Human Sciences 50th Anniversary Celebrations

1972 saw the first students graduating with a BA in Human Sciences at Oxford. The Institute celebrated the 50th anniversary of the degree at the Meeting Minds Alumni Weekend in September 2022. The weekend began with an exciting talk by Professor Susana Carvalho on primatology and human evolution at the southern end of the East African Rift Valley in which she discussed the unprecedented interdisciplinary approach to understanding hominin origins and adaptations being undertaken by the Paleo-Primate Project in Gorongosa Mozambique, of which she is the Director.

On Saturday, our illustrious alum, Sir Simon Baron-Cohen spoke on how autism drives invention, outlining his ground-breaking argument about the link between autism and ingenuity. This was followed by a picnic in the University parks where alumni from across the decades were able to catch up with one another. 


Photo by David Gellner

Saturday afternoon saw two roundtable discussion about the importance of Human Sciences for those who took the degree and for the wider society. The first was chaired by author, scholar and speaker Daniela Sieff and featured Caroline Elton (psychologist, author, speaker and trainer; Lucy Lake (CEO of CAMFED) and Giles Tremlett (historian, author and journalist).


Roundtable 1 panel

Photo by Izzy Rycroft.


In the break between discussions we asked alumnus, Professor Clive Coen, to cut the cake.

Clive Coen Cutting Cake

Photo by Izzy Rycroft


The second round table, featuring some or our more recent alumni, was chaired by award-winning producer, director and co-founder of Wildstar films, Vanessa Berlowitz, with panellists: Suriyah Bi (founder of the Equality Act Review), Paddy Christy-Parker (Researcher at Wildstar Films) and Freya Pryce (Woodland Carbon Code officer, Coed Cymru and Dyfi Biosphere Climate Office, Ecodyfi).

Panel 2

Photo by Izzy Rycroft


Following much lively discussion, a drinks reception was held in the garden adjacent to the Pauling Centre.


Reception at Pauling Centre

Photo by Izzy Rycroft

The day finished with a celebratory dinner at Wadham College which was attended by the Chancellor, Lord Patten. You can find the text of Professor David Gellner's speech introducing Lord Patten here.


Chancellor's Speech at dinner

Photo by David Gellner