Blogs

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Beyond the 'wow' factor: why we should all study science

Occasionally I am asked what made me choose to study the physical sciences. I think the questioner is usually hoping that I will cite a significant person or event: an insp Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: June beckons

Well, the Summer School is in sight! June beckons,and we may well have a sunny 'Bank Holiday' weekend in the UK. Please note: this is the last week for online enrolments f Read more

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Director's post: Madingley Model

At the start of April we had a Madingley Lecture given by Professor Stephen Emmott entitled If Donald Rumsfeld were a Scientist, which picked up on the now well-known (and Read more

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An invitation and re-invitation to sociology

Just before I was born, Peter Berger in his Invitation to Sociology lamented that, ‘There are very few jokes about sociologists. This is annoying… but it may also be instru Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: Clocks, eagles and networks

What happened to January and most of February? The time has flown. The steady ticking of the clock over the weeks between now and April mark ‘a time of making’ for Internat Read more

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Iron Age tax haven or gift to the gods? The strange world of archaeological interpretation

On one of my recent visits to the Channel Island of Jersey, where I conduct some of my fieldwork on the heritage of the German Occupation of the Second World War, I was given Read more

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Alice in Wordland

I recently watched Jan Švankmajer’s Alice (1988), an adaptation which mixes stop-motion animation with a live actor’s realisation of Lewis Carroll’s character Alice, in the Read more

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A seasonal scientific miscellany

The Twelve Days of Christmas are a bridge between the twelve months of the preceding and of the following years. The count of twelve is widespread in our lives: twice twelv Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: Year's end and new beginnings

Looking at the spread of images for our 2013 photo competition, leafing again through the celebratory handbook, and gazing with fond memories at the images from the Summer Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: 2014!

Earlier this month I had a brief visit to conference 4684 miles away in Denver, USA, where I gave a presentation about the University of Cambridge International Summer Scho Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: on balance

I’ve had a few days of leave, when plans unexpected changed, and I found myself shaking the dust off my palette, and returning to the peculiarly evocative smells of turpent Read more

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MOOCs, SOCCs and kisses

I’ve recently finished teaching a five week course on the creative and critical afterlife of Wuthering Heights. We looked at various responses to Emily Brontë’s novel, from Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: ready! Pack light...

Summer Schools in the making: ready! Pack light… It’s a measure of just how busy we have been that my last blog posting was far too long ago. The Summer Schools begin tomo Read more

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What’s the buzz?

Over the last few weeks the British countryside and particularly the gardens, woods and fields around Madingley have really come to life. From where I am sitting in my offi Read more

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Teaching the unteachable

‘But can you really teach people how to write?’ It’s a line I’ve heard so many times, yet it’s still surprising. When someone wants to become a painter or a sculptor, they Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: 2012 Summer Schools photo competition results

Just when we think long, cold, dark January days in Cambridge will never end, the month is over and February is upon us and nearly halfway through! As the hours of daylight Read more

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What do scientists actually do?

One of the advantages of being a tropical biologist is that you have a legitimate excuse to escape the soggy shores of England for a few weeks over the winter. There’s some Read more

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Director’s post: 2013 anniversaries

2013 is a year of anniversaries for us. I wonder what the collective noun is for anniversaries … an album of anniversaries or, perhaps, a party of anniversaries … 2013 is t Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: the eve of the New Year

A swift last blog as the calendar year draws to a close… Our online booking system stays live throughout the holiday closures, of course, and people can still send in hard Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: Great expectations

Cambridge has been all a-buzz and anticipation this week with the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka William and Kate). When royalty and University ceremony co Read more

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Education and social justice

‘There is’, as Cornford would have it, ‘only one argument for doing something; the rest are arguments for doing nothing. The argument for doing something is that it is the Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: endings, beginnings and letting off steam

I have not yet read Julian Barnes’ The sense of an ending, but my friend and former colleague Adrian Barlow has mentioned in his blog and I need to do so. There have been sever Read more

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Death in the Festival City

I have just spent a week with my family at the Edinburgh Festival. The city was absolutely buzzing with creativity, festival-goers and tourists buying kilts and fake bagpip Read more

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Launching the Summer Schools

The British are known for their obsession with the weather, but it’s entirely understandable with such unpredictable weather, and the only thing we can guarantee during the Read more

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Supping with the Devil

Madingley Hall is not somewhere one would expect to meet the Devil. The Hall is just too beautiful and people who work or visit here, by and large, seem far too reasonabl Read more

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Director’s post: Madingley and the full Monty!

