Our first St John's on the Road events proved to be a great success, with alumni across the country getting to meet and reminisce over dinner and drinks, or enjoy a cultural event. This is certainly the start of something exciting, and we hope to offer further events over the coming year. Emily and Helen from the Development and Alumni Relations Office have been travelling across the country to host events, which you can read about below. Several of our trips were to places St John’s has never held events before, and it was great to be able to offer the opportunity for alumni to meet up and make friends without having to make the sometimes difficult trip to Oxford.
On 20 January we hosted an informal dinner at Bistrot Pierre in Nottingham. We were delighted to be joined by the President for our first ‘On the Road’ event, and we enjoyed an evening of good food and great conversation. The new Library and Study Centre was a source of much interest, while a diverse range of matriculation years led to many fun stories being swapped. It was great to be able to make what we hope will be the first of many trips to the region.
21 January saw the team arrive in Birmingham, to host a tour of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and an informal lunch. The tour focused on the collection of artworks for which Birmingham is most famous, the Pre-Raphaelites. Helen (who studied History of Art at St John’s, matriculating in 2012, then read for a MPhil in History of Art at Jesus College, Cambridge) acted as guide, introducing works by Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood founding members William Holman Hunt and Sir John Everett Millais, as well as one of Birmingham’s most famous sons, Edward Burne Jones.
After the tour itself, we all made a trip to that other famous collection, the Staffordshire Hoard, before taking in a convivial lunch at Bistrot Pierre, by the canal. We were joined at lunch by Professor Lloyd Pratt, Drue Heinz Professor of American Literature, who enjoyed the opportunity to meet St John’s alumni. Thank you so much to all the alumni who attended, and helped to make it such a friendly and enjoyable occasion.
‘The Other Place’ played host to us on 27 January, as we were joined by alumni for an informal dinner at Côte Brasserie. Cambridge seems to be a popular destination for St John’s alumni, so it was lovely to be able to bring a little bit of Oxford to Cambridge, and offer an opportunity for alumni to meet one another. The evening ended with many hopes to meet again and stay in touch, and we certainly hope to return soon.
Museum of London
We are keen to offer our alumni a greater variety of events, so we were excited to be able to host two tours of the Museum of London on 28 January. The first of these was designed as a family tour, giving St John’s alumni an opportunity to bring their children and families along to an event. Our tour guides Philip and Alex from the Museum of London both gave us fascinating insights into the comprehensive collections of the Museum. From the c.5000 year old Shepperton Woman, to the Art Deco lifts from the original Selfridges, the Museum really does have something to suit all tastes.
Thank you so much to all the alumni who have joined us for ‘On the Road’ so far. It has been a real pleasure meeting you and hearing your stories of St John’s, and about your lives since leaving. We hope that future events will offer a chance for many more meetings. If you would like to attend an ‘On the Road’ event, or have a suggestion as to where we should visit, we would be delighted to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.