This Michaelmas Term, Choral Contemplation at Somerville will concentrate on the idea of “the soul” as expressed and understood in different spiritual and philosophical contexts

Every week a guest speaker will deliver a 20 minute address which explores this theme from their particular perspective.

These talks will be accompanied by music from Somerville’s distinguished mixed-voice choir.

This term’s programme will include a talk by Mark Bostridge, the biographer of Vera Brittain (1914, English), to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Other upcoming speakers include the philosopher Dr Deborah Casewell on the mystic and activist Simone Weil and Egyptologist Professor Elizabeth Frood on the Ancient Egyptian conception of the afterlife.

The choral repertoire for this term ranges from works by composers like Mozart and Taverner to spirituals and carols.

The Choral Contemplation series is inspired by the College’s foundational commitments to inclusivity, free enquiry and boundless curiosity.

When Somerville first opened its doors in 1879 the college’s mission was defined by two criteria: to provide a superlative standard of education for women and to do so free from any particular religious or denominational affiliation.

Every Sunday during term, Somervillians gather in Chapel for Choral Contemplation. These events take place instead of the traditional act of Christian worship celebrated in the majority of Oxford colleges; they are secular in nature and defined by their inclusive and interfaith approach.

Members of the public are welcome to attend these events which begin at 6pm on Sundays in term time and are listed on the Chapel Events page.

Further reading?

Dr Siddharth Arora joins the Oxford India Centre as Programme Director

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18 October 2021
Dr Siddharth Arora joins the Oxford India Centre as Programme Director

Professor Frances Stewart named Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

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15 October 2021
Professor Frances Stewart named Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

Remembering Somerville Co-Founder Henry Francis Pelham

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11 October 2021
Remembering Somerville Co-Founder Henry Francis Pelham