Following a successful three-year run, University College, Magdalen College, and the Faculties of History and Modern Languages here at the University of Oxford are delighted to announce that the virtual BAME Humanities Study Day will return for 2023 on Tuesday 4th April!
This event offers UK state school students with Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) heritage an exciting opportunity to engage with academic taster sessions from across the Humanities subjects, and also to access insight into Oxford student life and support with the admissions process.
Last year, students chose to attend academic taster lectures on fascinating topics such as:
There is no such thing as the perfect body… and other lessons we can learn from the ancient Greeks (Classics)
Sixteenth-century French Women’s Writing: Challenging Gender Expectations in selected works of the Dames des Roches (Medieval & Modern Languages)
Popular Music: History and Interpretation (Music)
The Shock of the Nude: Art, Science, and the Racial Imaginary in Modern China (Art History)
The Grandfather of Islam in Buganda (History)
Medieval English and Arabic Religious Literature (English)
It was a fantastic insight into what university lectures will be like, and seeing so many passionate students pushed me to work harder to get in.
– 2021 Participant
This year, the day will open with an introduction to the University of Oxford followed by the opportunity to attend two humanities subject lectures. You will learn more about the Oxford application process with additional resources provided to help. The day will conclude with a live Q&A where you will have the opportunity to ask your questions to current Oxford students from BAME backgrounds.
For the academic lectures , you will be able to choose from the following subjects: Classics, English, History, History of Art, Modern Languages, Music, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Music, Philosophy or Theology. You will be able to specify your preferred lectures on the application form. All lectures will be recorded and available to watch after the event. If you are unable to attend live on the 4th April but would like access to the recordings and resources, then please still submit an application via the form below.
Currently in Year 12 (or equivalent)
Identifying as having Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic (BAME) Heritage
Attending a UK state school (unless you have extenuating circumstances or meet several of the priority criteria listed below)
If spaces are limited, priority will be given to students who meet one or more of the following: first generation in your family to attend university, have experience of being in care, are a young carer, are eligible for Free School Meals/Pupil Premium, are from an area of deprivation or area with a low rate of progression to university.
Applications will close at 23:59 on February 26th 2023. We cannot guarantee every applicant a place but are aiming to accommodate a large number of students. You will find out if your application was successful by 10th March.
If you have any questions about this form please email one of the organisers, Nuala, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following a successful two-year run, University College, Magdalen College and the Faculties of History and Modern Languages are delighted to announce that the virtual BAME Humanities Study Day will return on Tuesday 12th April 2022!
This event offers UK state school students with Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) heritage an exciting opportunity to engage with academic taster sessions from across the Humanities subjects, and also to access support with the Oxford admissions process.
Last year, students chose to attend two academic taster lectures on fascinating topics such as:
Is a robot a human? Ancient dreams of a technological future (Classics)
Representing the First World War (History)
Sixteenth-century French Women’s Writing: Challenging Gender Expectations in selected works of the Dames des Roches (Medieval & Modern Languages)
Islam and Politics in the Middle East (Oriental Studies)
Decolonise Art History? (Art History)
Medieval English and Arabic Devotional Texts (English)
These talks offer students the opportunity to engage with topics which lie outside of their school curriculum and introduce them to studying subjects they love at university level. Like last year, these taster sessions will be supplemented by interactive admissions workshop delivered by outreach colleagues from across the collegiate university with assistance from our fantastic student ambassadors.
There will also be an opportunity for participants to ask lecturers and current students questions about studying the courses they are interested in. Last year, this opportunity to engage with academics of BAME heritage was a highlight for several of the participants with one commenting that their favourite part of the event was:
“Seeing people of colour in academia! All the professors were such wonderful people and so down to earth and their talks were so engaging.”
Another participant commented:
“Originally, I wasn’t sure about applying to Oxford at all, but this study day gave me more confidence in my ability and made my voice feel more important and valued, something which often does not happen at school.”
If you are interested in attending this year’s BAME Humanities Study Day, you can apply here until 20th February when applications close. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity!
Thank you to the Faculty of History for the information about last year’s BAME Humanities Study Day. The full event report is available here.
Earlier this month, The Oxford Reseach Centre in the Humanities(TORCH) hosted an event which shone a spotlight on why the humanities are valued in the world of work. Entitled ‘Humanities at Work: a panel discussion on why employers value humanities degrees’, the event took the form of a discussion between three professionals who studied humanities subjects and have gone on to successful careers in business and finance. Here we cover some of the highlights of the discussion.
The discussion was chaired by Philip Bullock, Professor of Russian Literature and Music, and Director of TORCH. The three panelists were:
Jiaxi Liu, from the investment business Baillie Gifford. Dr Jiaxi Liu trained as a classical pianist and has a PhD in music cognition. She has been working as an investment analyst for three years.
Adam Lisle, from the supermarket Lidl. Adam Lisle is a senior HR professional, who works at Lidl GB as Head of Recruitment and Employer Brand. He has worked for Lidl for 14 years, including 17 months in Germany, where he gained valuable language skills. He studied European Business Management at university.
Micah Coston, Perrett Laver. Dr Micah Coston is a Senior Research Associate at Perrett Laver, a company which identifies and engages global candidates for leadership roles in Higher Education. His undergraduate degree was in Music and he has an MA in Performance Studies and another in Shakespeare Studies, as well as D. Phil. in English Literature.
Does choosing a degree subject limit you?
Mr Lisle said that he remembers agonising over which subject to study, and even doubting his choice during the degree itself. But employers look across a wide range of degrees and are interested in what you learn during the experience of gaining a degree and how you translate that to a professional context, rather than necessarily focussing on the subject itself. Dr Liu emphasised the role of critical thinking, literacy, and the ability to construct an argument – all skills acquired in a humanities degree. Dr Coston added that you are only limited by yourself so it is important to know your own skill set and follow your strengths, regardless of degree choice.
How do we differentiate between the subject studied and the skills acquired during a degree?
Dr Liu and Mr Lisle agreed that humanities students have a different way of approaching a problem, and that this is useful in the workplace, where sometimes a variety of viewpoints are needed in order to solve problems collaboratively. Dr Coston felt we should not necessarily be putting the emphasis on vocation when we think about degree choice. In other words, we should not only think of a degree as a route to a job but also value it for what we learn in terms of personal development: learning how to think, feel, and grow.
Is there anything a humanities degree does not equip us with? Where are the gaps between what we learn at degree level and the world of work?
The panelists made the point that adapting to the world of work is hard. It takes time to understand how to apply what you’ve learned to a professional context. The work is never really complete in that each report you produce, for example, will be a prompt for future discussion in a constant process of development and learning. We have to recognise that, even when in a job, we are engaged in a workin progress, always building. Deadlines are important, as is being able to deliver something well, but we also need to undertand that everything we produce serves as inspiration for the next step.
What advice should we give to humanities graduates when preparing for a job?
Research the company and make sure it’s a good fit for you and that you share the company’s values. Understand what you’re getting into before applying and try to find out what the company doesn’t know about itself. Think about your own goals: if you are approaching an employer to explore your options e.g. at a careers fair, the conversation will be smoother if you know what you want and can help steer the discussion. It’s also worth recognising that if a challenge seems insurmountable during the application process, it might simply not be the right job for you. When you’re looking for jobs try to talk to people as much as possible because online applications can be demoralising if you do lots of them. It’s important to meet the people behind the company and talk to them – this is where humanities students have an advantage.
What are the key employability skills humanities graduates have? Are there any they don’t have?
Communication is a key pillar of any big, varied company. Humanities students who know how to communicate clearly and precisely will be valued. Teamwork and leadership are also important: the humanities teach us to think independently, so that we learn to define and own a project. The danger, however, is that we may become too attached to a project and reluctant to let it go. Businesses sometimes require us to let go and move on to the next project.
Do employers value freelance experience?
It’s important to have some experience of applying skills to a practical context so it may be worth doing an internship or a bit of freelancing, or even a micro-internship, so that you start to adjust your perspective early on. But don’t neglect your degree! Focus on developing you as yourself, rather than trying to fit a particular company while you’re still studying.
How will technology change the skills employers are looking for?
We have to work with technology and make it work for us, not vice versa. Technology is not a replacement but a collaborator. We will need new skills to deal with technology, and technology cannot replace creativity, which humanities students have in abundance.
What should humanities students do now to prepare for the job market?
Explore what’s on offer in terms of jobs and figure out what drives you. Above all, enjoy your degree and make the most of it!
Thanks to all the speakers, TORCH, and St Cross College who hosted the event.If you’re thinking of applying to Oxford, you might like to know that we have a brilliant Careers Service, staffed by a team with lots of expert knowledge, advice and experience. As well as offering a comprehensive skill-building programme they offer hundreds of internships in over 40 countries and advertise thousands of job opportunities on their own CareersConnect website. This is open not just to current students, but to alumni throughout their life.
Modern Languages at university form part of a family of subjects, along with history, English, philosophy and several others, known as the Humanities. This week’s Good Reason to study modern languages is because it’s a humanities subject, and because all the humanities are important. (You can find the other reasons by clicking the ‘100 Reasons’ tag at the bottom of this post.) The American writer and academic, Francine Prose, makes an eloquent case for studying the humanities in a recent article, and suggests why these subjects might be more important than ever in today’s world. Here’s an extract:
Those of us who teach and study are aware of what these areas of learning provide: the ability to think critically and independently; to tolerate ambiguity; to see both sides of an issue; to look beneath the surface of what we are being told; to appreciate the ways in which language can help us understand one another more clearly and profoundly – or, alternately, how language can conceal and misrepresent. They help us learn how to think, and they equip us to live in – to sustain – a democracy.
Studying the classics and philosophy teaches students where we come from, and how our modes of reasoning have evolved over time. Learning foreign languages, and about other cultures, enables students to understand how other societies resemble or differ from our own. Is it entirely paranoid to wonder if these subjects are under attack because they enable students to think in ways that are more complex than the reductive simplifications so congenial to our current political and corporate discourse?
I don’t believe that the humanities can make you a decent person. We know that Hitler was an ardent Wagner fan and had a lively interest in architecture. But literature, art and music can focus and expand our sense of what humans can accomplish and create. The humanities teach us about those who have gone before us; a foreign language brings us closer to those with whom we share the planet. The humanities can touch those aspects of consciousness that we call intellect and heart – organs seemingly lacking among lawmakers whose views on health care suggest not only zero compassion but a poor understanding of human experience, with its crises and setbacks.
Courses in the humanities are as formative and beneficial as the classes that will replace them. Instead of Shakespeare or French, there will be (perhaps there already are) college classes in how to trim corporate spending – courses that instruct us to eliminate “frivolous” programs of study that might actually teach students to think.
A blog for students and teachers of Years 11 to 13, and anyone else with an interest in Modern Foreign Languages and Cultures, written by the staff and students of Oxford University. Updated every Wednesday!
Data Protection: Like most websites, this site collects some user data in order to function properly.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.