Brasenose Charity

A Year of Charity -  by Jonny Attwood, Brasenose JCR Charities Representative

In my time as Brasenose JCR's charities representative there has been a great deal of good news which I am pleased to be able to share and reflect upon here.



schools liaisonIf you have met the conditions of your offer and will be joining Brasenose in October then you have been sent a hard copy welcome pack in the post. There is also a website for Freshers which has lots of useful information and tells you what you need to do now. We look forward to welcoming you here in the autumn!



john_butterworth.jpgRecent Biochemistry graduate John Butterworth (pictured) has entered the Teach First programme, which trains people to become inspirational teachers in schools in low income communities across the UK. Brasenose College supports this programme by offering up to five £1000 bursaries for Brasenose students and recent graduates to help make ends meet during the unsalaried Teach First summer training programme, before teaching placements begin in the autumn. John reflects on his Teach First experience thus far:

"I first decided to apply for the Teach First program while in my second year at Brasenose. I attended a talk run by Teach First on how to get through job assessment centres, in which they squeezed in a lecture at the end about what the charity was and what it was trying to achieve. The lecture was completely unlike any other graduate scheme sessions that I had been to previously - inspiring me with talk of making a difference to childrens' lives, rather than just making a difference to a client's bank balance. I applied immediately and gained a deferred place for after finishing my degree in biochemistry.

moot_victory_photo.jpgFollowing College mooting success earlier in the year, Brasenose Law students have helped Oxford University win the seventh annual Oxford v Cambridge Clifford Chance LLP Roman Law Moot Court Competition.  Caroline Greenfield and Eewei Seah, who have both just completed their first year at Brasenose, were members of the victorious team of four.

The Oxford team researched and developed arguments on three grounds. The first was a claim for manifest theft of the plaintiff Figulus's beautiful white stag, Fautrix, by the defendant Stellio. This claim required counsel to cut through knotty problems of ownership and possession of a wild beast. The second claim was that of Stellio entering Figulus's land without permission. The final action was so mysterious that not even the two very eminent Romanists who heard the learned (if divergent) arguments of four counsel felt confident enough to make a ruling!

mens_first_boat_in_action.jpgReport by Ed Matthews - Men's Captain (and Second Year Medical Student)

Rowing is one of the most popular sports in Oxford, and it's a special kind of rowing racing that is practiced. Boats all line up at one end of the river Isis (or Thames), one boat behind another, and on the firing of a cannon, thrash their way up to the other end. The aim is to physically bump the boat ahead of yours (which can be fantastically chaotic), so that in the next race you swap positions. In this way, over many races (and many years) you can work your way up to being ‘Head of the River' - leading at the front of all the boats.

For Brasenose, this summer was the most successful in 25 years for the men's first boat. We bumped four times over the four races in the tournament (i.e. the best result that could have been achieved) - so next year we will start four places closer to being Head of the River. It was a fantastic achievement stemming from hours and hours of incredibly hard work from the crew members, some good coaching, a great deal of enthusiasm, and a healthy spoonful of luck.


alice_in_wonderland_poster.jpgLewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, which has been turning our world upside down since 1865, is being adapted this summer by the Oxford University Dramatic Society. The production, which will play outdoors in Christ Church meadow in Oxford, and then at the London Arcola Theatre before running for four weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is being directed by Brasenose's Josie Mitchell and produced by James Fennemore, who have both just completed the second year of their English degrees.

The new adaptation will immerse you in the dark and vibrant world of Lewis Carroll's imagination, with its physical theatre and powerful storytelling. Think you're all grown up? Then it's time to leap down the rabbit hole...

When Alice chases after a white rabbit, tumbling down the burrow, she little expects the fantastical world that greets her at the bottom. Inhabited by a kaleidoscope of strange anthropomorphic  creatures, Wonderland sees Alice encounter a hookah-smoking caterpillar, a baffling Mad Hatter at his bewildering tea-party, and the unsettlingly grinning Cheshire Cat, before a final showdown with the ruthless Queen of Hearts.

rtatlow1.jpgReflections on the Fourth Year Classics Extended Essay - by Rebecca Tatlow

Unlike other classics degrees, the Oxford course takes four years. This allows students longer to consolidate their linguistic abilities before the first set of examinations in second year but also impacts on the breadth and depth of study available to the student; and I found the fourth year particularly helpful in understanding the great diversity of disciplines within the course- history, archaeology, literature, philosophy, and philology. 

