Posted in Master's blog

Today we tend to talk of ‘Fitz’, not “Fitzbilly”, as they did in the past, but as Lent Term 2015 came to an end, I realised that it was a term which had filled me with real and significant “Billy pride”, as they would have said in earlier decades. It has been a term full of excitement and ‘buzz’.

Here are just a few examples…

Pride in our sporting heroes…The men’s first boat won their blades in the Lents (particular mention perhaps to captain and cox, Samantha Tarling (Classics 2012).  It was great to see Fitz represented in the amazing blues women’s rugby team which defeated poor Oxford by a fearsome 47-0. Hurrah for Chloe Withers (Nat Sci 2012)! And I was particularly buoyed by a serendipitous conversation at that match when I was told that the Fitz men had been unanimously awarded the Fair Play Trophy that Cambridge University & District Rugby Referees Society (CUDRRS) awards annually to the most sporting college rugby team. All credit to Captain Joe David (Philosophy 2012).

Pride in our staff who keep the ‘show on the road’ on an amazingly tight budget and to such astonishingly high standards… HRH The Princess Royal’s visit on 10 March was an obvious example: the sun shone on a stunningly beautiful College, and proceedings flowed as though effortless (ha – particular thanks to Caroline Choat in the conference office).

Pride in our musicians… The Fitz Chapel Choir, under our new Director of Music, Katharine Parton, was invited to sing at the University’s annual ceremony to commemorate the generosity of benefactors in the Senate House. Their rendition of “Exsultate justi” by Viadana was fabulous. And then Charles Gurnham, Senior Organ Scholar (Nat Sci 2012), must have glowed with pride as he conducted the choir in his own version of the College grace before dinner in King’s College Hall.

Pride in some wonderful student-led activities…Not only the Fitzwilliam Literary Society at which alumnae, Adele Thomas (English 2000) and Caroline Williams (English 2003) talked about staging Beaumont’s, The Knight of the Burning Pestle in the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe; Fitz Enterprise has launched a series of events, creating wonderful links between alumni and students; and FitzTheatre put on an energetic interpretation of The Crucible in the Auditorium.

Cast in The Crucible Photo: Johannes Hjorth

Cast in The Crucible Photo: Johannes Hjorth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to the energy of Titi Odusanwo (Law 2014) Fitz’s celebrations of International Women’s Day involved a photo-shoot as part of the ‘Cambridge Women Speak Out’ campaign. I was pleased to take part. The photos were all exhibited, complete with forceful messages, at the Michaelhouse Café in Trinity Street.

Nicky Padfield

I was pleased to take part in the photo shoot for Cambridge Women Speak Out. “Human dignity matters – shout about it!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another first year law student, from Sri Lanka, Sandamini Chandrasekara-Mudiyanselage (Law 2014) must be glowing with pride and needs to take a major bow too, winning both the Brewster debate and the College Moot this term.

Pride in the academic achievements of our students…Where to start? Perhaps I will just mention the graduate conference on Saturday 14 March: a galaxy of amazing short presentations: Juana Yunis (MPhil Education, 2014) doing empirical work in Colombian classrooms on ‘reconciliation’ in a conflict-zone; Sophus zu Ermgassen (Zoology and Management Studies, 2011) studying ‘ecosystem services’ provided by coastal habitats in the Gulf of Mexico; Stefan Theil (Law 2014) exploring environmental protection through the lens of European Convention on Human Rights litigation; Millie Papworth (MPhil European Literature and Culture 2014) painting a really astonishing picture of being a woman in early modern Italy under the title ‘Women do Not Belong to the Species Mankind’, and finally Gourav Khullar (MAST in Astrophysics) helping us understand the formation of galaxies in the universe. What a wealth of talent.

Next term the undergraduates put their heads down and focus on Tripos exams. I hope we will have a glow of pride in their results. If this term is anything to go by, Fitz is going places….

Nicola Padfield

About Nicola Padfield

Nicola Padfield MA, Dip Crim, DES became Master of Fitzwilliam College in October 2013. She is a Reader in Criminal and Penal Justice at the Law Faculty, University of Cambridge, and has been a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College since 1991.

