Oxford Dinner for UK-based Ramsay Scholars

Dec 2, 2022 | Announcements, News & Media, PG News

02 December 2022: Our UK-based Ramsay Scholars were recently hosted by the Canterbury Institute at the University of Oxford on the special occasion of the Ramsay Centre Academic Director’s visit to the UK.

Centre Academic Director Professor Diana Glenn was in the UK visiting the 2021 and 2022 Ramsay Postgraduate Scholars to discuss their academic work and tour their study environments.

The dinner provided the opportunity for scholars from both cohorts to catch up with one another and with Professor Glenn, to share their experiences, and to explore Oxford.

The Canterbury Institute organised the special dinner at Vincent’s Club, Oxford’s oldest and perhaps most storied sporting club.

The Institute is an independent centre for research and learning based at Oxford, which ‘…aims at rediscovery of the academic vocation through truth and humility’. The Institute regularly hosts events including academic paper presentations and music nights.

2022 Postgraduate Scholar Isabelle Napier expressed gratitude to the Ramsay Centre and to the Canterbury Institute for their hospitality.

She said the dinner provided Ramsay Scholars with ‘the opportunity to come together, to gather up the challenges and joys afforded by academic pursuit far from the familiarity of home, and to reflect on all that the adventures past and present, near and far, can help us to understand ourselves.’

In a more detailed reflection on the gathering Isabelle said:

“UK-based Ramsay scholars were treated to an evening rich with intellectual and friendly discussion, good cheer, and hearty fare on the special occasion of Professor Diana Glenn’s visit to the University of Oxford. We were warmly welcomed to Vincent’s Club, Oxford’s oldest and perhaps most storied sporting club, by Canterbury Institute Director Dr Dominic Burbidge and colleagues William Bunce, Lola Salem, and James Hooks. We delighted in the opportunity to get to know the accomplishments and interests of the Canterbury Institute team in a venue that was once a collegial home to members including Sir Roger Bannister and the Duke of Windsor, with memories of past visitors including the Beatles documented in photographs hanging behind the bar.

The sounds of laughter and discussion filled the dining room. For all scholars present, the evening at Vincent’s Club offered an opportunity to reunite with scholars in our own annual cohort, as well as an opportunity to meet new or previous scholars we had not yet encountered in the early weeks of the academic year. We discussed our research projects, things we missed about Australia, what we loved about our new academic homes, and our hopes for the remainder of the academic year. Seated beside Henry and Aden, I enjoyed a long conversation about the impacts of increasing pluralism in Western society and about the value of internationalist experiences of diversity in providing critical new perspectives that permanently change one’s own relationship to one’s home. We spoke about, for example, the immense influence that British suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst’s journey to the U.S. Jim Crow South had on her views on race relations in the British Empire, and the travels of Australian feminist Jessie Street in Europe and Asia which cemented her own interest in securing rights for indigenous Australian human rights on the international stage.

As we finished our dessert, James Hooks opened his talk on the intellectual thought of 17th-century French philosopher Pierre Bayle with an observation that seemed effortlessly to pick up on the conversation in my corner of the table. We travel abroad, James observed, to learn much about the world, but perhaps more profoundly, to learn about ourselves. James then took us on a journey through time, rather than space, offering reflections on the contemporary relevance of Bayle’s historical views on tolerance, which were borne of religious persecution as a Huguenot. Lively discussion proved James correct in his restatement of C. S. Lewis’s views on the critical importance of history. “We need intimate knowledge of the past,” Lewis wrote in an essay entitled “Learning in War-Time”: “Not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present, to remind us that the basic assumptions have been quite different in different periods and that much which seems certain to the uneducated is merely temporary fashion.”

For more information on our Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarships visit www.ramsaycentre.org/scholarships-courses/postgraduate-scholarships/

Media contact: Sarah Switzer 0407 816 098 / sarah.switzer@ramsaycentre.org

For more information on the Centre please visit our website: www.ramsaycentre.org