Celebrating 150 years of Newnham College

Newnham College 1871–2021: 150 years of… pioneering, inspiring, supporting, sharing.

We invite you to embrace the Newnham spirit of the radical and rebellious. Join us in celebrating 150 pioneering years of excellence and inclusion – and shaping the 150 years to come.

The 150th Anniversary celebrations will run throughout 2021 and through to the Summer of 2022. Fellows, alumnae, staff and students are invited to come together for a series of inspiring, engaging events.

The Anniversary is an opportunity for the College and its alumnae to take forward our mission of education, learning and research, and to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to equality, diversity, social engagement, and empowering women. And of course, we’re also planning for plenty of quirky fun.

Lecture Series

Four outstanding thinkers, all Newnham alumnae or Fellows, all of them shaping public discourse in their area of research – and often far beyond – will deliver a series of Lectures during the Anniversary. The first two will be virtual.

Friday 19 February 2021 – virtual – Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser (NC 1983), a plant biologist who has shaped our understanding of how living organisms develop and is the newly appointed Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation.

Friday 30 April 2021 – virtual –  Professorial Fellow Rae Langton FBA, Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University. Her work addresses contemporary social issues such as hate speech, animal ethics and pornography.

Friday 22 October 2021Professor Jane Humphries CBE (NC 1967) is an economic historian who developed innovative research techniques to uncover the forgotten history of working-class men and women in the Industrial Revolution. She is Professor Emerita of Economic History, and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.

Date TBCProfessorial Fellow Dame Mary Beard (NC 1973) is known internationally, thanks to her work on the public understanding of the Classics.

Festival of Arts, Sciences and Ideas

The Festival of Arts Science & Ideas will now be staged in two parts – the first delivered digitally on Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 July 2021, and the Live Festival over the weekend of 2 & 3 July 2022.

The third stream of events for the Anniversary is the Open Programme.

‘150th Open Programme’ – the Challenge is on!

Encouraging innovation, challenging the past and current thinking, a glimpse of what Newnham might be tomorrow.

From the Weighty to the Whimsical – The Open Programme

A facet of the 150th Anniversary events programme which consists of a series of ventures conceived of and delivered by YOU! It offers an opportunity for everyone from the global Newnham Community – Fellows, alumnae, staff and students – to connect, have their voice heard, and to become a part of our ongoing legacy.

The Open Programme will run from February 2021 through to Summer 2022, reflecting the College’s diverse community, and expanse of academic disciplines.

From the weighty to the whimsical, topics could include women and leadership, sustainability and the environment, social issues and inclusion, life in the Covid-era, food and drink, College history and heritage, health and wellbeing, sport and more… You might want to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Pride, International Women’s Day, Green Week, World Peace Day, Black History Month, National Poetry Day, Libraries Week, World Book Day, Anti-Slavery Day … or your project might simply be a stand alone event but which has lasting impact.

Our aim for the Open Programme is to engage audiences within College, and beyond; to inspire, excite, delight and challenge; to enrich our lives; for us to be happy and healthy.

Curious and Creative? How to get Involved:

We’d love you to submit project proposals for the Programme which encapsulate an issue or topic you are particularly passionate about, that you want others to hear about and become engaged with, which challenge past and current thinking, and offer a sneak preview of what Newnham might look like in the future.

You can do this as an individual, group or as part of a society or external organisation. You may want to deliver your project – large or small – virtually or with a real life element involving groups of up to six. It might be an exhibition or display, zine, short film, social media challenge, digital relay, lecture or talk, pop-up, musical or mentoring moment. Your project can sit within one discipline, across several, or work with another discipline – it’s yours to choose.

All we need from you initially is a brief description (150-300 words) which includes the idea behind your project, what you want to do, why you want to do it, why it is important – and why now. It must fulfil at least one of the 150th Anniversary Criteria for Success (see below).

The Open Programme Committee, made up of representatives from across the Newnham community, will review your submission, see how it fits, or how we can work with you to develop it to fit – into a diverse set of complementary projects in the Programme. We will aim to get back to you within fourteen days of receiving your idea.

How We will Support You and Your Project

There is funding available to help you create and deliver your ideas. You might also want to draw on funds which may be available from groups or societies you may be a member of or wish to collaborate with, or you might want to cover your costs through ticket sales. So we’d love to hear about ideas to include in the Open Programme which can be delivered at ‘no cost’.

There will be three rounds of funding.

Round 1 is open now and closes on Friday 18 December. This is for projects to run between 20 February 2021 and 31 August 2021.

Round 2 will open for applications on Monday 31 May and close on 31 August 2021. This is for projects to run between 10 October and 31 December 2021

Round 3 will open on Monday 1 November 2021 and close on Wednesday 15 December 2021. Projects will run between 1 March 2022 and 30 July 2022

Round 1 has funding available from £50 to £2000, rounds 2 and 3 will also have funding.

We’ll support your project by publicising it through the College’s 150th Anniversary website, e-newsletters and social media both in advance of the event and during delivery – whether a single day event or longer running project.

The College will have space available at no cost where events can be held (subject to Covid-19 Code of Conduct). You will be responsible for booking the space and ensuring you have any equipment you may need.

You will receive a 150th Promotional Pack which will include the 150th Anniversary logo, core messaging, and other useful tips.

Criteria for Success
Projects must meet at least one of the following 150th Anniversary Criteria for Success:

• Takes forward Newnham’s mission of education, learning and research: for, by and with women.
• Shows the College as a place of new thinking and research of international significance.
• Demonstrates College values of equality, diversity and social engagement.
• Explores Newnham’s history, our present and our future alongside each other.
• Supports the College’s goals of sustainability.
• Embraces a spirit of the radical and the rebellious.
• Deepens the relationship between alumnae and the College of today.
• Represents and promotes interactions between all disciplines: arts, humanities, social sciences and STEM.

Please send your proposal to Newnham150@newn.cam.ac.uk with ‘Open Project 1’ in the subject line.

The seeds are being sown for a very special idea – The Global Tree Planting Project

‘Trees are the ultimate multi-taskers in the fight against climate change’  The Woodland Trust

We are hoping to see 150 native trees bought, planted and maintained by alumnae around the world, with the first and 150th trees being planted in the College gardens to bookend the Anniversary celebrations.

‘It is often time spent in the Newnham Gardens which alumnae recall most fondly when reminiscing about their years at College. The wonderful trees in the Gardens play a major part in those memories. We thought that a worldwide Tree Planting project could be a joyful way of not only of connecting existing alumnae (and alumnae groups) around the world, but also giving a sense of planting greenness, shade, and beauty for future generations of Newnhamites. There’s a lovely Ancient Greek proverb which says, ‘Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit under.’ Jo Burch, President of the Roll Committee.

For more information contact Newnham150@newn.cam.ac.uk with ‘Trees’ in the Subject Line.

We are so excited to hear your ideas and see you at some of our events to celebrate such an important anniversary.