skip to content

Celebrating 40 years

The celebrations will run throughout the academic year 2016-17 as we explore the impact of women past and present in the Sidney community and beyond. This page will be continuously updated with information throughout the year.

The Annual John Thornely Lecture - 24 April 2017

The thirteenth Annual John Thornely Lecture will be held on Monday 24 April 2017, at 6.45pm, at Quadrant Chambers, Quadrant House, 10 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1AU.

The College is delighted to announce that this year’s lecture, ‘Carry on, don’t lose your head: Prerogative v Parliament from Cromwell to May’, will be delivered by Poonam Melwani QC, a commercial silk who practises across the full spectrum of commercial, insurance, energy and shipping law, providing advisory and advocacy services. Poonam has been ranked as a 'Leading Silk' over many years by the Legal Directories, and represents clients in a wide variety of jurisdictions and arbitral regimes including ICC, LCIA, LMAA, as well as English High Court Litigation, mainly in the Commercial Court and the Appellate Courts.

International Women's Day Formal Hall - 8 March 2017

To celebrate International Women's Day 2017, the College held a formal hall for Sidney women. For perhaps the first time, those in attendance comprised solely women as former Master Professor Dame Sandra Dawson noted in her inspiring post-dinner speech. SSCSU Women's Officer Alannah Lewis wrote a special message which was printed on the evening's menu cards:

The theme of this International Women's Day is "Be Bold for Change". In the academic year 2016/17, Sidney Sussex celebrates the 40th anniversary of a moment of great change: the first admission of women as undergraduates. It was foreshadowed on Wednesday 18 June 1975, at approximately 2:20pm, by the admission of Lynne Brydon to a Research Fellowship, making her the first woman to become a member of the College. Then, in Michaelmas 1976, the first cohort of female undergraduate students matriculated, marking a bold change for the College and the University as a whole. At that point, Churchill, Clare and King's were the only other previously all-male colleges to have admitted women but by 1988 all others had followed suit. Sidney led the way again in 1999, when it elected Sandra Dawson as Master, making it the first previously all-male College in Cambridge to have a female Master. For 40 years the female, and female-identifying, members of Sidney have enriched the College community through their intellect, talent, courage, and good humour. Today we boast an array of famous alumnae from many academic disciplines. There is much to celebrate in their achievements, and much to be inspired by.

 Nevertheless, as we celebrate these past achievements, we remember that change is slow to come for many women in the world, who still face barriers to their enjoyment of basic human rights and gender equality. We have the enviable power of an education and it is within our grasp to identify injustice and strive for change where it is needed. Let us acknowledge our distinctive experiences as women, but also recognise our privileged position and use it to strengthen and sustain each other, challenge norms and assumptions and to work with those around us to effect real change in our own community and beyond. Our College has made bold steps in the past to include women, to the benefit of the whole community. It is important that we continue to build on these fundamental achievements with compassion and an ambition to ensure a future of widening participation and increasing equality at Sidney.

Sidney Sussex Medical and Veterinary Society Triennial Dinner 2017

You are warmly invited to attend the Sidney Sussex Medical and Veterinary Society Triennial Dinner, to be held on Saturday 11 February 2017. This year our guest speaker is Dr Neha Pathak, Clinical Academic Fellow at Queen Mary University of London, recent recipient of the ‘Ultimate Game Changer’ prize at the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women Awards and Sidney alumna.  She will be discussing her lauded research in "From Madagascar to Cosmo: an unexpected academic journey". For more information click here.

40 years of women in SSBC - Alumni Dinner 2017

In 2016-17, Sidney is celebrating 40 years since the first admission of women as undergraduates. As the first women undergraduates entered Sidney Sussex College in 1976, the Boat Club similarly opened its doors to female rowers. In 1975, Sidney gained its first female cox, and women’s IVs soon after hit the water and raced in the Lent and May Bumps. 40 years on, we aim to celebrate women in the Boat Club, and in our 2017 the 180th birthday of SSBC gives us further reason to invite all Sidney rowing alumni back to College on Saturday 21st January 2017. For more information click here.

The Sidney Greats 2016-17

The Sidney Greats seminar series is designed to give the college community of students, staff and Fellows an opportunity to learn more about classic texts and foundational ideas. Founded by Fellows in English Clive Wilmer and Dr Edward Wilson-Lee in 2012, Sidney Greats has quickly grown into one of the most popular events in the academic life of the College. This year, the Sidney Greats series will focus on marking the anniversary of 40 years since the first admission of women as undergraduates in 1976:

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 18:00

Professor Janet Todd on Jane Austen's 'Emma'.

Thursday, 3 November 2016 18:00
Professor Dame Anne Dowling on 'Silent Aircraft?'. 
Thursday, 17 November 2016 18:00
Dr Clare Chambers on Feminist Political Philosophy.
Tuesday, 24 January 2017 18:00  
Dame Fiona Reynolds on Octavia Hill. 
Tuesday, 7 February 2017 18:00
Dr Ceri Owen on Barbara Hepworth.  
Thursday, 23 February 2017 18:00   
Professor Rebecca Kilner on 'Behaviour and Evolution'.   
Tuesday, 7 March 2017 18:00
Dr Anna Whitelock on Elizabeth I.

Graduate Seminars - MT 2016

The MCR hold twice-termly Graduate Seminars where current students showcase their ongoing research to a general audience of students and Fellows. In the first of these in Michaelmas 2016, the speakers are:

MANUELA DI FRANCO (2014, Italian): 
'Foreign contamination: American presence in 1930s Italian popular magazines'
TAHMIDA HUQ (2015, Graphene Technology): 
‘The role of graphene and related 2D materials in a sustainable world’

Sidney Sussex Medical and Veterinary Society

Sidney Sussex Medical and Veterinary Society, in collaboration with the 40 Years of Women at Sidney Initiative, are proud to present a talk by Mrs Scarlett McNally BSc MB BChir FRCS(Tr&Orth) MA MBA FAcadMed on one of the most prescient issues in medicine: "Women in Surgery: Bullying, Inactivity and Restoring the NHS". The talk will be held in College on Wednesday 30th November. 

Now a consultant Orthopaedic surgeon in Eastbourne, Mrs McNally qualified in 1989 from Trinity College. During her time at Cambridge she earned a Blue in Karate and is now 4th Dan black belt. She was the 9th woman elected onto the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2011 and oversees Women in Surgery at the College, acting as Medical School Surgical Liaison. In addition, she has lectured about preventing bullying in Australia and has had roles at BMA, BOA, BSMS and was Trust Director of Medical Education (2008-11).

The Chorley Society

Dr Alice Evans will give the first seminar of the year to the College's geography society this Wednesday (9th November).  Dr Evans is currently researching social change and inequality. Having published on Zambia, her seminar will draw on recent fieldwork in Cambodia.

The seminar will be held at 6.15pm in the Knox Shaw Room in Sidney Sussex College