Creativity, Anarchy, Debate and Apocalypse…a Typical Week at ORA | Oxford Royale Summer Schools

Students take part in a range of activities at ORA.

The last Great ORA Debate of Summer 2017 took place this week, with the notion “Scientific Research Must Always Have a Commercial Application” on everyone’s lips. Four students battled it out for the top spot once more; Andrew Asseily of Yarnton Manor and Gleb Ivanov of Queen’s College represented the “For” contingent, whilst Laura Jane Baxter of St Catherine’s College and Cong Minh Nguyen of Balliol the “Against” contingent.
The Debate took place within the grandiose surroundings of the Sheldonian Theatre, adjudicated by Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London; Professor Michael Duff; who gave a profound address on the subject at hand, basing his argument on the idea that many great medical discoveries had been the result of accident as much as endeavour. He ceded the floor to the four debating students, and the cut-and-thrust began in earnest, with Laura Jane Baxter of St Catherine’s sweeping the gold with her argument that all science stems from creative curiosity, which should be allowed to remain the case.

From triumph on the sports pitch to inspiration in the lecture theatre, students leave ORA with unprecedented confidence.

Elsewhere this week, there was much more contemplation of high-minded concepts. Students in St Catherine’s were treated to a talk from Diego Gilardoni, a geopolitical and geoeconomic analyst, who gave a thought-provoking address on the idea of global disorder, and whether or not we were leaving this “age of complexity” behind us. Students were sobered by his words.
The ORA Olympics returned again this week, with Balliol, University, Queen and St Catherine’s Colleges taking part in some weird and wacky races, triumphed over by Yarnton, who exited the arena in a shower of sweets.
Elsewhere, St Hugh’s students got their own hearts pumping with some very messy dissections in class. (Don’t worry, the actual hearts were from the butcher shop.) There was much round-eyed fascination with the atriums and ventricles splayed before them…and rather too much aorta-poking for the teachers liking.
Yarnton Manor students had a slightly less messy experience when they visited the Birthplace of the Bard, in Stratford Upon Avon, where they strolled the leafy lanes and took in the creamy timbered cottages of Shakespeare’s birthplace, all while further indulging in their competitive spirit with a few recitals in slightly less than perfect iambic pentameter.
Our youngest cohorts, the students in St Mary’s School, tried their hand at being adults for a day, as they took a trip into London to visit Kidzania. This haven for kids is a miniature city, where everything is pint-sized and perfect for students to run amok exploring possible future careers, lifestyles and getting up to mischief.
There has been so much magic and merriment across the colleges this week, with forays into Narnia and Diagon Alley, as well as the stately homes and humble cottages of times gone by, just perfect for fuelling students imaginations. How we will miss them when they leave us on Friday!
Summer 2017 is almost over, but it’s never too early to think about how to spend your time once the leaves start falling….

Images: ORA