Posted in Master's blog

The College looked absolutely fabulous, bathed in spring sunshine, on March 10th 2015 when we hosted a wonderfully stimulating conference on behalf of the Criminal Justice Alliance. Entitled An agenda for the new Government, and chaired by HH Judge John Samuels, speakers were encouraged to come with bullet-point ideas.

The first speaker was Tapio Leppi Seppala, Head of the Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy, at the University of Helsinki who used powerful graphs to illustrate his point that prisons do not reduce crime: whilst the English and Welsh prison population has doubled in the last thirty years, the Finnish prison population has moved in exactly the opposite direction. Yet the recorded crime figures in both countries are remarkably similar. He showed how a new government might develop a successful decarceration strategy: they would have to start by defining a high incarceration rate as a significant problem at a political level, and to maintain a long term commitment to reducing both sentence and re-offending levels.

Tapio was followed by Nick Hardwick, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, whose message was deeply troubling: the prison service is so squeezed for money that the ‘offender management’ function has more or less collapsed. The need for more purposeful activities and resettlement support, whilst obvious, is being allowed to disappear as prisons struggle to manage from day to day. His accounts of recent inspections gave graphic illustrations of the reality of the challenges faced in prisons ‘on the wings’.

Professor Sir Anthony Bottoms, Emeritus Wolfson Professor of Criminology at Cambridge, Life Fellow of Fitzwilliam (and Fellow since 1984), presented some blunt messages from the ‘desistance’ research (including his own Sheffield study).

  1. Most offenders (even most persistent offenders) desist, and they do so largely on their own initiative.
  2. Most persistent offenders would like to lead a normal life.
  3. Factors influencing “pathways into crime” are not necessarily the same as factors influencing “pathways out of crime” (“asymmetrical causation”).
  4. Desistance is often a gradual process.
  5. Desistance is often an obstacle-strewn process.
  6. The focus on desistance is not in conflict with the “what works” movement’.

From these, he drew three clear messages for the incoming Government:

  1. Work harder at incorporating desistance insights into rehabilitative practice
  2. The age range 20-25 is the period of fastest deceleration in offending among recidivist offenders. Criminal justice policy and practice therefore needs to recognise more fully the special needs of this age group, as recently advocated by the Transition to Adulthood Alliance.
  3. Desistance is, for most offenders, a gradual process, which means that a fresh conviction is a not uncommon event as an offender gradually reduces his/her frequency of offending. The Sentencing Council should be asked to consider the implications of this evidence for the sentencing of offenders where there is clear evidence of attempts to desist – especially as regards the ‘Recidivist Premium’.

I came next and argued that significant change could be effected if we started to think more about sentencing as an on-going process, and not as a one-off event , a single moment in court. Thinking ‘holistically’ about sentencing led me to suggest three ideas:

  1. a presumption against short terms of imprisonment
  2. a clearer distinction between suspended sentences of imprisonment and community orders
  3. a greater focus on that part of a custodial sentence which is served in the community.

Professor Larry Sherman, current Director of the Institute of Criminology, spoke with his usual passion on the need to focus policing on key areas of need. He reminded the audience that the purpose of policing was to prevent crime, not to prosecute offenders and that their focus should be on reducing serious crime, with seriousness measured seriously on a crime/harm index.

HRH The Princess Royal meets staff at Fitzwilliam College.

HRH The Princess Royal meets staff at Fitzwilliam College.

As the audience broke into different workshops, the College welcomed HRH the Princess Royal. During her two hours in Fitz, she met a number of Fellows, staff and students, attended two different workshops and presented the certificates to winners of the Criminal Justice Alliance’s awards for innovation in penal practice. Her very real interest in the subject matter of the conference was obvious.

Let us hope that the new Government is as keen to listen, to think and to digest the implications of the clear messages presented throughout the day!

 

 

HRH The Princess Royal with Master Nicky Padfield at Fitzwilliam College on 10 March 2015.

HRH The Princess Royal with Master Nicky Padfield at Fitzwilliam College on 10 March 2015.

Nicola Padfield

About Nicola Padfield

Nicola Padfield MA, Dip Crim, DES became Master of Fitzwilliam College in October 2013. She is a Reader in Criminal and Penal Justice at the Law Faculty, University of Cambridge, and has been a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College since 1991.

