Spotlight on Research: Telling Our Stories Better

Telling Our Stories Better logo with ribbons of different colours

In Trinity Term, the Faculty launched a new equality and diversity project, Telling Our Stories Better. Supported by the Diversity Fund, Telling Our Stories Better aims to showcase success in all its forms, capturing and telling the career stories of a diverse range of English alumni.

Led by Dr Sophie Ratcliffe (Lady Margaret Hall) and Dr Ushashi Dasgupta (Pembroke), Telling Our Stories Better will challenge misconceptions about who studies English and the career paths they can take, creating a gallery of 20-25 new alumni photos and biographies for the Faculty website and the Faculty’s physical home in the St Cross Building.

Over the summer, current English students, from all courses, will be interviewing alumni about their career paths, including lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, physicians, software engineers, writers, and directors. Their career profiles will reflect how they’ve used the skills and knowledge they gained studying English, and why they’d recommend English to students today. The project team will also build a reading list, based on book recommendations from the alumni, that can help to inspire current and aspiring English students to think about the subject in new ways.

The gallery of career profiles, and that reading list, will begin to take shape online in the autumn, with the physical gallery going up in St Cross early in 2022.

Professor Ros Ballaster, Chair of the English Faculty Board, said: “This project will open our ears and minds to the rich variety of lives that have passed through and grown from studying English at Oxford University. We want more young people from diverse backgrounds to view Oxford as a university that they could belong to and thrive in. And to leave them equipped with the confidence and determination to apply what they’ve learned as well as maintain a love for that learning. ‘Telling Our Stories Better’ is an important step for us in doing so.”

Maya Little, BA English (2017), now Communications and Events Officer at TORCH, said: “Working out what comes next when you graduate can be hard. Being suddenly without the structure of education means you have to start considering many different paths, and this can be overwhelming. Seeing the twists and turns of other people's careers has always reassured me that I don't need to have a linear progression but can spend time exploring what I might want to do and where I can be most useful.”

Anyone who would like to find out more about the project is welcome to email the Project Manager, Dominique Gracia.