Author: Eliza Campbell

Christmas Trinkets

Christmas Trinkets

And just like that, Christmas is upon us! 2017 has blundered its way through and we’re suddenly at the tail end of the year. I don’t know about you, but these eleven months have gone by so quickly I barely have time to breathe and […]

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual day of remembrance for the transgender community and its allies to commemorate and draw attention to the horrifying violence that the community endures. This day is horribly significant each year with reported and correctly gendered murders of […]

Oxbridge and Britain

Oxbridge and Britain

In January it will have been two years since I was rejected from Cambridge University. I blame this on my patchy academic record, my terrible interview technique, and the fact that I only considered Oxbridge at the eleventh hour of my time in Sixth Form. I went to a nice grammar school in Lancashire in the heart of northern England, a school that sent a fairly significant amount of pupils on to Oxford and Cambridge as well as other prestigious Russell Group universities. I don’t strictly come into the story revealed this week after a set of figures for Oxford and Cambridge admissions were released, but I do care about it deeply.

This data was released by the University of Oxford and Cambridge University after several freedom of information requests by David Lammy MP. The statistics show that applicants for places at Oxford and Cambridge from Greater London and the south-east of England received 48% of offers, while the whole of the north of England (meaning the north-west, north-east, Yorkshire and the Humber) received just 15% of Oxford offers and 17% of Cambridge offers. Plus, last year just 100 offers were made to the whole of Wales. The scale of this regional divide is astounding but the division doesn’t stop there. Between the years 2010 and 2015 a quarter of Cambridge colleges eailed to make a single offer to a black British student.

Oxford graduates have made up ten out of fourteen British Prime Ministers since 1945. The BBC’s Chairman (Sir David Clementi) and its Director-General (Anthony Hall) are both Oxford graduates. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Phillip Hammond) and Permanent Secretary to the Treasury (Tom Scholar) are Oxford and Cambridge graduates, respectively. It is clear that a degree from one of these universities can be so much more than just a degree, it can be a golden ticket to power (particularly if you’re a white man). Oxbridge graduates make up so much of our political, financial, and cultural landscape but the people becoming those graduates are from a tiny and significantly more affluent part of the country.

Of course, the issue runs deeper than simple admissions figures. Those in richer areas of the south that benefit from that affluence are more likely to be privately educated or to have tutors and the money for certain textbooks. The rich can simply afford to be more educated. They can also afford to indulge in those extra-curricular experiences that strengthen an application in an extremely competitive admissions process. Wealth opens doors that people of low-income background could never even hope to reach, and that is so utterly evident in these admissions figures where 31% of offers went to people in the top two social income groups.

The racism evident in these figures also offers a bone-chilling insight into the admissions process at Oxbridge and the wider issue of racism in Britain. I’ll remind you that mere months ago Cambridge was celebrating admitting more black male students than Eton college students for the first time. Admitting more black men than men from a single private boarding school being a cause for celebration speaks to just how deep this issue runs. Figures released this week show just how far these universities (although I am sure the issue runs just as deep in others) have to go in bringing about any semblance of equality in their yearly intakes.

Both Oxford and Cambridge have recently released statements saying that they work hard to ensure diversity in their intakes but whatever they are doing clearly isn’t enough. This recent discovery must not be pushed into the background, it must be tackled and handled responsibly by the powers that have the ability to do that.

Further reading:

Hollywood’s Whitewash

Hollywood’s Whitewash

In August of 2017, it was announced that Ed Skrien would be portraying Ben Daimio as part of a reboot of the Hellboy franchise. In the original comics, Daimio was portrayed as a man of Asian-American descent. Unfortunately, the casting of Skrein clearly pandered to […]

Ode to Autumn

Ode to Autumn

Last week September came rushing into our lives. To me it felt like some kind of drowsy spell had broken and I was finally motivated to do all the things I had told myself I would do over the summer months. While I doubt there […]

A Summer of Podcasts

A Summer of Podcasts

Podcasts are steadily becoming my latest obsession. It’s almost like controlling a radio station that is entirely geared towards your interests. There’s nothing quite like a familiar voice in your ear that you can chuckle along with or learn from as you clean, walk, travel, or just lie around on a lazy summer’s day.

Podcasts are, of course, not a revelation made by me or anyone else in recent years (they’ve had the name for over a decade) but over this summer I’ve become transfixed by the plethora of free entertainment that the world of podcasts has to offer to anyone with an internet connection and downloading abilities. So, as I’ll be flying over to Greece this week, with many hours of travel and downtime ahead of me I thought I would share some of my favourite podcasts that will be accompanying me and soon might accompany you on your travels.

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Eliza Shares Her Favorite Summer Reads

Eliza Shares Her Favorite Summer Reads

Summer is possibly one of my favourite times to read. The long evenings filled with stretching shadows and golden light, the bright mornings dusted with birdsong, even the drizzle-heavy days where the flowers dampen and we all complain about the humidity; the warmest months of […]

Immense and Immersive: A Dunkirk Review

Immense and Immersive: A Dunkirk Review

May 1940 and the Second World War is going terribly for the Allied forces. Thousands of men are stranded and surrounded on the north coast of France with Nazi forces gaining on them every day. As we’re told throughout the film: home is so close […]

Reboots, Revivals, and The L Word

Reboots, Revivals, and The L Word

In 2017 you are hardly short of a reboot or revival on the big or small screen. It seems that a combination of a lack of funding in the grassroots of the arts, a refusal to fund anything that might not turn a ginormous profit, and a very Millennial craving for nostalgia has brought the chickens home to roost. So what does this brave new – old – world have in store for us? The X Files, Gilmore Girls, and Twin Peaks grace our screens like it’s the nineties/noughties all over again, and Disney seems to have made a deal with the devil, doomed to revive every single one of its animated classics to over-produced, live-action glory.

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Unspeakables of the Oscar Wilde Sort: A Book List for Fifty Years of Gay Liberation in Britain

Unspeakables of the Oscar Wilde Sort: A Book List for Fifty Years of Gay Liberation in Britain

The month of June has now drawn to a close. June is widely recognised as Pride Month in LGBT+ communities across the world, but milestones in gay liberation come all year round. As we wave a fond farewell to 2017’s month of pride we welcome […]