Although it is possible to have your degree assessed purely on the final examinations, I chose to submit an extended essay in Classical Reception - the study of how classical literature has continually influenced the works of subsequent authors. It is of particular interest to literature students, but is truly interdisciplinary and allows exploration of how different cultures interact as well as highlighting the history of classics itself. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to read poetry without having to translate it first.


brasenose_helpers_2013.jpgThe summer undergraduate Open Days of 2013 were held at Brasenose College in late June. Hundreds of prospective applicants, teachers and parents visited Brasenose during the two days, all of whom were interested in finding out about living and learning at the College.

Several dozen current students from virtually every subject were on hand to answer questions about undergraduate life and to run tours of College for visitors throughout the day. Subject tutors were also available at various times to discuss with prospective applicants how the undergraduate courses are run, the tutorial system, how to apply and other topics.  The Senior Tutor, Dr Simon Smith, and the Schools Officer, Dr Joe Organ, once again delivered four general admissions talks during the two Open Days. As well of the main prospectus, the brand new alternative prospectus proved to be extremely popular amongst the visitors.

Joe Organ commented: "Our student helpers were once again fantastic, and I'd like to thank them all for their efforts in welcoming the visitors, and showing what a happy and enriching place Brasenose is. The Open Days are a great chance to communicate some key messages to prospective applicants - for instance that we are looking for enthusiasm, ability for hard work and intellectual curiosity, and it doesn't matter where you are from, what you look like or what school you attend. Open Days also give us an opportunity to reassure visitors about college choice, as Oxford has systems in place in ensure that you have an equal chance of being admitted, regardless of which college you put down as your preference on the UCAS form."

protein_model.jpgResearch Sketch - by Dr Steve Johnson, Lecturer in Biochemistry, Brasenose College

My research interests focus on the use of biophysical techniques to study host-pathogen interactions. The primary technique I use is called X-ray crystallography and was developed 100 years ago to look at the arrangement of atoms in 3-dimensional space. This process first involves persuading the molecules of choice - in our case proteins involved in bacterial pathogenesis - to form an ordered lattice termed a crystal. We then expose the crystal to high energy X-rays at a synchrotron facility such as the Diamond Light Source near Didcot. By monitoring the interaction of the X-rays with the sample we can calculate a 3D map of the electrons in the crystal. This then allows us to build a model of the protein by placing the component amino acids in the density, as shown in Figure 1 (it's rarely this easy).

smart_phone_poster.jpgBrasenose Engineering students won four of the eleven available prizes during the Department of Engineering Undergraduate Project Exhibition, held in mid-May. The exhibition, which features posters and hardware produced by 4th year students, was judged by alumni of the Department of Engineering Science, now working in industry. The judges were Richard Espiner (now at BP), Dr Jessica Leitch (now at Run3D), Dr Ankor Raithatha (now at GL Noble Denton) and Dr Claire Lucas (now at Jaguar Land Rover).

Dan Garrett won the Ibex Industrial Brushes Mechanical Engineering Award for his work on Origami Structures with Curved Crease, Francesca Golding won the Laing O'Rourke Best Civil and Construction Engineering Award for her research into Modelling the Dynamic Response of Ice Roads, David Hansford won the Sharp Prize for best Electronics Engineering Exhibit for a project on Visible Light Communications using Smart Phones and Elliott Hawkins won the Shell Award for Innovation for his work on Improving Surface Cooler Technology for Rolls-Royce Trent Engines.

wrik_and_alex.jpgBy Welfare Officers - Wrik Ghosh (Second Year Economics and Management) and Alex Sutton (Second Year English) - both pictured

Brasenose Welfare had another successful term, making sure people stayed happy through various activities and events.

