The politics of immigration

6th September 2017

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What makes you a migrant and why is immigration such a hot political topic? These questions were considered and discussed by twenty students attending Wadham’s annual Politics summer school.

Led by Dr Tom Sinclair, Wadham’s Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy, the programme included sessions on ‘Bias in the Media’ with Matt Williams, ‘Migration and Social Cohesion’ with Marie Godin, ‘Historical Experiences of Migration’ with Jane Garnett, ‘Measuring Migration’ with Will Allen, and ‘A Migrant’s Journey’ with Gulwali Passarlay.

The students also visited the Weston Library at the Bodleian to delve into the Oxfam archives to read about Oxfam’s portrayal of Palestinian refugees.

The participating students, aged between 16 and 18, were chosen based on academic attainment and their passion for the Politics and its associated subjects (Philosophy, Economics, History) with reference to Widening Participation factors. Although the summer school is open to all state school students in the UK, around half of participants were from Wadham’s link regions.

The academic programme was designed to give school students a taste of what it’s like to be an undergraduate studying Politics at Oxford, including a combination of lectures, seminars, debates, and theory and methodology classes, as well as independent study time.  Undergraduate mentors provided guidance and advice as well as helping the school students with their 1,000 word essays. Living, eating and sleeping in College as well as enjoying a variety of social activities together with their student mentors, the summer school students got an authentic experience of College life.

Jemma, who is studying Classics, Economics and Law at Portsmouth College, described the summer school programme as “really helpful.” “I couldn’t do Politics at College and I really would like to do PPE at University, so this has been a great way of finding out more about the subject. What we have learned about essay technique has also been helpful and I really enjoyed the tutorial and the opportunity to discuss the subject we’ve written about in our essays.”

Commenting on the five day programme, Tom Sinclair said:  “This is the third Politics Summer School that we have run at Wadham.  We had a huge number of applications and we were delighted by the enthusiasm and ability of the successful applicants, whose sharp questions and thoughtful contributions impressed the tutors involved.  As ever, we are very grateful to the many researchers who gave of their expertise and time in the seminars and tutorials.  Participants came away from the talks visibly inspired, and we hope to be seeing many of them return as undergraduates at Oxford.

Wadham’s three summer schools in Classics, Politics, and Engineering form an important part of the College’s wider access work which includes a sustained pre-16 programme, school visits, a teacher conference, and a variety of collaborative initiatives with UNIQ, IntoUniversity, and the University of Oxford. This work forms part of Wadham’s Access to Excellence programme, which is made possible by the generous support of the Wadham community.

  • Meeting student mentors

  • Student mentors for the Politics and Classics summer schools

  • Enjoying formal dinner in Hall

  • Politics and Classics Summer School participants 2017

  • Prize-winning summer school participants

Summer schools in pictures

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