Its main focus is upon the arts and humanities but, as the society’s name suggests, all topics of intrinsic interest could come under its consideration.
Its aim is to explore intriguing, thought-provoking and diverse subjects that lie outside the school curriculum, drawing on the expertise and verve of guest speakers as well as offering trips and visits to events and places of interest. The Universal Society is open to all students from Year 10 to Year 13.
The society’s inaugural event was a talk and Q&A session with Juliet Trewellard entitled The Victorian Woman: Expectations of Womanhood as Revealed in 19th Century Narrative Paintings, delivered to a Key Stage 4 audience in Piran Theatre and simultaneously followed by live video stream by Sixth Form students (who were able to pose questions remotely).
Mrs Trewellard’s talk was enjoyed by staff and students who gained new knowledge and insights into Victorian social values as well as the themes, devices and techniques of Victorian artists. The paintings to which the audience was introduced are still generating discussion around the school and it is remarkable how vivid these works are and how firmly the stories become imprinted on the mind.
The society continued to explore the topic of nineteenth-century society with a talk last Wednesday entitled Victorian Advertising: ‘The Unnoticed Infant’ by Clive James. Clive studied English Literature at Cardiff University and has since taught in several colleges and universities in South Wales and Cornwall. Clive’s primary teaching focus is now English Language and Sociolinguistics, for which he won FE Lecturer of the Year in 2017; but he is always keen to return to his initial study in Cardiff where he explored the language of advertising in Victorian Literature.
There are many more exciting opportunities coming up next term.