• Headmistress
  • Sixth Form

The Somerville Academic Discussion encourages and invites eager pupils to engage in academic discussion. Year 13 Oxbridge along with early applicants dined together in school for the first discussion supper in the Autumn Term. 

Headmistress, Mrs Raraty and Dr Guy assisted the discussions which were led by Dr Jones. The first discussion subject was based around the quote from Nietzsche, "The future influences the present just as much as the past.” Pupils delved deep into different aspects of the topic as the conversation ranged widely amongst the young academics as time travel, the importance of the past, and whether it is your current situation that dictates your imagined future, kept pupils and teachers engrossed in these fantastic philosophical questions. 

In the second academic discussion, although the supper took place online, it did not limit pupils and staff from enjoying and exploring each other's points of view. This time, Year 12 shared their response to a more current quote spoken by Michelle Obama in which she said, "If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice.” Activists such as Malala and Greta Thunberg made their way into the discussion as the group considered the huge impact these two young women have had on the current generation, simply by using their voices to stand up for what they believe in. The limitation of only using your voice was also noted. From this, the discussion moved to protests and how some do move from being vocal to being more active. The suffragettes were introduced as an example of this point. 

The power of listening and speaking was also discussed which led to a deeper conversation about the role of medical experts as a voice of authority, as well as Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen's, and what her views are on the power of social media. The session produced some very fascinating topics which introduced a range of ideas and individuals that have shaped our perception all through the use of their voice.

The final topic which ended this Autumn Terms Sommerville Academic Discussion Supper, revolved around how to speak trust to power and whose stories we should amplify and share with others.