A Message from The Master
The Young Univ Gallery is both a physical exhibition and multimedia project, with the aim of demonstrating the breadth of Univ’s younger alumni’s achievements to our prospective and current students, and, indeed, to all who visit the College or website.
Univ students arrive at College from a wide diversity of backgrounds and move on to enjoy a rich diversity of careers. Some follow well-trodden paths into established professions or with major institutions, but many move off the beaten track both in the UK and globally, to set up their own enterprises, work in the voluntary sector, or become writers and performers.
Most aspirant and current students are broadly unaware of the multitude of paths open to them upon leaving College and of the remarkable achievements of many of our recent alumni. We hope they will be inspired by the Young Univ Gallery.
Over the past months the College has created a photographic record of almost 50 Old Members aged 35 or under, which we believe best presents the range of important, unusual and impressive journeys taken by our alumni.
I thank all who took part in The Young Univ Gallery which we trust will have a lasting impact throughout the Univ community.
About the Young Univ Gallery Project
The Young Univ Gallery project has been the model of a collaborative process. Over the course of nearly a year and under the guidance of the Master, Sir Ivor Crewe, who conceived the project, the Gallery has taken shape in both physical and digital form.
The majority of portraits were taken by local Oxford photographer John Cairns across a series of event days to which our subjects were invited. Scoping almost every corner of Univ’s main site (and beyond) for suitable locations, John created a series of portrait options which were subsequently shortlisted by both Sir Ivor and the individual participants. Whenever possible these event days were also used as an opportunity to interview our subjects on a range of topics relating to their time at, and memories of, Univ and their wider views on the College’s engagement with both prospective and former students.
Behind the scenes both the Development Office and Communications Team worked to create and collate the supporting materials for the Gallery, including biographies, alumni information, photo captions, video content and print material. Additionally the Development and Academic Offices provided valuable advice on how the project could best serve the wider College community.
The Communications Team, Domestic Bursar’s Office and Works Department were instrumental in organising the hanging of the portraits in the Hall and the logistics of the launch on 25 February, 2017.
The Young Univ Gallery was a project of many moving parts, made possible only by College-wide collaboration and cooperation – and, of course, by the generosity of time and support of our alumni community.
The additional Pinterest board, including group photos and behind the scenes pictures, can be viewed here.
University College – known simply as Univ – is arguably the oldest of the Oxford colleges. Founded in 1249, it is currently home to approximately 360 undergraduate students, 200 graduate students, and 80 Fellows. Univ is regarded – both in Oxford and globally – as a world-class centre of academic excellence.
Univ is an ancient college but alert to the need to innovate and lead the way in Oxford education. It has taken pioneering initiatives to widen its intake of undergraduates, provide graduate scholarships and expand its estate. It welcomes students from the widest possible range of backgrounds and ways of thinking. Although undeniably rigorous in its academic expectations, Univ offers an inclusive and nurturing environment for those who attend. Our alumni (or ‘Old Members’) return frequently for events and to support and encourage new initiatives. Univ is enormously proud of their achievements in a vast range of fields and professions, not just within the more traditional post-Oxford career paths but in personal enterprise, the voluntary sector and the performing arts.
Find out more about Univ on our website here.
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About John Cairns
John is a professional photographer specialising in portraits and documentary photojournalism. He started taking photographs to record the size of fish he caught as a young teen in his local river. As John grew, the fish got (slightly) bigger and the cameras followed suit. Finally admitting that photography was a hobby that had got out of hand, John left his day job – as a Biology teacher – and has never looked back. He lives in Oxford, but frequently works throughout the UK and often overseas.
Commenting on his involvement in the Young Univ Gallery, John says: ‘It was a real privilege to be a part of this project and to meet the enthusiastic young alumni, pursuing such a wide variety of interesting careers. I enjoyed the challenge of using a different background for each subject to try and ensure that no two portraits look the same. There aren’t many parts of College we didn’t use.’
You can see more of his work at johncairns.co.uk