Principal's Blog: 6th December 2020

blogBowerscrop1End of term:
I was thinking of what adjectives I would use to describe our Fellows and staff this term. They would include “resilient, adaptable, resourceful, inventive and fantastic”. All have risen to the occasion and shown great spirit too. There have been difficulties of course, but I think the term has passed off better than many of us expected. The response by students to face-to-face teaching has been positive. The lateral flow testing at the end of term was set up with exemplary speed. Most adapted well to working from home and this has largely been the same from the time of Tier 2. Oxfordshire will go back into Tier 2.

Brasenose has not had a positive case since the 31st October. Let us hope that the Oxford vaccine (in the testing of which our own William James had a part) helps to bring some normality, but this is of course unlikely before Trinity Term. Such is the interest of the world in it that the news of the results apparently gained 22000 media mentions and 21 million social media impressions.

I am glad that we have been able to maintain some of our College events but much of the spontaneity of College life (such as meeting people in the quad or over lunch) has inevitably been limited, or absent altogether. We have not been able to celebrate together. I think we all value so much about Brasenose perhaps more than we realised.

As the term ends we say farewell and thanks to three who are demitting office and with each of whom it has been a pleasure to work: Owen Lewis as Tutor for Graduates, Elspeth Garman as Research Co Ordinator and Pierce Jones as JCR President (and I extend thanks to the whole of his Committee).

There is of course much work going on for Admissions and the work of many staff continue notwithstanding the end of term.

New imaging technique:
I am delighted to report that our new Kurti Junior Fellow James Grist has been involved at the Churchill in running a project with Professor Fergus Gleeson looking at a new imaging technique to understand damage to lungs post-COVID. Briefly put they can see damage in lungs that other techniques (such as CT scans) cannot pick up. This potentially explains why many people are breathless after having COVID. They will be able to try new treatments for patients with breathlessness, to see if we can help them on the road to recovery. 

On 1st December this made the BBC front page:

Interfaith event:
The Chaplain put on an excellent interfaith event on 30th November. Aisha Sadiq spoke of Eid, Aaron Barrie on Hanukkah and Andy Lee on Advent and we spoke about the similarities and differences in our religious faiths. Suzanne and I lit the Hanukkah candles at the end (albeit prematurely).

I am delighted to provide a link below to our final Music at Brasenose Concert for this term. This is a special Advent/Christmas edition with a variety of wonderful solo and collaborative offerings from members of the JCR, HCR, SCR, and Staff:

I mentioned last week the excellent Blurbs: the recording can be found here:

On 1st December I gave a talk on Accommodating Difference; Reasonable Accommodation in Human Rights Jurisprudence to the Bonavero Centre for Human Rights. If you really have nothing better to do the recording is on You Tube and Soundcloud at:

I wrote a piece in Prospect magazine on whistleblowing this month and was delighted to see that the very next article was by our alumna Antonia Romeo, Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Trade.

I am reading Boris Johnson; The Gambler by Tom Bower.

Whatever religion you follow or whether you follow no religion, I wish you a good break and a Happy New Year. Keep safe and well.

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Twitter for news from students and tutors, Schools Liaison and other interesting things