Last week, on the day of the University’s Honorary Degree Ceremony, we were lucky enough to have Professor William Brown, the University’s Montague Burton Professor of Read more

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The art of survival

Last month I was in the Channel Island of Jersey for the opening of my museum exhibition, Occupied Behind Barbed Wire. During the German occupation of the Channel Islands, Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: 'everything, everywhere, ever'

Apologies to the loyal readers who’ve commented upon my long silence since the last Summer Schools blog. There are several reasons for this.  The most pathetic is that my a Read more

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Sweet materials

Marshmallows and liquorice allsorts. Tuck shop merchandise perhaps – but these can also be used to illustrate fundamental concepts in materials science (of which more below). Read more

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Pardon for Turing does not compute?

One focus within the philosophy of language is the study of speech acts. These are things someone does by uttering certain words in a certain context – apologising, forgivi Read more

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Wordfest and the dangerous book for girls

After his bold beginning, Ed hands me the blogging baton and I can begin the second leg (a hard position to run, a sprinter friend tells me). In town, the Cambridge Sp Read more

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Time to get volunteering!

This Saturday, wrapped up in a blanket and a scarf, I sat in our chilly conservatory for an hour and saw two blackbirds, a starling, a collared dove and a jackdaw in the ga Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: temperatures and time travel

The benefit of living west of Madingley Hall (the home of our main office) is that I see sunrises on winter mornings driving into work and sunsets on the way home... as lon Read more

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Director's post: happy new year, again!

My last blog wished you a happy new (academic) year; now I wish you a very happy new (calendar) year! Joining our academic members of staff who started last term (Jenny Ba Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: lists and resolutions

New Year – a time of celebration, of new beginnings, fresh starts, plans and resolutions. Along with the celebrating (and no, alas, I did not go to see any of the firework Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: brochures and participants

Since the brochure arrived the week before last, we have been busy. (That said, it’s seldom quiet in our offices for long.) Bulk copies are on the way to those many universities wi Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: back in the swim of things

The sun is rising on a new tide, and the ‘Summer Schools in the Making’ blog returns after too long a break. Sorry for the long silence, but all creativity has been channel Read more

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Director's post: happy new year!

A new academic year has started and I would like to welcome all of those studying with us this year. We have several new academic members of staff: Jenny Bavidge is our new Read more

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World and time: the sense of an ending

Adrian Barlow has now retired from the Institute of Continuing Education. You can follow his new blog at http://adrianbarlowsblog.blogspot.com/The Sense of an Ending was originally Read more

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World and time: at Madingley

At Madingley  it’s been a vintage weekend: the Hall has been at capacity and seven residential courses have been in full flow: courses on Marx and Engel Read more

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World and time: Newman and now

On Wednesday evening, to the Senate House to hear Professor Stefan Collini lecture on ‘The idea of the University: Newman and now’. John Henry Newman has been much on my mind Read more

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World and time: ‘Our speaker tonight’

The academic term may be over; the lecture season certainly is not. Last week I gave a lecture to the Downham Market Lecture Society (founded in the 1920s and still going Read more

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Director's post: June and July Journeys

It is a while since I have blogged and that particular guilt trip must now come to an end. It is a reflection I hope not of laziness but of the pace of things here at Madingl Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: ready to roll (and rock!)

It’s a beautiful day outside: the window is open, the temperature perfect, and it’s quiet in the office – but only because it is a Saturday. The countdown to summer has beg Read more

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'What is the use of Literature?'

A colleague of mine, a geographer, was dining on High Table recently. ‘So tell me,’ said her neighbour, ‘What use are geographers to mankind?’ All along the table, eyes and e Read more

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World and time: The Barbed-Wire University

I’m going to discuss a new book about prisoners of war, The Barbed-Wire University, published this week. I must at once declare an interest: Midge Gillies, the author, is a Read more

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World and time: the line of beauty

I’m embarrassed to admit I have only recently discovered that William Hogarth coined the phrase ‘the line of beauty’. Nor had I understood its significance. For Hogarth the Read more

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World and time: discovering Ivor Gurney

Ivor Gurney is one of those remarkable voices from the First World War who was both poet and …. Isaac Rosenberg, for instance, was both poet and artist; so was David Jones. Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: news from the front

A return to the quill after a long silence. Welcome! ..to all who have signed up for the Summer Schools since my last blog posting. To anyone who is considering applying: s Read more

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World and time: Pope’s visit to Madingley

My history teacher at school was Derek Pitt, known to generations of Old Johnians as Horsey Pitt. He was a very good historian, and his teaching method, up to O level, cons Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: Spring!

