Robinson College News
October 2020

What's happening at Robinson and how you can join in


Coronavirus Emergency Appeal - thank you for supporting Robinson's People

In response to the crisis caused by the pandemic, Robinson launched a Coronavirus Emergency Appeal in May, asking our alumni and friends to help us shield Robinson’s People from the impact of COVID-19. We have been thrilled by the response, and an amazing £287,209 has been raised, including gifts made during the recent Telephone Campaign. We have already been able to use these new funds to help students suffering hardship because of family breakdown or parental job loss, unexpected travel expenses, or who have had to extend their period of study owing to lost lab time. We are enormously grateful to all those who have made a contribution – thank you!


Forging a Career in Law in a pandemic

The College’s Law Society held its annual Law Careers Evening this month, an event not – as would normally be the case – taking place in the Umney Theatre, but instead, owing to COVID-related safety measures, being held as a live Zoom webinar, easily accessible to any Cambridge student. Featuring a panel of alumni, lawyers and recruiters from Baker McKenzie, Norton Rose Fulbright and Slaughter & May, questions focused primarily on the pandemic’s impact on both the legal recruitment process and day-to-day office life, allowing pressing concerns amongst the student body to be addressed comprehensively by those in the know. We are very grateful to Roy Pearce (1988, MML) and Rahul Mansigani (2010, Law) for giving their time and helping to provide this guidance to students.

Live music is back in the Chapel


Robinson's student musicians were busy making music during lockdown, and visited us at home via their online weekly concert series: RCMS from Home. You can watch this concert series on the RCMS YouTube Channel or Listen on the RCMS website. Now the new academic year is underway, with new President Carl Ashworth in place and all necessary safety measures implemented, RCMS has launched its Friday evening concerts from the College Chapel. You can follow this concert series and other events organised by Robinson College Music Society on their Facebook page.


Robinson honours

We are proud to announce that in Queen’s Birthday Honours List two of our alumnae were honoured. Amy Louise Holmes (1996, Land Economy), Director, EU and International Trade, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was awarded Companion of the Order of the Bath for public service. Francesca Elizabeth Sainsbury Perrin (1998, Social and Political Sciences), Philanthropist and Founder, Indigo Trust was awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire for charitable service particularly during Covid-19. Many congratulations to them both!

#Book Bridges

Every library has its own distinct and individual collections. Robinson College is not an exception. Although its history is relatively short, thanks to hard work and ingenuity of its founders and the successive librarians, as well as benefactors and donors, there is a group of books that our College Librarian Ms Judith Brown is sharing with the wider audience. On the College website and on Twitter, you can follow the stories told by 52 books selected by Judith for their unique and in some cases significant link with the College. She believes that every book we read can act as a bridge, although we might not always appreciate how it is changing us.

Chapel Conversations

This Michaelmas term, in order to minimise the risk of infection and observe social distancing rules, the Robinson College Chapel community has shifted the majority of its activities online. Throughout the Summer the College Chaplain, Rev Dr Simon Perry, interviewed different thinkers from around the world, beginning with the theme of 'The Fall of the Temple'. Interviewees have so far included Professor Mary Beard, Rabbi David Rosen, CeLilliane Green and Professor Brian Brock and each interview is followed by a piece of music performed by our wonderful Chapel Choir. Recordings are released every Friday at 5pm, and you can watch them as they come online here.



Robinson College Sykes Prize

We are delighted to announce the new Robinson College Sykes Prize for creative writing, which has been established to support interconnections between English and other languages, as well as the creative endeavours of current students. The Prize has been funded by a generous donation, for which the College is very grateful. More information can be found here.


Digital design excellence - a new prize from André Fu

Robinson students in all disciplines now have an opportunity to win £1,000 for innovation and excellence in digital design. This new prize is funded by André Fu, who studied Architecture at Robinson from 1994, who firmly believes that the digital design platform is the future. We are enormously grateful to André and look forward to seeing our students' designs.


For the Mighty ‘Binson

After months of staying away from Cambridge waterways and keeping fit by exercising in their local parks and back gardens, Robinson rowers are back in their boats. Owen Buchan (Engineering, 2017), the new Robinson College Boat Club Old Blades Secretary reports, "… it's not all doom and gloom. With risk assessments filled and appropriate Covid measures now in place, the fleet has been making a return to the Cam. Outings have resumed for seniors and novices, with the LBC's boasting 32 novices recruited thus far - it is good to see Covid has not doused Freshers’ hunger for blisters and early mornings. Regrettably, they are no 'save the dates' for me to give out, but here's hoping that next term will be different." Please keep your submissions for the RCBC Archive coming – we have had some brilliant ones so far! The link to upload your memories is here.


In November Robinson will hold two of its annual events online:

Commemoration of Benefactors, Sunday 1 November

At this special event each year the Warden, members of the Fellowship and invited guests welcome the opportunity to give thanks to College benefactors for their support. On Sunday 1st November a pre-recorded service will be made available via the College website. It will include a short service, a reading and prayers, a music programme featuring Robinson Chapel Choir as well as a conversation with Bishop of Ely ,The Right Reverend Stephen Conway. You can watch this programme on Sunday 1st November by following this link.

Carol Service, Sunday 29th November

Robinson's traditional Advent Carol Service and Christmas Concert have this year been combined into a Carol Service that will be available online to alumni and supporters all over the world. We hope you will join us on the last Sunday of Michaelmas term by following this link.

Online event with Lord Sainsbury, Wednesday 4th November

The Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge would like to invite you to attend an online event with the Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Lord David Sainsbury, on "Innovation, Competitive Advantage and the Productivity Puzzle", Wednesday 4 November 2020, 10.00am - 11.00am.

Lord Sainsbury will discuss how a sectoral analysis of the UK’s rate of growth shows that a slow rate of innovation and a loss of competitive advantage are the high level causes. The challenge for policymakers is now to develop policies that will improve the innovative performance of the UK’s firms, and as a result their competitive advantage and value-added per capita. 

Following his presentation, Lord Sainsbury will join in conversation with Professor Bart van Ark of the University of Manchester, Director of the UK’s major new Productivity Institute, and Professor Diane Coyle as Chair, to discuss what governments, businesses and all of us can do to tackle questions of job creation, sustainability and wellbeing, as the UK looks to a post-pandemic future full of technological and environmental upheaval. 

There will be the opportunity to ask questions to the two guest speakers. 

We hope you will be able to join Lord Sainsbury, Professor Bart Van Ark and Professor Diane Coyle as they answer the productivity puzzle: how do we speed up the UK’s economic growth in this time of change?

To book your place please follow this link.

With very best wishes from all at Robinson,

Sarah, Catherine, Norbert and Helen
Robinson College Development Office