Intellects were exercised yesterday – and perhaps a few vocations found – as Insight Masterclasses came to Yarnton Manor. Students chose from a wide range of sessions for the afternoon workshop as specialists in four very different fields came to share their expertise with our summer schoolers.
In Zoolab, students were introduced to new friends from the rainforest floor, including Mildred the Giant African millipede, a scorpion, a Giant African snail, and a personable python whom we caught in the process of shedding her skin.
Forensic Outreach challenged students to solve a crime scene carefully constructed by an expert investigator. Students were instructed to pay close attention to detail, as they discovered how crimes could be solved from the minute evidence to be found in a footprint.
Students dissected the science of film-making in Hollywood and Film, considering structure and storytelling in a discussion that often bordered on the philosophical. Writer and producer Bruce Windwood facilitated the session in a constant state of inspiration, and student Tom demonstrated striking sensitivity in his analysis: “The crucial thing is getting the audience to form an emotional bond with the characters.”
In Creative Writing, poet Penny Boxall presented students with images in the style of the infamous Rorschach tests, encouraging them to use their personal perspectives to find their creative voice. Then, on reading the poem “Equator”, Jian from the Philippines was particularly perceptive on the poem’s themes of social hierarchy, explored through a curious tradition practised by seafarers of old – crew members would reverse roles on crossing the equator, the captain consigned to deck-swabbing duty and the ship’s boy promoted to the top job.
It is inspiring to see students pursuing their intellectual interests independently of lessons. Albert, who hopes to read Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, took advantage of a trip to Blackwell’s, Oxford’s academic bookshop, and bought himself some new reading material – he intends to pick up some talking points to try out on Stephen Hawking, a giant in the field and Director of Research in the Department of Applied Mathematics at Cambridge. George and Marius, two of our Physicists, have clearly formed a strong intellectual bond and are often to be seen contemplating the day’s learning together in the Long Gallery. In other news, House Dean Sarah led evening activities in clown garb to get students’ imaginations going ahead of the circus-themed mid-session party at the Randolph Hotel this evening!