As college welfare reps, we held weekly teas in the student Common Room (called the ‘JCR'), where lots of cake, tea and coffee was consumed. This included a special Finalists' Tea, looking out especially for the revision weary third and fourth years. This included a few library trips with big bags of food, for those students particularly bound to their work. The fruit bowl in the library that was kept healthily stocked ensured that vitamins and nutrients were not missed on the hard road to exams. The Junior Deans joined the welfare reps to host a tea too, strengthening relations throughout the college welfare system.

alt_prosp_front_cover.jpgA new Brasenose Alternative Prospectus, put together by current undergraduates, has been launched. The Prospectus has student profiles, and sections on accommodation, welfare, sport, clubs and societies, finance and arts week, all written by students.

Beth Rodden, the Brasenose Access and Admissions Rep, led the production of the Prospectus. She commented "I think it's really important to give an accurate picture of what Brasenose is actually like from the perspective of students so that potential applicants can see that we not only work hard, but have a huge range of activities to take part in around College and the University. While it was a daunting task at the beginning, it was really fun putting everything together and a huge number of people were really enthusiastic about college life and keen to provide ideas - hopefully this enthusiasm has come across and people can get an idea of why we love it so much!"

evans_arthur_mpp_133_f1.jpgAt Oxford University's Pitt Rivers Museum there is currently an exhibition presenting a selection of twenty-three pieces by the archaeologist Sir Arthur J. Evans (1851-1941). Evans was a Modern History student at Brasenose College from 1870 to 1874. Considered to be a pioneer of the study of the Bronze Age civilisations of Greece, he is probably best known for excavating the ancient site of Knossos in Crete. He was Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum from 1884 and became Honorary Keeper and Perpetual Visitor of the Ashmolean in 1908.

In the summer of 1873, whilst still a student at Brasenose, Evans travelled to Finnish Lapland with a school friend, Francis Maitland Balfour (who died as a young man attempting to scale Mont Blanc) and later in 1875 to Boznia-Herzegovina. It is these travels that are the subject of the exhibition at the Pitt Rivers Museum, curated by Philip Grover. Travels in Finland and Bosia-Herzegovina: An Ethnographic Collection of Sir Arthur Evans features drawings, sketches and photographs by Evans.

timpson_book.jpgDr Chris Timpson, Brasenose Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy, has published a new book with Oxford University Press. Quantum Information Theory and the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics is the first book to provide a philosophical study of quantum information theory, which is currently one of the hottest topics in science.

The book is an analysis by a philosopher of the meaning and implications of this new area of physics. Quantum information theory is a field at the intersection of quantum physics, communication theory and computer science: it has considerably increased our understanding of quantum mechanics, developed our conception of the nature of computation; and spurred impressive increases in our ability to manipulate and control individual quantum systems. Not only that, but the theory hints enticingly at ideas of rich philosophical promise. This book provides the first full-length philosophical treatment of quantum information theory and the questions it raises for our understanding of the quantum world.

ball_photo2.jpgOn Saturday 4th May was the Brasenose Ball: a garden of fire and ice. The 2011 Ball had to be held offsite due to the refurbishment which was taking place in the college, so it was wonderful to have it back, having the best possible backdrop for a fantastic evening! The Ball committee had worked tirelessly for a year towards this one night, especially in the final week running up to the ball. Saturday was a hectic day of last minute adjustments, but it all came together wonderfully and kicked off with a champagne reception at 6.30pm.

Those who were lucky enough to dine had a preview of the transformation which had taken place in college. Old Quad was the Ice Quad, covered by a white marquee with icicle lights, whilst the Fire Quad had more of a festival feel, with six three metre tall flags. Even the flowers planted in New Quad were fiery colours! Inside the dining hall the tables were set with fishbowls of floating candles and tall glass jars filled with blue lights. The effect was truly fantastic.

beating_of_the_bounds.jpgAscension Day, which fell on the 9th May this year, was once again marked at Brasenose College with two age-old traditions.

