The IF Humanities Summer School took place across June 2014, giving students a taster of a range of humanities subjects. Early evening lectures and discussions introduced undergraduate-level Literature and Classics (why read them?), History (what do historians do? How do interpretations of the past become relevant in the present), Visual Arts and Film Studies (what makes some paintings and films better than others? How do you 'read' a music video critically?) and Political Philosophy (the relationship between freedom and social justice).
View and download the full programme in pdf form here.
The theme of foundations encouraged students to discover how Humanities disciplines provide interpretative tools to get beneath the surface of everyday life: to discover the foundations of the familiar, from personal identity, to the laws that govern us, from global trends to our own opinions.
Lectures from academics such as Professor Rosemary Ashton (Emeritus Quain Professor of English Language and Literature) and Dr Sadia Qureshi (Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Birmingham) were interspersed with lively discussion groups led brilliantly by phd candidates. Taking part in a fairly intensive schedule of early evening classes the class of 2014 soon formed a camaraderie in being the IF pioneers:
By the end of the month students had taken in historical lectures at Gresham College, read and discussed large swathes of Homer's Odyssey, chewed over the art-historical significance of the first impressionist exhibition and debated questions as diverse as what does it mean to be free? and, do reparations work?
In the words of one of the students:
“We’ve asked a lot of questions in our lectures and seminars, about meaning and freedom. There’s two ways you can get a meaning out of the word free. You can have free as in price, and you can have free as in freedom. To be shown the possibility of a kind of learning that is not bound by economy, or stifled by targets, has been an incredibly enriching experience and I think, a very freeing one.”
We're looking forward to 2015...