Scenes from Student Life

Ellie Cawthorne hears about student life from the horse's mouth
Ellie Cawthorne hears about student life from the horse’s mouth

This scenic  history of 900 years of British student life for BBC Radio 4  looks   at the  diverse  experiences  of higher education from the student perspective.  Click here for the full series

We looked for a  new presenter who has just experienced student life. Over 80  students and recent graduates applied for this freelance assignment,   and after a tough selection process we chose Ellie Cawthorne.

Ellie  recently completed an MA in History at the University of Nottingham.  Her research interests sounded like great subjects for radio programmes in themselves.  One was her study of male sexuality in the 1930’s seen through newspaper problem pages.  The other was a Victorian child sex scandal with  strong contemporary reverberations.  She also produced a fact-based drama,  about female internees suspected of being Nazi sympathisers in World War 2, for  last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.  Just the kind of social history which we’re looking to illuminate in Scenes from Student Life.

We have  900 years of history to consider.  Some themes recur, like  social mobility,  protest and ‘bad behaviour’  and some come controversially  late to the party, like the participation of women.

Uncommon room
Uncommon room

Above  – a tea party in a Victorian  ladies’ study bedroom. Something of a rarity.   This series  puts student lives past and present into perspective and  frames perennial questions: Who goes through it?  What was  everyday life like?  Was it worth it?


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