rowing3By Molly Ludlam-Steinke – Women’s Captain-elect (and First Year Historian)

'Rowing is perhaps the most popular sport at Oxford, with around ten thousand spectators lining the banks of the Isis a couple of weeks ago to cheer frantically at the odd tradition which is Summer Eights.

Sword fighting 1Last month the Ashmole Society, Brasenose's history society, was treated to a fantastic demonstration of 18th and 19th century sword-fighting and pugilism (boxing and wrestling) from Milo Thurston and Simon Scott,

Amy and LouisThe next Open Days at Brasenose College will be 2nd and 3rd July, and 19th September 2014. The college will be open from 9am to 5pm, and there’s no need to book, just turn up if you are interested in applying to Oxford for undergraduate study.

Ale Verses 2014 - BeckyBy Henry Zeffman - JCR President and Second Year PPE student

On the evening of Tuesday 29th April, Brasenose came together to perform Ale Verses, one of College’s most peculiar traditions

BeatlesatBNCThis week marks 50 years since the Beatles visited Brasenose College. The Fab Four came to Brasenose on 5th March 1964 for a short time, at the climax of a fund-raising appeal by the charity Oxfam.

borneo_photo.jpgBy Alice James - Third Year Biologist

I was lucky enough to go on a field trip to Borneo in September this year. We spent two weeks in some amazing, pristine rainforest, doing all the normal Oxford things

alys1.jpgWildlife Encounters in Nova Scotia

By Alysa Hulbert (Biological Sciences 3rd Year)

As a Biological Sciences student in my final year at Oxford, I am required to undertake a research project. This can be in any area of biology providing I can find a supervisor willing to take me on. I've always had a soft spot for rodents so I was drawn to the work of Dr Christina Buesching, who has conducted research on small mammal behaviour in Oxford University's Wytham Woods, and so I sent her an email expressing my interest. To my surprise she replied that she now lives not in Oxford but in Nova Scotia, Canada, and that she would be happy to have me come over during the summer vacation to collect data in her forest research site! This explains how in mid-July, just in time to escape the London 2012 Olympics, I found myself in the beautiful forested hills and wild rocky shores of Atlantic Canada. Home for the next five weeks was a cosy wooden cottage from which it was possible to stroll down to the sea in no time at all, so I hardly cared at all that I didn't have a TV to watch the Opening Ceremony! As I arrived there was a snowshoe hare on the lawn and that first night we ran out at dusk to see a porcupine that had climbed into a sapling at the end of the garden. This set a precedent for the coming weeks of frequent exciting wildlife encounters; muskrat, beaver, white-tailed deer, raccoon, woodchuck, skunk, garter snake, snapping turtle, osprey and loon.


hoe_slavery_squares2.jpgDid abolition of the transatlantic slave trade damage enslaved women's health?

In 1807, the British parliament voted to abolish the transatlantic slave trade, following a long campaign led by William Wilberforce.

While most plantation owners opposed abolition, a few did not - including Joseph Foster Barham II, who owned Mesopotamia sugar estate in Jamaica.

Appalled by the suffering caused by the slave trade, Foster Barham (as MP for Stockbridge) voted with Wilberforce in the House of Commons for abolition and voluntarily ceased to purchase new African arrivals in 1792, 15 years before legal abolition. Mesopotamia's records are unusually detailed and record the ages, date of arrival, origin (whether African or born on the estate), health status, and work duties of 1,099 enslaved individuals on the estate between 1762 and 1832.  These manuscripts are preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

On Mesopotamia, withdrawal from the slave trade led to an increase in the number of women sent to work in the cane fields, work considered to be the most arduous and riskiest on a plantation. Survival analysis suggests there was an accompanying  deterioration in their survival chances: estimates suggest the risk of death was about 55% to 75%higher for women arriving on the estate after 1792 than before. To test whether exposure to fieldwork accounts for reduced survival prospects, the actual survival times of slaves (i.e. time to death) was compared with their counterfactual survival times had they never been exposed to fieldwork. The technique employed is intended to avoid problems caused by  the ‘healthy worker survival effect': the tendency for labourers to be withdrawn from a hazardous occupation as their health failed, and reallocated to lighter duties.

Estimates suggest that continuous exposure to fieldwork on a sugar estate, relative to never being exposed, reduced survival times by approximately 30%. Consequently, the dread slaves felt at being sent to the fields appears well placed, especially for women who were less likely to occupy supervisory roles in sugar cultivation and, therefore, enjoyed the least amount of protection.

robertailey.jpgBy Roberta Iley (Biological Sciences 3rd Year)

During summer 2011, I spent three months travelling and living abroad in South East Asia and Australia, learning as much about myself as I did about the ecosystems I went to study.

For the first month and a half of my travels I was living in a hut on a small remote island belonging to Sulawesi, Indonesia.  I was collecting data for my dissertation in Biological Sciences out on the coral reefs, something that involved snorkelling every day over some of the most beautiful reefs in the world - it's a tough degree!  My project was to look at coral rubble, i.e. fragments of coral rubble that accumulate from human and natural disturbances, and which are often washed up into patches.  Inside the crevices and on the large surface areas of these fragments settle a plethora of organisms and I spent hours bent over petri dishes in the lab squinting at beautiful, but tiny, crabs, worms and shrimp.  Perhaps the size of the organisms justifies the fact that they have been so poorly studied, but these coral rubble patches are an increasingly important habitat in the wake of such large human impacts on coral reefs and the potential of increasing intensities of storms with climate change.

I was working alongside a number of fantastic PhD students for this project and it was easy to regain a strict work ethic when you did not have the standard distractions of TV and readily available internet.  This was really my first taste of living a much more ‘primitive' life without the home comforts that I am all too used to. There was no running water on the island with obvious implications for the bathroom arrangements and when the generator shut down at night, the place was plunged into a darkness that I had never really experienced before.  This meant that we went to bed much earlier after the (stunning, holiday brochure-worthy) sunsets and correspondingly rose at the crack of dawn - a time not often seen in the life of an undergraduate student!

jonathan_newell.jpgBrasenose is pleased to announce the appointment of Jonathan Newell as the College's first Director of Music.  The post is designed to build on the work Nick Prozzillo has done as Graduate Director of Music, giving the college the benefit of an experienced musician supervising not only the choir and chapel music, but also our concerts (professional and amateur) and our wider musical life.

Jonathan is a vastly experienced organist and choral trainer.  A graduate of Durham University, where he was the Organ Scholar of University College, he holds diplomas in organ playing and choir training from the Royal College of Organists, London and Trinity College, London. He also holds an M.A. in Choral Education from the University of Surrey.  As well as experience in the UK, Jonathan has worked abroad - in Norway, running the music in five churches; in Cairo, he was Director of Music at the British International School; in Vienna, he even founded a chamber choir which performed at the Sturm-Graz F.C. Christmas party.  Since 2009, he has been the Chief Examiner for the International Baccalaureate Diploma in music. 

A memorial service was held for Sir John Owen in Coventry Cathedral on Thursday March 24 at 3pm. The service was open to any Brasenose alumni that wanted to attend.


mike_taylor.jpgThe college was deeply saddened by the sudden death this term of Michael Taylor, our Head Porter.  Mike had been with us since 1992, and became a much-loved (even iconic) figure in college life.  He was generally the first person visitors and freshers met; and upheld the dignity of his position without ever losing his sense of humour at the occasional absurdities of lodge life.  He is survived by his wife Pat, daughter Juli, son Joe and granddaughter Annabel.

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