What makes us Newnham?

At its heart, a Cambridge College is a community of learning, teaching and research. But at Newnham, perhaps more than most, learning and research lend us a quiet determination to change the world (and, maybe, not always so quiet.)

In 2019, we asked Newnham students, staff, Fellows and alumnae what makes us Newnham.

Courage and curiosity

As we learn more about global issues, we are determined to tackle them. As society responds to the pandemic, Newnham researchers are developing ground-breaking medical technologies. Students and alumnae are campaigning against climate change, while academics research its impacts and how to mitigate them. Our Legacies of Slavery Inquiry responds to students’ concerns about racial equality, while Archives of the Disappeared documents the communities destroyed through political repression.

Thought-leaders and change makers

Our research starts from a point of engagement with the world – and the research that starts here can inform others, shape policy, and change opinions.

Pathfinders and pioneers

In a year of struggle, we look back 150 years, to the pioneers who shaped our College. Their courage and sheer bloody-mindedness paved the way for a global community of women. (And let’s not forget that this was a global community from the start – one of the first attendees of Lectures for Ladies was the young Bengali poet Toru Dutt.)

Teamwork and talent

We celebrate the people of today: our whole community of researchers, teachers, students, staff and alumnae. In Lent Term 2021, with students learning remotely, we’re a little more global than we might like – but our community continues none the less. We’ll be improving women’s representation in Wikipedia, supporting student mental health, and creating a map of feminist history.

This makes us Newnham.

And so we look forward, to the next 150 years. We’ll be part of a transformational new access scheme for disadvantaged students. We’ll discuss the future for women’s colleges in the 21st century with other women’s colleges across three continents. We’ll plant trees around the world. We’ll celebrate, create and discover.

And we’ll aim to leave a legacy for the Newnham of 2121 to be proud of.