Spring is most definitely here: we have had some glorious sunshine in Cambridge, and it feels almost like summer. The light evenings are lengthening and (for those who have Read more

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World and time: John Hencher

An old colleague emails to tell me a mutual friend has died. I’d known he had been ill, and anyway we had not seen each other for over thirteen years; even so, the news is Read more

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World and time: lit. crit.

I was much taken by a piece in this weekend’s Guardian Review. Stefan Collini was reviewing a new book, The Good of the Novel, edited by Liam McIlvanney and Ray Ryan and pu Read more

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Director's post: March madness

March started, as it always does, with St David’s Day. Given my Welsh parentage, I notice St David’s Day while I would struggle to say with confidence when, for example, St Read more

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World and time: Ursula Stewkeley

I admit, I’ve been thinking too much recently about Ursula Stewkeley. I only came across her, by chance, last weekend, but I can’t get her out of my mind. We’d been cleari Read more

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World and time: the Lambeth tortoise

To London, for an evening Reception at Lambeth Palace. I join a more or less orderly queue and shake hands with the Archbishop of Canterbury himself as I enter the strangel Read more

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World and time: Madingley in time of (Civil) War

I have much enjoyed reading recent reviews of John Stubbs’ excellent - by all accounts - new book. I have a book token left over from Christmas and, despite my ongoing stru Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: Frommer, and our own correspondent

Well, having been a bit slow in posting the ‘Stars and Snowdrops’ blog, I’ve had material positively queuing up to be in this next blog… lots to tell. So, I’m back again al Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: stars and snowdrops

Very late winter, just before the wretched daffodils (sorry, a personal and very unusual dislike, I know), is one of my favourite times of year. The trees show their 'inner Read more

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World and time: going cuckoo in spring

March 1st, according to the Met. Office, is the first day of spring. It doesn’t feel like it this year: though it’s St David’s Day, there are few daffodils out as yet. Sur Read more

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Director's post: physical to moral sciences

The Cambridge Science Festival, 14-27 March, is not far off and we’re looking forward to the inclusion within the Festival of our third Madingley Lecture. Dr Hugh Hunt will Read more

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World and time: coastline

I’m downsizing my library, drastically. Half my books must go. I sit in my shed, surrounded by boxes I have already filled, and let my eyes scan across the shelves, left to Read more

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World and time: Fitzbillies, farewell

Fitzbillies, the Cambridge cake shop and café on the corner of Trumpington Street and Pembroke Street, is no more. After ninety years of trading, it has shut its disti Read more

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World and Time: To Sycamores

We had been making heavy weather of Robert Herrick’s poem ‘To Sycamores’. The consensus among the class was that they did not much like it, but they weren’t sure how to exp Read more

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World and time: a Bedfordshire funeral

Bedfordshire is what John Betjeman would have called an ‘unregarded county’. ‘Unregarded’ was his term for places that deserved to be taken more seriously. It’s been going on Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: progress!

At last, progress! The brochures, now sporting a pale, caramel-coloured insert with the missing payment details information, have finally found their way to the mailing hou Read more

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World and time: on Q

Once upon a time (but not today) anyone glancing at my title, ‘On Q’, might well have said, ‘Aha, you’re blogging about Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch!’ Indeed I am. ‘Q’ was both Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: tributes and tribulations

The New Year has had a very difficult start for many, it seems. Our hearts go out to those Australian friends fighting the ravages of floods. Closer to home has been trag Read more

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World and time: life in the cosmos

It would have been hard to imagine a more auspicious start to the Madingley Lectures: on Monday evening, the Vice-Chancellor introduced the lecturer as ‘the greatest scient Read more

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World and time: the Black Prince and Madingley

I spent New Year’s Day 2010 admiring the architecture of Ely Cathedral (World and time: Postumus, alas, where is thy head?). I spent New Year’s Eve  gazing at the b Read more

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World and time: Mr Elton and Mr Kilvert

Chapter 15 of Jane Austen’s Emma contains the famous Christmas Eve party where all the local families of Highbury (aka Dorking c. 1815) gather at Randalls, the home of Mr and M Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: season's greetings!

We’ll not leave the last Summer School blog of the year to be a ‘grrrr-oan’: despite the frustrations of the printing debacle, you wonderful people are finding other ways t Read more

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World and time: Käthe Kollwitz in Berlin

No one better represents the moral conscience of Germany in the twentieth century than Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945). Last week, on what I thought would be the last mornin Read more

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Director's post: years and years

As the festive season approaches rather too rapidly for those of us who have not finished, or in fact started, our Christmas shopping, I would like to wish everybody the be Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: grrrrrr!

The blog posted at the start of this week began with a ‘hurrah!’ This one ought perhaps to begin with a very very big SIGH, or a muffled Grrrrrr!……(We have already pas Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: Okay, we are ready for you to apply!

Hurrah!:   the 2011 application form has been posted on the web, as have all of the courses, fees, accommodation options, etc etc. The paper copy of the brochure Read more

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World and time: Romeo and Radiohead

I was having lunch on Sunday in one of my favourite pubs, The Rusty Bike in Exeter, when Radiohead’s ‘Exit Music (for a Film)’ started to play. If you ever saw Baz Luhrman’ Read more

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World and time: on poetry and sculpture

‘Is it not the writer’s job to chip away, chip away?’ asked the novelist Anne Enright on Radio 3’s Night Waves earlier this week. This idea of the writer as stonemason, as Read more

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World and time: Berlin’s empty shelves

Next month I am going back to Berlin, a city I once knew well and visited often, both before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I am very much looking forward to making Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: course lists complete!

Sorry for the long silence. Most recently I have been in Portland, Maine (USA), attending a conference of Summer Session organisers. Such short trips are always great for t Read more

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Director’s post: not a Nobel Prize

I am back in Stockholm for a few days. There’s snow on the ground and the temperature is hovering around freezing but still it’s beautiful. The streets are decked with Chri Read more

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World and time: outside broadcast

In Guernsey recently, there to teach an architecture day school and launch the new partnership between ICE and Guernsey College of Further Education, I was surprised to Read more

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World and time: Rupert Brooke and EM Forster

Thirteen months ago I wrote in World and time about E M Forster and Madingley – in particular about the Dell in Madingley Wood which featured so prominently in his novel Th Read more

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World and Time: Heaney’s penwork

 I had a shock when I bought Heaney’s Human Chain last week. The book fell open at ‘The door was open and the house was dark’, a poem ‘in memory of David Hammond’. The Read more

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World and time: Heaney's Human Chain

I rhyme, says Seamus Heaney in an early poem, ‘Personal Helicon’, to see myself, To set the darkness echoing, so it is Heaney who comes to my mind as I watch the extraordin Read more

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Director’s post: when an abbey’s a priory

  Last month I met Edmund and Tina Butler at their home near Skipton, North Yorkshire. I first contacted Edmund a few months ago to thank him for sending us an album of pho Read more

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World and time: on learning poetry by heart

Today, 7 October, is National Poetry Day. Why not celebrate by learning a poem by heart? Does that sound daunting? A haiku has only seventeen syllables. A limerick would do Read more

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Summer Schools: conference packs and pachyderms

Back in the office after the IARU and EAIE conferences, and on with the show! Both went well, and the only stressful moment of the entire week was negotiating the Paris Met Read more

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World and time: in Venice (ii) Thomas de Mowbray and Madingley

Today, 22nd September, is the 611th anniversary of the death of Thomas de Mowbray, first Duke of Norfolk and – until he was banished by King Richard II – Earl Marshal of Read more

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World and time: in Venice (i) La Biennale

It is always good to be in Venice for the Architecture Biennale, not least because you get a chance to see inside buildings that are usually closed. Some may have been sh Read more

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Summer Schools: time in, time off, time out

Whatever happened to the last four weeks? It seems to have passed almost as quickly as the weeks of the Summer Schools itself. Time in: The last essays have come in to mee Read more

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World and time: Johnny head-in-air

Do not despair For Johnny head-in-air; He sleeps as sound As Johnny underground. In the days when children’s toys usually cost no more than half-a-crown, I bought an Ai Read more

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Director's post: one island among many

I write this from ‘my island’ in the Stockholm archipelago. I like to think of it as mine despite knowing it gets busy at certain times of year. Everything is relative thou Read more

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World and time: Frank Kermode’s Creative Acts

World and time: Frank Kermode’s Creative Acts When Frank Kermode published his last book late last year I reviewed it in the English Association Newsletter. This was the o Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: 'Done and dusted'? Not quite!

