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North West Theology & Religious Studies Centre Summer School 2016

From Sunday 31st July – Friday 5th August 2016, Pembroke College, Oxford, welcomed twenty-two students from six schools and colleges across the North West to the 3rd annual Theology & Religious Studies Centre Summer School.

Students travelled to Oxford from Ashton Sixth Form College, Tameside; Cardinal Newman College, Preston; Sir John Talbot’s Sixth Form, Whitchurch; Brine Leas Sixth Form, Nantwich; South Cheshire College, Crewe; Aquinas College, Stockport; and Xaverian College, Manchester for “a week in the life of an Oxford undergraduate.”

Students experienced higher-level study, through fascinating lectures about Islam, and the ‘Ordered Universe’ research project on the work of Bishop Grosseteste, and through an interactive workshop that examined the value of translation to theological study. Students also became more familiar with the city of Oxford as they visited cafes; watched Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Oxford Castle; and had the opportunity to go punting!

On the penultimate evening, all students attended the Joseph Owen Formal Dinner, named for a Fellow of Pembroke College who hailed from Oldham, and had received his education through one of Oxford’s original university extension programmes.

Around all of these activities, students spent much of their time researching and writing an original response to a question set by their postgraduate tutors. At the end of the week, they defended their essay in a tutorial. Topics varied from the philosophical to the theological, with one group considering feminist readings of the Gospel of Luke. Students had freedom about how to arrange their study time and where to work, with opportunities to study within college or to make use of the wider Oxford libraries, including the Bodleian.

I found the summer school to be the perfect level of challenging. I enjoyed the freedom we got with our research task and the question I was set was very interesting and something I wasn’t familiar with.”

We wish all of the students who attended good luck with their exams and university applications over the coming year, and every success as they look forward to university!