the successful, well-established IAS visiting fellowship scheme and COFUND but also through a number of other programmes linked to specific universities and funding agencies. The colleges are an ideal home for visitors. Visiting fellows are encouraged to participate in college life through both formal and informal lectures and seminars, supporting clubs and committees and in leading research conversations particularly with our postgraduate communities and the SCR. Our Senior Common Rooms contain a wealth of research talent across the colleges and are currently under a state of transition as more active university staff are now engaging and contributing to college communities. SCRs host many scholarly events ranging from formal lectures to more informal dining events that too provide useful multidisciplinary space for the discussion of research and research initiatives. The College of St Hild and St Bede has been particularly active, sponsoring weekly multidisciplinary colloquia, whereas Cafe Politique and Cafe Scientifique in Ustinov College provide a multidimensional view of the world through a series of seminars presented by distinguished speakers.
Involving the students
Involvement with our student bodies is essential not only in creating a current, vibrant environment but in planning for the future engagement of our alumni. In the near future colleges will be managing increased numbers of postgraduate students and planning improved infrastructures for their Middle Common Rooms. This year many MCRs have hosted their own research events in the form of oral and poster sessions but unlike the strong subject focus in their own departments, discussions ranged widely across the disciplines sharing ideas and techniques from all three of the academic faculties. A challenge for the future is, of course, to attract and entice our Junior Common Rooms to participate in these events.
Show-casing research and scholarship to the public
The Colleges provide a range of venues to host some of the larger research and scholarly events involving annual public lectures (e.g., Lord Melvyn Bragg lectured to an audience of 400 in Van Mildert on the 'The King James Bible and the Modern World'; later this year St John’s hosts its Annual Borderland Lecture), conferences such as Imaging for Life Science Research at Grey, Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Collingwood and the European Shale Gas Conference co-hosted by Van Mildert. Other events with a less obvious research twist such as National Orchid Show will be held in collaboration between the Botanic Garden and Josephine Butler College later this year.