The welcome at the Centre and at the College was excellently organized, I received the keys of the Centre and my office immediately upon arrival. Sarah Moran, the European Studies Centre Administrator, prepared a nice welcome package and offered all kinds of useful support. And unbelievable: the IT-installation was a piece of cake. Only the set-up of my blogging platform took some time.
The college staff was immediately available for a series of little accommodation problems and they fixed what was within their reach.
Last but not at least, Julie Irving, the College’s Senior Members’ Administrator, carefully prepared all required and useful paper work, and introduced me to all relevant services. She fixed my badge so that it literally opens all required and desired doors for me.
Several welcome events took place:
- One in the European Studies Centre:
- The new Warden, Professor Roger Goodman, invited old and new St Antony’s Fellows to a welcome drink. It is surprising how many nationalities are represented at the College.
Julie Irving organised for all of us a name label mentioning — in addition to our names — three keywords describing our research interest. Mine were: ‘Evidence’, ‘Brain’ and ‘Policymaking’. These labels were nice ice-breakers for our first talks.
- Further, we also enjoyed a College welcoming dinner, an excellent opportunity to meet staff and other fellows.
I enjoyed being invited to typical Oxford rituals such as a ‘High Table’. Having watched all episodes of the political satire British series ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Yes Prime Minister’, I was pretty well prepared on what to expect. Such traditions are really marvellous.
After the welcoming period, we will get on with our projects!
Towards the St Antony’s College Group photograph…
Similar as we do at the European Parliamentary Research Service at the European Parliament, it is a good St Antony’s college habit to make group photos. However, at the EP, we organize it safely: dry and weatherproof, in the Library Reading Room. While the St Antony’s College’s tradition wants the photo to be taken on the College lawn… The organization was impressive. On the picture below you see the photographer using a megaphone to give instructions (kind but firm), curiously observed by the youngest fellow around… It started to drizzle a bit and we were afraid it would rain by the time the scene was ready for the photo (the camera was protected from the British precipitation by an orange plastic cover, as you can see in the background). Luckily, in the end it did not rain!
We are all very interested in how the College group picture will look like. This will follow in a next blog post…
Our Librarian guided me through the extraordinary St Antony’s library. So far, the two most remarkable libraries I had worked in were those of the University of Leuven and the European Parliament Library. However, the Library St Antony’s College Library beats both… In addition, we can access the library 24/7, which is very useful for the students – though, I still try to sleep at night. The library building and reading room are most impressive. The library and reading room occupy the former chapel, refectory and chapter house of a former convent, being part of what is now called the “Old Main Building”.
The library building and reading room: