The interactive afternoon session, led by the College Librarian and specialist in medieval literature Dr Petra Hofmann, saw the students explore a selection of original medieval manuscripts and early printed books held in the old library. This was a wonderful occasion for the students to experience first-hand the amazingly conserved resources, and spaces, of St John’s library and they were fascinated by what was on offer.
After exploring the resources, the students then had the chance to get their creative minds working in the calligraphy master class. Using calligraphy markers and coloured brush pens, each student wrote out a passage from an Anglo-Saxon text in the style of one of the manuscripts. Many medieval texts also display intricate ornaments in the margins, which the students replicated in colourful style, as can be seen below.
The session constituted part of a Year 10 Exploration Day run in coordination with the Access Office. As part of their day, the students and their teachers also benefitted from an introductory lecture about the University of Oxford, quizzes and games, a critical thinking seminar, a question and answer session with some current undergraduate students and a tour around the beautiful, historic quadrangles of the College.