On the 4th May, we were lucky enough to be invited to visit the Oxford Union on the evening of their weekly debate. We were particularly excited as the topic of this particular debate seemed rather unusual for a traditional debating society: ‘This house believes that Kanye is more relevant than Shakespeare’.
Before going in to watch the debate, we had a session with Brian (a world class debater!) on the art of debating. We discussed the nature of a debate, how to structure an argument, and how to respond to any points put forward by the opposition. Everyone got really involved in the discussion and we learnt a lot whilst also having a good laugh at some of the examples.
After a quick dinner in the beautiful Morris Room, we had a short tour around the rest of the buildings. A highlight for most students was spotting Albert Einstein in one of the photos and other photos featured a huge array of famous faces- HRH the Queen, the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa to name just a few. Everyone was very impressed by the depth of history that the buildings hold and by this time we were really excited to see inside the chamber.
As we entered the debating chamber, the pre-debate was just drawing to a close and we got the chance to see Brian’s debating skills in action. Then, after a lengthy insight into the rules procedure of the Oxford Union, the guest speakers entered and the debate began. All the speakers were truly fascinating and the highlight for most of us was the rapper, Big Narstie, whose novel way of approaching the question had us all in fits of laughter. Equally enjoyable was the world-leading Shakespeare expert Liz Schafer who sought to prove her point through acting out famous Shakespeare scenes. We can’t think of many other occasions where these two would end up debating each other!
All in all, it was a very special evening and we send a big thank you out to the Oxford Union for welcoming us in for an insight into the society and debating.