< Back < Back


Blooming lovely in the Master’s Garden

Group of studentsThis summer, the Master’s Garden has hosted many wonderful events from the Garden Play to an event celebrating Black excellence.

George Sand’s Gabriel was performed as this year’s Garden Play in May, with additional support from Oxford Playhouse and the Cameron Macintosh Foundation. Clare Bayley, award-winning playwright, scriptwriter, short-story writer and Univ’s Visitor in the Creative Arts 2020-21 translated the play.

Director Ellie Warr (Oxford Playhouse, RSC) worked with Univ’s original director Nina Lewis (2019, English) and Ishmael Levy (2020, Classics), whilst dramaturgs Amy Terry and Jessi Clayton worked with Amy Nichols (2019, History) and designer EM Parry (Shakespeare’s Globe, Northern Broadsides) worked with a student design team from the Ruskin School of Art.

Baroness Valerie Amos and Naomi MburuThe first ever Celebrating Black Excellence Garden Party was held at University College on 17 May, hosted by Baroness Valerie Amos, the Master. The idea for this event came from a conversation Naomi Mburu (2018, DPhil Engineering), Rhodes Scholar, had with Valerie in her first term as Master.

Naomi commented, “During this conversation, we discussed how although the university is gradually becoming more diverse, black students and faculty/staff rarely find opportunities to interact unless they happen to be in the same department or college. This is when the Master, Baroness Valerie Amos, suggested the idea for the garden party, and I ran with this idea and decided to make it a reality.”

Celebrating Black Excellence attendeesThe event brought together over 120 undergraduate students, postgraduate students, post-doctoral researchers, staff, and faculty from across the University. This event was a unique opportunity for attendees to form connections across these different groups at the university, and we received overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who attended. Naomi also secured support from the University’s new Black Academic Futures scholarship program to fund a photographer to document the celebration. We look forward to holding more of these events in the future.

Roses in the Master's GardenYou can read an interview with Naomi here.

The Master’s Garden was also used in the amazing Univ College Ball on 24 June.

Photos of Celebrating Black Excellence Garden Party: Maranga Mokaya

Published: 12 August 2022

Explore Univ on social media

University College Oxford

Contact Univ

If you have any questions or need more information, just ask: