Academic Discussion at Malvern St James Girls’ School

Academic Discussion at Malvern St James Girls’ School

3 November 2020

Every term Malvern St James Girls’ School holds their Somerville Supper which is an opportunity for attendees to engage in academic discussion. This term due to COVID restrictions they were unable to hold a large supper together, but undeterred we decided to take our discussion online and have a virtual supper. The catering department provided each of attendee with a specially packed picnic so they could dine together but apart.

Dr Jones, Head of Library & Enrichment was joined by Dr Guy, Head of Chemistry and part of the Higher Education Team, along with early Year 13 applicants to discuss the question “What are the breakthroughs or advancements in your subject area of interest that will take humanity further?” The girls were challenged to present their selected ideas in order to persuade and engage the others.

During our supper the impact of Modernism and the printing press were presented stating that importantly they enabled new forms of representation and a break with the past. Economics was represented through an explanation of the carbon dividends solution to emissions in the USA. Engineering was heralded as providing the innovations required to keep humanity moving forward. This was matched by an explanation of CRISPR technology and the potential for change that it offers within medicine along with the development and use of organoids. The work of the International Criminal Court was highlighted as a means of bringing justice where crimes against humanity had been committed. The power of architecture to create spaces that enable human interaction and growth was raised along with the possible effects of de-globalisation and slowbalisation as the recent changes in our reality has caused people to re-evaluate what they really need.

At the end of the supper the girls were asked to think about their key take-away point:

“The discussion of medicine and the possibility of manipulating genes to avoid the inheritance of genetic disease was particularly interesting.”

“I now know about the impacts of modernist literature”

“I found both the aerospace engineering topic and law ICC topics really interesting”

It was an enlightening evening that definitely expanded our knowledge but more importantly highlighted how developments within different fields push humanity to grow.

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