‘So, Summer Schools all ‘done and dusted’ then?’, the rest of our colleagues ask, cheerily, as we stagger about, still rather shell-shocked in these first few days after th Read more

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World and time: on portraits

World and time: on portraits Madingley Hall in summer, like all the Cambridge Colleges, catches up on the maintenance and building jobs it is hard to do in term-time. Ol Read more

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World and time: in praise of punting

World and time: in praise of punting In the wake of Sunday’s Thames Punting Championships, held at Maidenhead, I have been re-reading some of my favourite punting books. T Read more

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World and time: end-of-term report

Coming back to Cambridge from a meeting in London last week, I fell asleep on the train and woke up at Ely. It might have been worse: I could have gone all the way to Kin Read more

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Director’s post: international links

Nina Tjomsland is a remarkable woman, and I wouldn’t have met her but for a chance encounter at one of our International Summer School plenary lectures last week. Though yo Read more

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World and time: along Mill Lane

World and time: along Mill Lane  Mill Lane runs from Trumpington Street down to the river. A convenient thoroughfare it isn’t: the pavements are too narrow, delivery Read more

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Director’s post: ever decreasing circles

One of the joys of my job is being Warden over the weekends here at Madingley Hall and meeting the students and tutors involved in ICE’s Residential Weekend Courses. Someti Read more

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World and time: Carola, Kempe and the King’s Glass

I first met Carola Hicks, not at Madingley while she was Staff Tutor in the History of Art, nor at Ely when she had been Director of the Stained Glass Museum, but in South Read more

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World and time: honoris causa

It’s been a good week for Geoffrey Hill, who on 18th June was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford and three days later received an Hon. D.Litt at Cambridge during the H Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: Oh, for a few more hours!

“Oh, for a few more hours!! And luck. And better add some wisdom.” (Summer School Director’s prayer to whoever will listen.) I wrote a memo to the rest of our colle Read more

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World and time: Gareth Moor

In the past week I have found myself revisiting poems written about the death of friends who died suddenly and young - in particular, Milton’s Lycidas, a poem I first came Read more

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World and time: E M Forster and the Sunday Times

Please forgive the indignant tone of what follows. I rarely read the Sunday papers, but by chance saw an article about E M Forster in last weekend’s Sunday Times which caug Read more

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Director’s post: Quixotic moments

Having recently moved into my new home, I am slowly getting to know my neighbours and the village history – I am lucky that one of my neighbours has a wealth of knowledge on Read more

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World and time: in a green shade

No white nor red was ever seenSo am’rous as this lovely green. (Andrew Marvell, ‘The Garden’) Celebrations at Madingley Hall this week: a reception to congratulate Faye St Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: short months, siege machines and other preparations

The month of May appears to have imploded in my diary (yes, the dictionary definition, implode: collapse inwardly, violently, sounds about right)… . It was there on the d Read more

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World and time: ‘Charles Dickens stayed here’

It’s unfair to judge any town by its appearance and atmosphere on a Sunday evening, but Berwick upon Tweed was a disappointment. Once upon a time I knew the Welsh borders w Read more

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World and time: Liberation blog

Sarnia, dear Sarnia, my heart longs for theeGem of the ocean, the land of the free. (Sarnia Chérie, Guernsey National Anthem) Having failed a fortnight ago to get to Guer Read more

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Director's post: Double Dutch

Slightly strange, but I have a Dutch brother … we grew up together in London, but as soon as he was old enough he left the UK and has now been living in the Netherlands f Read more

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World and time: Professor Pinkrose

It’s been very good to be back at Madingley this past week: after all, we might still have been in Italy if it had not been for Alessandra, the kind woman in the ticket off Read more