Posted in Guest posts · Master's blog

This guest post is written by Dr Hero Chalmers, Director of Studies in English, who co-organised the event with Dr Subha Mukherji, University Senior Lecturer in English and Graduate tutor at Fitzwilliam.

On Friday 27 February the Fitzwilliam Literary Society hosted an evening during which two of our alumnae, Adele Thomas (English 2000) and Caroline Williams (English 2003) returned to talk about staging their smash-hit production of Francis Beaumont’s Jacobean city comedy, The Knight of the Burning Pestle in the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe.

The play is built around a running gag in which a grocer and his wife, played by actors situated amongst the actual audience of the play, persistently interrupt the ostensible action of the performance. While the playing company set out to perform a somewhat tiredly generic comedy of young lovers thwarted by authority, entitled The London Merchant, the grocers intervene to insist that it transmutes into a chivalric romance (the Knight of the Burning Pestle) starring their young apprentice, Rafe. The fusion which results is at once deliciously parodic and heroically ebullient.

KBP436 (Medium)

Originally performed at the second Blackfriars theatre in 1607, the piece was a notorious flop at the time and, despite some valiant efforts, has proved difficult to carry off in the modern period. All the more remarkable then that this production – of which Adele was the director and Caroline the assistant director – turned out to be so popular with audiences that, after its original run in spring last year, it returned for a further sell-out Christmas season from December to January 2014-15.

The speakers gave a fascinatingly personal insight into the rumination, research and rehearsal which lay behind this winning formula. First, Caroline illuminated the historical background of the play and outlined the role of an assistant director. Then, Adele led us through the thinking behind her key directorial decisions, speaking passionately about her sense that, in order to succeed, the play needed to be purged of the narrow class prejudice which has often attended it. As well as opening up this particular theatrical gem, her remarks galvanised the audience to consider wider questions about the nature of theatrical pleasure and the need to render theatre not merely the province of a metropolitan elite.

The evening culminated in a hilarious performance workshop under Adele’s direction featuring student actors wittily experimenting with ways of running the play’s opening scene. For the closing question and answer session, Adele and Caroline were joined by Farah Karim-Cooper, the Globe’s Head of Higher Education and Research who played a leading role in the project to complete the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. She spoke revealingly about the discoveries which are emerging from staging Renaissance plays in this new playing space designed to echo the indoor theatres of Shakespeare’s time.

Adele said: “It was such huge privilege to come back to Fitzwilliam to talk to the students and staff about a show that meant a great deal to me. There is no doubt that what I learned as a student at the College directly influenced my vision for Pestle and that I owe Hero and Subha enormous thanks for being such inspiring teachers. I was really struck by the students’ energy and brilliance and by the passion of the teaching staff. It moved me greatly to think that when I was a student at Fitz, my contemporaries and myself were moulded by these amazing people who were utterly dedicated to nurturing our minds and our developing sense of ourselves.”

 


 

Adele Thomas, Director of The Knight of the Burning Pestle.

Adele Thomas, Director of The Knight of the Burning Pestle.

Adele Thomas was the recipient of the hugely prestigious 2008 ITV Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme and is currently Associate Director for Connections at the National Theatre. Theatre includes: The Oresteia (Summer 2015), The Knight of the Burning Pestle and Thomas Tallis, (Shakespeare’s Globe); The Golden Hours: as part of Unusual Unions (Royal Court); The Bloody Ballad (Gagglebabble and Tour); The Passion and The passion: One Year On (as Project Associate for National Theatre Wales).

 

 

Caroline Williams Assistant Director

Caroline Williams Assistant Director

Caroline Williams is a director, performer and dramaturge. Her recent work includes Dad Dancing (BAC), Le Malade Imaginaire (The Globe), Living Things (BAC) and Now is The Time To Say Nothing (The Young Vic). Her work has recently been chosen by the Victoria and Albert Museum to represent England at the Prague Quadrennial in 2015. Caroline is currently Artistic Associate at the Yard Theatre.

Nicola Padfield

About Nicola Padfield

Nicola Padfield MA, Dip Crim, DES became Master of Fitzwilliam College in October 2013. She is a Reader in Criminal and Penal Justice at the Law Faculty, University of Cambridge, and has been a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College since 1991.