The Beating of the Bounds ceremony passed through Brasenose during the morning of Ascension Day. The custom, observed in a few parishes across England and Wales has probably been in existence for over a thousand years, and originated in the need for churches to walk round the boundaries of their parish. The boundaries of the parishes of the churches of St. Michael at the Northgate and St. Mary the Virgin (also known as the ‘University Church') pass through Brasenose College and on Ascension Day groups from both parish churches visit and mark the boundary stones located on certain walls of college buildings by marking them with the year in chalk and beating them with willow sticks! Brasenose students join in with this tradition with great gusto.

frostnixon.jpgThere are lies, there are damned lies, and then there was Watergate.

Following Nixon's resignation, David Frost, the British talk-show host and ambitious comedian, took it upon himself to wrangle a confession out of the elusive ex-president. It was to be a clash of titans. And the result was something expected by nobody...

Peter Morgan's Frost/Nixon explores this dark affair through a close study of both characters. Staged in the Oxford Union's debating chamber, the iconic venue visited by Nixon himself in 1978, the play is one steeped in tension and intrigue.

The play is directed by Brasenose students Josie Mitchell and James Fennemore (second year English students), and is showing on the Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th May (evening, with extra Matinée performances on Saturday and Sunday). The Brasenose Arts Fund has helped make the performances possible.



play_at_artsweek.jpgBrasenose has been host to a wide variety of concerts and Careers in the Arts events over the past five months. The choir continues full force, singing evensong in Winchester and Gloucester Cathedrals. Brasenose students continue to write, direct, produce and perform in the Oxford drama scene, a notable success being last term's A Theory of Justice: The Musical, in which two of the writers and two performers were Brasenose students.

In early May, the Brasenose Arts Week returned for the nineteenth year running and transformed college into a bustling hive of artistic activity. Two plays were staged within college during the week: Coward's Hayfever staged in the lush expanses of New Quad, and Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, set amidst the dark panels and portraits of Lecture Room XI. The week also featured a screening of a silent film with live piano, an art exhibition, a Zumba workshop and an evening of poetry from award winning poet Inua Ellams, and much more! The week offered students the chance to partake in and experience the arts on their very doorstep, and was a particular platform for a huge amount of fresher talent as yet unseen, both plays being directed and performed largely by first-years, to great success. 

Maria Fleischer - Arts Rep and Arts Festival Organiser (Second Year - English)

brasenose_10kteam.jpgOn Sunday 12 May, 40 Brasenose students and staff took to the streets of Oxford for the annual Town and Gown 10km Race for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

We were blessed with some fantastic sunshine and enjoyed the exhilarating route through the centre of Oxford, past college on the High Street, and University Parks, which is mercifully quite flat.

There were some fantastic individual performances: Alistair Graves (First Year, Engineering) finished 16th overall, with an incredible time of 34:57, and Holly Emms (Second Year, Medicine) came 11th in the Senior Ladies category with a time of 42:23. Biology tutor, Dr Owen Lewis,  placed 33st in the Veteran Men (44-49 years) category with 41:28, while in the Veteran Men (60+ year) Professor Peter Somogyi  (a Senior Kurti fellow) ranked 23rd and alumni Tony Hill 26th with 53:37. Steven Anderson (Brasenose staff member) also clocked a rapid time of 42 minutes and James Blythe was delighted to be the fastest JCR President.

turner_edwards.jpgBy Alice Newton-Fenner

Here's a challenge. At the end of today, write down everything that you ate or drank. Include that crisp was offered from a friend's packet, any oil you cooked with, any seasoning and spices. Everything that you bought and everything you already had in the cupboard - tally it up. How much did you spend? This term during second week 11 BNC students took part in the Live Below The Line Challenge, where we lived off £1 of food a day in order to raise money for UNICEF, Malaria No More, Positive Women and Oxfam. This budget included everything we ate and drank; everything I mentioned above all got factored in.

At the end of the first day it was clear that one of the biggest challenges that we were each facing was the near constant preoccupation with food. Cafes on the high street became that much more noticeable and tempting because we knew that they were forbidden, whereas on any other week the notion of popping in for a coffee wouldn't even cross our minds. Even when we did become distracted by work for a bit the hunger pains and embarrassingly loud stomach growls in the library brought us right back.

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