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Word and time: (Still) in Venice

How light we move, how softly; ah,Were life but as the gondola! (Arthur Hugh Clough) Thursday 15th April: last morning of a brief holiday in Venice. Weather perfect: clear s Read more

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Summer Schools in the making : excursion risk assessment

The many months it takes us to plan for the summer are, in themselves, action-packed. It’s frightening how quickly the weeks shoot by, and Fridays thrust themselves upon Read more

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Director's post: Scandinavian by design

I write this blog from my office at KTH (The Royal Institute of Technology) in Stockholm – yesterday it snowed and today it is like spring despite the still-frozen water that Read more

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World and time: an Icelandic saga

W H Auden spent much of the 1930s travelling: France, Berlin, Spain during the Civil War, China with Christopher Isherwood, and finally America. On 18 January 1939, he and Read more

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World and time: Wittgenstein and Mickey Spillane

It has taken me a long time to find All Soul’s Lane, and the little cemetery, the Ascension Burial Ground, at its end. You have to walk away from the town, up Castle Hill, Read more

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World and time: Oxford times

My first experience of Oxford, indeed my first taste of university life, came when I was not yet a teenager. Dad had been attending a conference at St Hilda’s College, a Read more

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World and time: New Bearings on FR Leavis

On Saturday I braved the crowds in Cambridge and called at Waterstone’s where I was instantly seduced by a 3-for-2 offer. I came out with The Guernsey Literary and Potato P Read more

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World and time: Charles Lamb and Cambridge

Two invitations this week to lecture later in the year, but sadly both on dates when I already have engagements. The first, to speak on Cambridge architecture for the Open Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: new and returning

The majority of students coming to us this summer will be new to us! If you have already applied, we hope you are reading the handbooks, working through the reading list, l Read more

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World and time: Alan Bennett and Aunt Edna

Alan Bennett vies with Tom Stoppard and Alan Ayckbourn as the most consistently successful playwright still producing work for the stage today and all three have recently h Read more

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Director's post: active ageing

A report published last week by Universities UK suggests how universities might react to the demand for higher education from older learners – a demand that is growing alon Read more

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World and time: ‘Pity about the Abbey’

Arriving slightly early, and in a downpour, for lunch with the Archbishop of Canterbury last Friday, it seemed a good idea to take shelter in Westminster Abbey. By the main Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: small world

Much water has gone under the bridge (an English idiom… does it mean the same in other languages, I wonder) since the last blog entry. Many more applications for Summer Scho Read more

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World and time: between Macedon and Monmouth

At the height of the Battle of Agincourt, in Shakespeare’s Henry V, Fluellen, loyal and garrulous Welsh soldier, compares his king, Harry of England, with Alexander the Gre Read more

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World and time: Wilfred Owen and Inostentibility

For me, the highlight of the last weekend’s course at Madingley, Report on Experience? The Great War and its Poets, was an analysis by Paul Norgate of the drafts of a Wilfr Read more

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Director's post: rethink, redesign, rebuild

Against the backdrop last week of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, Davos (Switzerland), we held an all-staff strategy workshop, which, although clearly on Read more

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World and time: a blog on the Og

When the recent snow lay round about, at its deepest and crispest, I went walking in the valley of the Og. The Og is almost as short as its name: it rises near Draycot Fol Read more

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World and time: Cambridge 900?

The celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of the founding of Cambridge University end this week with a dramatic light-show, illuminating not just the Old Schools faça Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: Blue Moons and other planning cycles

Adrian's most recent blog – and the time of the year, of course - made me think what I was doing at this time of year not 35 years ago, but 25. I’d come back from a Master’ Read more

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World and time: ‘Posthumus, alas!’

Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume, Labuntur anni nec pietas moram rugis et instanti senectae adferet indomitaeque morti (Horace, Odes, II. xiv) ‘Alas, Postumus, O Postumus, Read more

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World and time: Siegfried Sassoon and Cambridge

Siegfried Sassoon lived to a ripe old age, so you won’t find his grave anywhere in the neatly laid-out cemeteries in Picardy, where he fought during the Battle of the Somme Read more

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Director's post: end of term

Having completed my first term in post, I am still standing, still smiling and experiencing Madingley in the snow, which is a truly spectacular sight! Over the last term, alongs Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: endings and beginnings, doubles and singles

No, this week’s blog isn’t about the benefits of divorce or marriage versus the single life, or tennis games, or duvet (comforter) size. It’s about something far more impor Read more

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World and Time: lecturer’s notes

End of term; end of the year. As I start to tidy away the papers that have accumulated on my desk at work and in my shed at home (my study is in my garden shed), I find mys Read more

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World and time: notarial acts

Great excitement at Madingley Hall last Thursday: the award ceremony for fifty students of the Institute’s Postgraduate Diploma in Notarial Practice. This is a unique progr Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: memories re-awakened

I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to relax – surprisingly – last thing at night is to set the brain against the Sunday Times’ newspaper’s ‘very hard’ Sudoku, altern Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: making it new

The new website now has much much more about the 2010 Summer Schools on it… it’s taken us rather a while to get to this point, as the first blog explained…. Brochure, broch Read more

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World and time: reading lists

‘Tis the season to be reading – or at least, to be buying books as Christmas presents. This weekend, as December looms, all the newspapers and journals that take books and Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: the view from here

Last Thursday it was a windy day… which meant that the University flag I could see from my window was flapping vigorously. The flag was there because the Queen was coming f Read more

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World and time: Woodman, spare the axe

An email to Institute staff from our Head Gardener at Madingley Hall, Richard Gant, offering Yuletide logs for sale: the logs are from the last remaining poplar tree plante Read more

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Summer Schools in the making: a new blog, a new cycle of planning

Welcome to a new blog, from the International Division. I’m intending to share the blog with other members of the team planning the Summer Schools over the coming months, Read more

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World and time: on the blog

I’ve been advised to make this blog more personal and more ‘edgy’. The advice comes from Tinopolis, the Llanelli-based company who have worked with the Institute to create Read more

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World and time: Jane Austen and anachronism

I started to have misgivings about the latest TV adaptation of Emma early in the first episode. As soon as Emma herself began referring to her ‘exercise régime’ and announc Read more

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Director's post: a plethora of ideas

Having just completed my first month in post, I find that I am surrounded by ideas of all descriptions: ideas on the future of the Institute; ideas on w Read more

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World and Time: Archbishop Ramsey’s treasure

Anyone who knows Durham will agree that Prebends Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges in England. Spanning the River Wear, it offers the most famous of all views of Read more

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World and time: 'the banality of evil'

Hannah Arendt is an historian I much admire. But I can never hear her memorable phrase, ‘the banality of evil’ without being reminded of the worst day of my career, Mond Read more

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World and time: from Russell-Cotes to Kettle’s Yard

Q. Which novelist described Bournemouth as (among other things) “a glittering novelty”, ‘a Mediterranean lounging place in the English Channel” and “a fascinating, pine-sce Read more

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Director's post: new beginnings at the Institute of Continuing Education

Welcome to the ‘Director’s post’, my blog. This is a period of new beginnings, which I would like to share with you. First, I am new to the Institute of Continuing Educatio Read more

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World and time: behind barbed wire

Hurrying between engagements at Portsmouth University and Exeter, we were following the coast road through Dorset. It was early evening and the sunset over the cliffs and t Read more

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World and time: EM Forster and Madingley

Every schoolchild knows – or would once have known – that the following lines And things are done you’d not believeAt Madingley on Christmas Eve come from ‘The Old Vicara Read more

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World and time: the Festival of Ideas

The University’s Festival of Ideas is itself a good idea: two weeks of activities, exhibitions and lectures, straddling the schools’ October half-term, designed to interest Read more

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World and time: metalecturing

I had to give a lecture, the other day, on lectures. Lectures formal and informal; lectures as performance – in a lecture theatre, with an audience sitting in rows and the Read more

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World and time: Sebald's Austerlitz

During the past ten years much of my teaching and research have revolved around the (very) modern novel, often books published only shortly before I have begun to teach the Read more

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World and time: what I did on my holidays

I grew up in the Fens, and I like flat landscapes. So a week’s holiday exploring the Isle of Oxney and Romney Marsh suited me very well. Wife, self and Aged P stayed at Bro Read more

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World and time : Adrian Barlow's blog

Welcome to ‘World and Time’, my blog. As a blogger I’m a complete novice but I hope to use this corner of cyberspace to talk about books and writers, about literature and l Read more