Wadham Symposium

Date Published: 07.03.2023


On 4 February 2023 the first Wadham symposium since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic took place. Jane Garnett, Fellow and Tutor in Modern History, shares her thoughts on the event.

A group of students and staff across a range of disciplines addressed the theme of 'Metamorphosis'. The idea of the symposium is to construct a day of debate around a theme chosen for its topicality and interdisciplinarity. Presentations are short and discussion long. Participants sign up for the whole day, including conversation over coffee, tea, lunch and dinner. Momentum builds up over the day and people are committed to collaborative debate and to the making of unexpected connections. The College is thereby enacted as an intellectual community. The stimulation and creative energy extend beyond the day itself, and over the years huge pleasure and high-quality thought have been generated in equal measure.

The idea for such an annual symposium – itself a revival of an earlier version – came about through conversations with undergraduate members of Wadham's SU. The event has always been co-subsidised by the College and the SU. We started with the theme of 'Sustainability' in 2011, and the symposium ran for ten years up to and including 2020, just before lockdown. It feels good to have re-started.

Metamorphosis Programme 2023


Ursula Martin: ‘Dappled things, Turing patterns and explaining morphogenesis’

Sneha Shiralagi: ‘“To wash a Blackamoor white”: the perceived immutability of racial boundaries’

Aincre Evans: ‘Shifting solidarities: the marketisation of Pan-Africanism to the Black diaspora’

Jayanne English: ‘The metamorphosis of galaxies’


Sarah Cullinan-Herring: ‘The metamorphosis  of man(hood): complicating masculinity in Greek poetry’

Ruth Thrush: ‘Pygmalion in Paris’

Chris Summerfield: ‘The metamorphosis of cognition’


Matt Myers: ‘Workers into inventors: workers’ plans for socially-useful production during the 1970s and 1980s’

Kelly Lloyd: ‘Transferable skills and alternative careers: what people in the Arts sector dream they’ll do when they finally give up’

Dan McAteer: ‘Butterflies or cockroaches? The role of metamorphosis in Anglo-American futurism, 1968-2000’

The metamorphosis of galaxies by Jayanne English