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30th October 2014

Exonians Excelling: Celebrating 35 years of women at Exeter College

On 25 October Exeter marked the 35th anniversary of women studying at Exeter with a celebration of the lives and work of female Exonians – Fellows, staff, and alumnae.

The list of speakers is below.

  • Rector’s welcome
  • Professor Christina de Bellaigue, Jackson Official Fellow in History, on “The First Teenagers: Puberty in 19th Century France” (not available as a podcast)
  • Professor Jo Dunkley, Tutorial Fellow in Physics, on “Back to the Big Bang”
  • Dr Sophie Butler, Gwyneth Emily Rankin Fellow in English, on “The Diary of a 17th Century Lady”
  • Student Panel: “Life at Exeter in the 21st Century”, chaired by Katrina Hancock, Director of Development and Official Fellow (1998, Earth Sciences), with Tutku Bektas (2013, Jurisprudence), Efat Ben Eliezer (2013, Medical Anthropology), Beatrice Natzler (2013, PPE), Katie Tibbles (2012, History), and Rachael White (2013, Classics).
  • Reflections from Exeter’s Alumnae, introduced by Christine A’Court (1979, Physiological Sciences)
  • Susan Grocott (1982, Jurisprudence) on “Decision Making in the New Family Court”
  • Lebby Eyres (1990, Literae Humaniores) on “The Devil Wears Primark”
  • Amy Sackville (2002, English Studies) on “Telling Stories”
  • Angela Palmer (2002, Fine Art) on “A Fine Artist in Oxford”
  • Hannah Matthews (2003, Literae Humaniores) on “From Plato to Mangoes”

About the speakers:

Professor Christina de Bellaigue (Fellow in History) (regrettably Professor de Bellaigue’s speech on “The First Teenagers: Puberty in 19th Century France” is not available as a podcast)
Christina is Associate Professor, Jackson Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Exeter College, Oxford. She studied at Cambridge and the Sorbonne and came to Exeter in 2005 after a Junior Research Fellowship at Merton College.  Her research focuses on the social and cultural history of Britain and France in the nineteenth century.  She is currently working on a study of the history of puberty and adolescence.  Alongside this, she is developing a comparative project on family and social mobility in nineteenth-century Britain and France.
Professor Jo Dunkley (Fellow in Physics)
Jo is Professor in Astrophysics at the University of Oxford. Her research in cosmology studies the origins and evolution of the Universe. Dunkley’s work involves determining properties of the Universe such as its rate of expansion, the nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and its behaviour in the first moments after the Big Bang. She is a particular expert in the Cosmic Microwave Background, light that gives us the earliest possible view of the Universe. She was part of the science team for NASA’s WMAP space satellite, and now works on the Planck space satellite, the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in Chile, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. She has been awarded the Maxwell Medal for physics and the Fowler Prize for astronomy. She teaches undergraduate and graduate physics students and is a tutorial fellow at Exeter College, Oxford.
Dr Sophie Butler (Fellow in English)
Sophie joins Exeter in October 2014 as the Rankin Fellow and Lecturer in English Literature, and will be teaching literature from the period 1550-1830. Her main research interests lie in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, focusing primarily on the emergence and early development of the literary essay as a new genre in English writing. She is particularly interested in different modes of literary production and circulation in manuscript and in print, in the history of reading, and in women’s manuscript writing of the period. Dr Butler took her undergraduate, masters and DPhil at New College, Oxford and then held a year-long College Lectureship at Corpus Christi, Oxford before joining Exeter. At Exeter, she has a special focus on teaching students from the Williams-Exeter Programme, as well as Exeter undergraduates.
Christine A’ Court (1979, Physiological Sciences)
Christine is an Oxfordshire GP and Clinical Researcher at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Services in Oxford. She joined the Department when studying the accuracy of diagnostic and monitoring devices used by health professionals and the general public. This led on to a fuller understanding of the potential for high quality research to improve patient care, and a realisation that for the public, involvement in research helps mitigate the disempowering effects of illness. From this stemmed her personal interest in how best to promote research in the primary care setting. Having introduced many local Health Centres to the benefits of involvement in research, she is now a South Midlands & Thames Valley NIHR Primary Care Research Champion.  Once practices appreciate the enthusiasm of patients for NHS research, the personal development opportunities for staff involved, and the support available, more are prepared to consider how to integrate research into their extremely busy working week.
Susan Grocott (1982, Jurisprudence)
Susan Grocott undertook pupillage in London in Fountain Court where she was a pupil of Peter Goldsmith, the former attorney general and David Railton, and at 5 Pump Court with Michael Jennings. In 1988 Susan joined Queens Chambers in Manchester and established a mixed common law practice which evolved into a busy family practice particularly in money work and care proceedings. Susan moved to the family team at Deans Court Chambers in 2002 from where she continued to build a formidable reputation as a leading family practitioner in both money and children work. Susan’s practice has always encompassed all aspects of family and related work including professional negligence claims in the family field, TOLATA, declaratory work and judicial review. In 2008 Susan was appointed to the rank of Queens Counsel. She was Leading Counsel for the Local Authority in Re S-B. She has developed a reputation for a meticulous eye for detail and powerful straightforward advocacy. In silk Susan continues to undertake both money and care/private law children work and she increasingly undertakes advisory work for various public bodies on practice/policy issues.
Lebby Eyres (1990, Literae Humaniores) (regrettably Lebby Eyres’s speech on “The Devil Wears Primark” is not available as a podcast)
Lebby Eyres is the newly appointed Editor for new! the celebrity news magazine that is part of the same group as Star and OK!  After completing her degree at Exeter, she started her career in book publishing, working specifically on a sports and fitness guide reviewing gyms. She then spent two years in Spain as a TEFL teacher before returning to the UK to work in television as a researcher on a programme for people with disabilities. Lebby then moved into contract publishing, and started to focus on showbiz, TV and film. She worked on magazines for satellite TV companies, and was deputy editor and then editor for Home Choice magazine, which was an early video-on-demand service that has since been eclipsed by Sky+. After a short period as a freelance journalist, gaining more experience on newsstand publications, writing and true life stories, she started working at new! in 2004 moving up to Editor earlier this year.
Amy Sackville (2002, English Studies)
Amy Sackville studied English and Theatre Studies at Leeds before taking an MPhil in English from Exeter College, Oxford. She later went on to an MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths. Her first novel, The Still Point, was published in January 2010 by Portobello Books. It was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for a work of literature by a writer under 35, and was also long-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Dylan Thomas Prize. Her second novel, Orkney, was published by Granta Books in spring 2013, and won a Somerset Maugham Award in 2014. She lives in London and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Kent.
Angela Palmer (2002, Fine Art)
Angela is a sculptor and installation artist. She studied as a mature student at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford and the Royal College of Art in London. Prior to her studies in art she had a career in journalism during which she was Home News Editor of The Observer, magazine editor of The Observer and editor of Elle magazine. Now a full-time artist, she is represented by The Fine Art Society in London. One of her most noted works is ‘The Ghost Forest,’ a group of 10 mighty rainforest tree stumps with their roots intact, which she brought from a logged virgin rainforest in Africa and exhibited in Trafalgar Square, Copenhagen, Oxford and Wales.
Hannah Matthews (2003, Literae Humaniores)
Hannah read Classics at Exeter College followed by an MSc in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. For the subsequent six years, she has worked in the development/humanitarian sector in Bangladesh, Haiti, Rwanda, Senegal, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. For most of her professional life Hannah has worked for major international NGOs, including Save the Children, Oxfam, and Plan. She has also worked on a flagship project for the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). Hannah was born and brought up in Madrid; she is bilingual English-Spanish, and fluent in French and Portuguese. Hannah has recently returned from West Africa and is currently exploring the idea of setting up a social business to export mangoes.
Tutku Bektas (2013, Jurisprudence)
Tutku Bektas is a second year law student. She’s originally from Istanbul. Currently, she serves as the secretary of the Exeter College JCR and the vice-president of the Oxford HUB, a student-lead charity who recently awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Efat Ben Eliezer (2013, Medical Anthropology)
Efrat is an Israeli physiotherapist and after almost two years of practice realized that she wanted to deepen her understanding of therapy and its dynamics. She is currently doing her second year MPhil in Medical Anthropology and focusing on the experience of touch in relation to chronic pain – a project she is very keen on continuing towards a DPhil.
Beatrice Natzler (2013, PPE)
Bea is a second year studying Philosophy and Economics with an interest in International Development. She has really enjoyed her time at Exeter so far. For Bea, Exeter was an easy college to choose,  as it boasts alumni such as the author of her favourite childhood series, His Dark Materials. Bea has particularly come to value the emphasis on a welcoming community atmosphere at the College, and the range of opportunities to get involved in college life. She is currently the Female Welfare Rep for the JCR, which involves offering confidential support, providing the college with weekly “welfare tea” and running sexual consent workshops.
Katie Tibbles (2012, History)
Katie, is currently in her third year studying for a BA in History. Throughout her time at Exeter College Katie has consistently enjoyed the wide range of opportunities the College of students such as the tutorial system, careers events and a broad range of recreational activities. Looking beyond graduation, Katie is interested in a number of sectors, particularly Development and Events Management.
Rachael White (2013, Classics)
Rachael is a second-year D.Phil student in Classics, working on the influence of classical literature and ideas on Australian culture from 1788-1918. She completed her undergraduate degrees in Arts and Law at the University of Adelaide and worked in law for two years before moving to Oxford in 2012 for an M.St. Rachael is currently the MCR’s OUSU Rep and has enjoyed being part of Exeter’s friendly and active MCR, as well as the close-knit Exeter House community in her first year.
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