The second annual Humanities Week was another great success. In the week of Holocaust Memorial Day, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and Britain’s exit from the European Union, the theme of prejudice and discrimination was very apt in encouraging pupils to reflect on important issues that must be addressed in order to enable the harmonious progress of our society. Here, Head of English, Emily Gwynne, reflects on the week’s activities:
“In English, Fifth Form pupils engaged in thought-provoking discussions on the language of prejudice, understanding why certain words have particular connotations and how we speak and write about prejudice and discrimination in an inclusive and respectful manner.
“The Fifth Form were also treated to a visit from three alumni of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, in which the actors reproduced key scenes from the GCSE set text The Merchant of Venice, including Shylock’s infamous “hath not a Jew eyes” speech, which encouraged pupils to consider how the audience view the anti-Semitism that is levelled at Shylock in play. The English Department also organised a screening of To Kill a Mockingbird, a seminal text in the fight against racial prejudice.
“Other departments across the College also took part, with events including the Geography Department’s Pride and Prejudice speech competition, the Classics Department’s Lower Fourth Form Talk: ‘Everyday Life and Discrimination in Ancient Rome’ by Ben Kane, and the Senior School History Society Discussion on ‘The History of Persecution’.”
Head of Religious Studies, George Greenbury, said: “Overall, the week was very successful. Primarily, it helped pupils and students better understand the horrors of the Holocaust and its causes. In our polarised world, the week demonstrated how the prejudice and discrimination that can lead to genocide is not an artefact of the past, but very much a living and breathing beast that must be constantly fought.”