Blackheath High's academic enrichment programme ‘The Wollstonecraft’ continues to grow, and the school were delighted that two alumnae recently returned to deliver inspiring, thought-provoking lectures.
Named after the 18th century writer, philosopher and advocate of women’s rights, ‘The Wollstonecraft’ programme includes guest speakers, academic societies and innovative elective courses available to girls throughout the Senior School and provides girls with inspiration, a broader context for their examination courses, and the opportunity to test themselves intellectually.
Eliza Cummings-Cove, a recent Durham graduate returned to BHS to deliver a lecture on post-feminism, sexual liberation, consumerism, misogyny and inequality with reference to today’s celebrity culture. As a part of her Sociology studies, Eliza wrote her dissertation about the Kardashian family; whether they actually represent post-feminism or whether post-feminism truly exists. Her dissertation attracted widespread interest in the media and her lecture completely enthralled students.
Eliza explained that the way in which the Kardashians promote an image of confidence for young women by expressing their sexuality in a very public and explicit manner is changing the representation of women within media and in society. This opened up an intelligent debate with students on how young women today express themselves and their relationships with themselves and with others.
Charlene White was then welcomed back to the school for an equally inspiring and also very amusing lecture in which she advised students to: “Just be you, just be great, just be fabulous.” The journalist and ITN broadcaster spoke passionately about her journey to success in the highly competitive industry of journalism and broadcasting. She told of her experiences growing up in South–East London accompanying her mother to local markets and living in a modest household where her parents had three jobs between them to fund her education. She recalled honestly how she has had to confront racism and sexism throughout her life and how this has made her stronger, stating that she is: “proud of all experiences because they made me who I am today.”
Ms White encouraged students to: “Aim high, be ambitious and have dreams,” adding that this must be reinforced with lots of hard work, resilience and determination. She also advised the girls to seize every opportunity to gain work experience and to network in order to break into their chosen profession.
Such lectures provide real inspiration and motivation to students and Blackheath are always looking at ways in which GDST alumnae can become more involved with the school. Therefore, if you feel that you would be able to offer a lecture yourself, BHS would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact Corrie Rafferty: firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8857 8410.