The theme for our 2017 Virginia Woolf Summer Course was Woolf's Rooms.
Dates: Sunday 16 to Friday 21 July 2017
Venue: Homerton College, Cambridge
This course is now finished. We had an amazing week of intensive lectures, supervisions, discussions, and readings. We paid visits to Girton and Newnham Colleges, and heard about the talks Woolf gave there. These talks were then revised to become A Room of One's Own (1929), one of Woolf's most influential books. It was moving to sit in the very rooms in which Woolf spoke to young women undergraduates in 1928. We also went to King's College and the Fitzwilliam Museum. Further details of the week can be found on our Facebook page. Sincere thanks to our inspiring teachers, and to our wonderful, enthusiatic students of all ages, from all over the world, who made this such a memorable week.
Why are rooms so important in the writing of Virginia Woolf? Who needs a room of their own, and why? The use of space was, and remains, a political issue. Who has space; how is it used; how is it shared (or not)? What is the relationship between rooms and creativity; rooms and power? We will explore these and many other questions through five key books by Woolf, listed below.
Woolf's Rooms summer course immerses students for a week in the writing and context of Virginia Woolf. There will be lectures, readings, supervisions, and excursions, all focused upon Virginia Woolf and her work. Each day starts with a lecture and discussion presented by a leading Woolf scholar. Then there is a Cambridge-style supervision, given to students in very small groups, and taught by lecturers and post-doctorates from the University of Cambridge. Supervisions (tutorials) are a unique opportunity to discuss a work in depth, try out ideas, and refine your close reading skills.
Our speakers include leading scholars Gillian Beer, Sinead Garrigan Mattar, Alison Hennegan, Claire Nicholson, Jane Potter, and Trudi Tate. Some evenings we will have readings and talks, including a talk by Kabe Wilson on his remarkable re-writing of A Room of One's Own. Interview with Kabe Wilson here; article here.
After lectures, supervisions, and excursions, students will have some time to read and think in the beautiful setting of Homerton College. And there will be chances to read further, explore Cambridge, talk with other students, and to reflect.
We also offer a second week of study on Reading Bloomsbury, 23-28 July 2017. Further information here.
In 2017 we will study these books by Woolf:
A Room of One's Own (1929)
Jacob's Room (1922)
The Waves (1931)
To the Lighthouse (1927)
Between the Acts (1941)
Supervisions last for one hour. Students meet in very small groups (usually 3 or 4 students) with a Cambridge supervisor to discuss the topic of the day, looking closely at the text of the day. Weather permitting, some supervisions can take place in Homerton's beautiful gardens.
Every day there will be time to spend reading Woolf, to reflect upon the work covered so far, and to prepare for the next day's work. A rare chance to immerse yourself in Woolf's writings and to take the time to read and think.
There will be a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum to see the original manuscript of A Room of One's Own with one of our expert guides. We will also visit King's College, which has interesting Woolf connections, and is seen as a model for the men's college described in A Room of One's Own. We will visit the rooms at Girton and Newnham Colleges in which Woolf gave talks in 1928. Some free time is included in the schedule, so you may visit other Cambridge colleges, museums, and Heffers bookshop, walk to Grantchester, or go punting.
A valuable part of the course is the chance to talk with other students, of all ages, who are deeply interested in Woolf. And there are plenty of places in and around college where you can read and think by yourself.
Evening activities include talks, readings, and a formal Cambridge college dinner. Some evenings will be free for you to pursue your own interests, or spend time with other participants.
Accommodation and meals
Our students stay in good quality student accommodation in Homerton College, living as Cambridge students do. The main buildings are lovely Victorian gothic, while the bedrooms and bathrooms are comfortably modern, all single and ensuite. The accommodation is a short walk from the lecture room, on the same site.
There is a college café/bar on site to buy light lunches and snacks, and a number of nearby restaurants and cafés, including the award-winning Cambridge Cookery School café just across the road. Or you can venture a bit further into the city centre, to explore a wider variety of culinary options.
Communal meals are an important part of our course. A welcome dinner, a traditional afternoon tea, and a formal college dinner are all included in the course fee.
Places are limited. You can contact us for registration forms via the button below, or email us at email@example.com
Comments from students who attended our 2016 course:
• This summer course is one of my top experiences.
• The course is still resonating – I think it was the immersion. The course was a real inspiration.
• Terrific program. I am going to do my best to come back next year ... You did an exceptional job providing something for everyone, no matter their background. A big thank you.
•Thank you so much for this course. It was excellently run and has reinvigorated both my enthusiasm for the Cambridge way and, most importantly, for Woolf’s works.
• Very well organized, enthusiastic staff, diverse range of activities, wonderful location! Thanks for everything!
• Clear speakers whose enthusiasm is engaging and stimulating.