Homerton College celebrates 250 years of free-thinking education!

MCR and JCR Presidents join Principal Geoff Ward in cutting Homerton's 250th birthday cake

It’s 2018 and we’re marking the occasion by throwing open our doors to the public, with a programme of events under the banner Homerton 250: Cambridge Now.

Founded in London in 1768, Homerton moved to Cambridge just before 1900. Once an academy for the Nonconformist Church, then a renowned teacher-training college, Homerton has been, since 2010, a full college of the University of Cambridge.

As the newest Cambridge College, we get to do things a little differently, while still bringing 250 years of our own distinctive history to the task. Our first address, in 1768, was in Homerton High Street in London, and since then we’ve been able to adapt constantly as the needs of our world have changed – training firstly for the church, then for the classroom, and now for all the world’s great challenges. London then, Cambridge Now: Homerton College stimulates, challenges and excels.

Our 250th year is a year of celebration for us – not just of all things Homerton, but of all things Cambridge – and it is our absolute delight to open our doors to you as part of it. Cambridge’s 31 colleges bring together students and academics from all the university’s many departments and faculties, and create smaller, diverse communities of teachers, learners and researchers – so, to celebrate 2018, we’re asking three ‘burning questions’ that require that sort of integrated approach, combining different academic fields. We’ll ask: what is the future of healthcare? What does it mean to be human? And how do we drive change?”

These burning questions provide the framework for Homerton’s 250th anniversary year, and resonate with other anniversaries. 2018 marks 500 years since the foundation of the Royal College of Physicians, 200 years since the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and 100 years since women could first vote, at the end of the First World War.

Events will be added throughout the year, you’ll have the chance to fire questions at our experts, play with new medical technology, quiz our students, get stuck in with a hands-on workshop, sit back and enjoy world-class music, or get all dramatic with our actors, directors, and producers. We guarantee you’ll find something that appeals.

Participating in the celebrations will be Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England; Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca; and Dame Evelyn Glennie, the world’s first professional solo percussionist. From Homerton’s own fellowship, healthcare systems researcher Prof Mary Dixon-Woods and oncologist Prof Tim Eisen will be part of a panel discussing the genomics revolution in healthcare, and Prof Ward himself will explore “what it means to be human” through the gothic horror of Frankenstein’s monster.

The first public event, called Action Stations, is set for Saturday, February 10. Imagine a speed-dating format to learn about the future of healthcare. Each ‘station’ will feature researchers demonstrating their particular take on healthcare, from gene editing, to wellbeing in the classroom, to bioengineering, to medical education. Groups start at one station, and after eight minutes move to the next. It’s highly participative and, at the end, there’s a chance to meet the researchers personally and discuss their work in more detail.

Registration is still open, though tickets are limited to 100. All ages welcome.

You can sign up for updates for this and the other Homerton 250th anniversary events at homerton250.org.