Events for Schools

Think Human Festival 2022

2-9 April 2022

Our Think Human Festival events for schools (4-9 April) have been developed to provide opportunities for school groups in Years 9 upwards, and individual Sixth Form students, to engage directly with current research in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Our 2022 programme includes face to face and online content relevant to Geography, English Literature, Politics, Philosophy, History, Media and other secondary school subject curriculums. Think Human Festival events for schools aim to broaden, diversify, and provide valuable context for topics and themes on these curriculums.

Beyond the curriculum, Think Human Festival 2022 events for schools will inform and support school students to understand and debate topics of interest and importance in their everyday lives.

Monday 4 April 2022

The Future of School

Face to Face, 09:00-12:00, Union Hall, for Secondary School Groups

With Dr Patrick Alexander, School of Education

What should schools of the future look like? 

In this interactive workshop, young people will be given the opportunity to think about their recent experiences of school and to think afresh about what school should look like in the future. Do we need school buildings? Do we need exams? Do we need teachers? The future of school is in your hands!

Child ballet dancer in classroom

Shakespeare and the history of emotion with Professor Katharine Craik

Zoom event, 12:00-13:30, for GCSE/A Level Eng Lit students

Professor Katharine Craik, English and Modern Languages

This interactive online workshop explores the emotional landscapes of Shakespeare’s plays, unpacking in new ways the texts you're studying for GCSE or A-Level. Do emotions such as sorrow, joy, sympathy and anger have their own history, and how was early modern emotional experience different from our own? How were emotions represented and communicated onstage in Shakespeare’s works, and how were they shared within the wider environment of the playhouse? Did social class affect the ways in which Shakespeare’s men and women arranged their inner lives, and the ways they behaved in front of others? We will uncover the rich and varied history of senses, passions, affections, moods and dispositions and reveal the continuing power of Shakespeare’s works – especially for our sense of who we are, and who we might become. Finally we will consider, through recent theatrical and film productions, the emotional work performed by the Shakespeare industry in global culture today. 

William Shakespeare

Tuesday 5 April 2022

Cancel Culture and Social Media: how to balance freedom of expression with protection in the online world

Zoom event, 13:00 – 14:00, for years 10 and above

Chara Bakalis, Principal Lecturer in Law

Navigating the world of social media is difficult. On the one hand, social media can be full of hatred against people - particularly minorities. There is growing evidence that abuse based on race or sexuality is rife, and that misogynistic memes and videos can make people feel bad about themselves and yet no one seems to do anything about it and the hate just gets worse. On the other hand, young people might worry about being cancelled for accidentally posting something that offends someone, or they might feel they cannot express themselves freely on social media for fear of being called out or bullied.

This interactive session will explore some of the issues young people face in their online interactions. We will discuss what - if anything - the law needs to do to clean up the internet, and who should take responsibility for this. We will examine the importance of freedom of expression in democratic societies, but also think about whether there are limits to what people should be able to say online. We will also consider possible solutions, including the use of Artificial Intelligence to help make social media a kinder place to interact. 

Prohibited action signs

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Opening Up English Literature: Too privileged, too male, too white?

Zoom event, 12:30 – 14:00, for 6th form English Literature students

Dr Simon White, English and Modern Languages

Join us for an interactive webinar exploring one of the most pressing issues facing English studies: what does a decolonized curriculum look like, and how can we get there? Which books and writers should we be reading and teaching right now, and why? How can we make English studies more inclusive to harness literature's ability to expose political, social, and economic inequalities? Staff and students from Oxford Brookes University will ask whether it's time to consign writers like Shakespeare to history, or whether writing from the distant past still has something important to tell us about the world we live in today. Each panelist will make a pitch for a novel or poem or play that we think belongs at the heart of English studies. Our aim is to reintroduce you to some familiar writers in new ways, but also to spark your interest in writers you've never encountered before.' Throughout the event you'll have the opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions, and - most importantly - to vote on what you think belongs in a truly diverse curriculum.

People forming an open book

Friday 8 April 2022

How will you decide who to vote for and can online Voter Advice platforms help?

Face to face, 13:00-14:30, Executive Suite, John Henry Brookes Building (JHBB 128) for 6th Form Students

Dr Jonathan Wheatley, Politics

We will introduce sixth-form students to Voting Advice Applications (VAAs), how they work and how they might benefit young voters. Participants will be encouraged to take a critical look at the WhoGetsMyVoteUK Voting Advice Application deployed in the run-up to the December 2019 UK general election. Do they think such a tool could help them decide how to vote? Is the platform user friendly? To what extent are the issues relevant to the 2019 elections still relevant today? What new issues have emerged and which are the most important to young people? Could the platform be better designed to help them decide who to vote for?

Anneliese Dodds (Oxford East, LAB) and Layla Moran (Oxford West and Abingdon, LibDem), have been invited to take part and talk through where they stand on those issues identified by attendees as the most important. This will evolve into a broader conversation about the issues that matter to young (soon-to-be) voters and how best to establish a dialogue between young people and politicians about how to address these issues.

Politics advertising hoarding

Saturday 9 April 2022

Moral Robots

Zoom event (Think Human Fest/Science Bazaar Saturdays Collab), 10:00-11:30, for ages 9-15

Professor Nigel Crook, Institute of Ethical AI 

Dr Mark Cain, Philosophy

Can you teach robots how to behave themselves? Can you teach them that stealing is wrong? Can they learn that it's not good to tell lies or to be mean to someone because of the colour of their skin? Robots and other intelligence machines are becoming a part of our everyday lives. Soon they will be driving us to school, picking up the shopping for us and helping us in many different ways. Some robots may even become our 'friends', wanting to hang out with us, go to parties with us, play games etc. But how can we be sure that these robots will behave in the right kind of way when they are around us, our friends and family? Can we trust them? 

Professor Nigel Crook (robotics and AI) and Dr Matthias Rolf (robotics and machine learning) will give a demonstration of robots learning to behave themselves. Dr Mark Cain (philosophy) will help us to think about the questions and challenges of getting robots to behave themselves.

Robot joke