“So, what exactly IS liberal arts?” Be prepared to be asked this about 100 times during Freshers’ week (and continuously throughout your life). I study Liberal arts for my degree and I absolutely love it, so naturally when Liberal Arts society was formed in 2019 it was a game-changer. I sat down with president Evie Skyrme to chat about what the society can offer you.
So Evie, first of all the inevitable question- what exactly is liberal arts?
Liberal arts is basically an interdisciplinary degree. Even across universities it differs massively but here at Royal Holloway, we are offered modules from pretty much every department and get to choose what we study based on our individual interests.
Having been part of the initial formation of the society, you’ve returned this year as president. What exactly were the reasons for starting Liberal Arts soc?
Due to the nature of the course, every person tends to have a completely different degree meaning our cohort is so spread across the university. In first and second year we only have a few hours a week together, so we wanted to have this group for liberal arts students to actually spend more time together! It’s an opportunity to bring the different subjects and different knowledge into one place instead of everyone being completely disconnected.
Is the society open to non-Liberal Arts students and if so, why should they join?
Absolutely! We’re so open to anyone and everyone and we are working on creating links across the university as well as within our department. We were really lucky that in our first year we had a lot of success and so are able to put on a lot of events on this year. Our first term membership price will also be reduced so there’s no reason not to get involved!
What advice would you give to liberal arts freshers?
First-year is about experimenting and trying something that you may not have realised you wanted to do. You’ve only got to pass first year and I know everyone wants to do really well but in terms of module-picking I would say don’t feel like you can’t do something or you’re restricted by what you’ve studied before university. Experiment with which societies you join as well and be quick on joining- especially this year when we’ve got so little interaction.
And finally, what events can we expect to see from you this term?
Our most exciting event, as part of Black History Month, is a panel discussion involving a number of societies (Afro Caribbean, Women of Colour Collective, and history). Introduced by a talk given by Giuliana Pieri on how we view colonial buildings and art in the post-fascist era, the panel will then be opened to discuss the current situation in the U.K. Discussions like these are open to all students of the university. However, for those in the Languages, Literatures and Culture department we will be hosting zoom calls with current students, alumni, and lecturers, to give you an insight into potential experiences during your time at uni and beyond. Apart from that we will be doing lots of fundraising and doing our best to put on as many fun things as possible!
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