What Really Matters is a Jesus College initiative, originally devised by our Access Fellow Dr Matthew Williams, that aims to engage people in some of society’s most pressing issues through discussions with high-profile speakers in related subjects.

We will keep this page updated with information on each discussion in the series and a link to the video recordings of the sessions. 


The Forum on Race and Education explored some of the key issues around race and education in the 21st Century.  It was hosted by journalist and broadcaster Samira Ahmed with a panel that included Adrian Clarke (Careers Leader, Ernest Bevin College), Clare Williams (alumna in English of Jesus College) and Patricia Daley (Vice-Principal of Jesus College, Equality & Diversity Fellow and Professor of Geography).

Forum panelists

The discussion covered the role of education in bringing about societal change in the UK, anti-racism in the context of white privilege and what needs to happen now to bring about racial equality? The black experience participants gave moving personal testimonies of their journeys and the online audience were able to ask questions.

WATCH NOW -  https://youtu.be/Vi1IrwSB70k



In the second of the series, we explored how we might approach the economic and societal challenges we face in a post-pandemic world.  ‘The economy, sustainability and the workplace in a post-pandemic world brought together a panel of experts in finance, economics, geography, and sustainability, to look at the actual and potential impacts of COVID 19 on the economy and consider whether they are likely to be short or long-term. Among the questions covered during the discussions were 'Can the UK's economy recover from the impact of the pandemic and what role will Brexit play?'; 'Has the pandemic challenged the business community to think seriously about environmental sustainability?' and ' Will a global recession change thinking about free market approaches to the economy?'

WATCH NOW - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI85yeDvjIc&feature=youtu.be



This discussion focused on a new initiative that aims to promote and celebrate the social sciences, humanities and arts. SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and the Economy) aims to emulate the influence and reputation held by STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – in secondary education and academic research.

The initiative, set up by the London School of Economics, the British Academy, Academy of Social Sciences and Arts Council England at the end of June 2020, seeks to reverse the declining value given to social sciences, humanities and arts subjects and level the playing field with STEM subjects by promoting the value of those subjects, including encouraging schoolchildren to choose SHAPE subjects at GCSE and A-level. There is also a drive to incentivise undergraduates to pursue SHAPE subjects at university, and for decision makers to recognise the value of research in SHAPE subjects in allocations of grant funding. 

WRM 3 Panel

Our panelists were 

Julia Black, CBE FBA, Strategic Director of Innovation and Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Dane Comerford, PhD, Director of the IF Oxford: Science + Ideas Festival, Paulina Kewes, FRHistS, Professor of English Literature and Fellow of Jesus College, Katrin Kohl, Professor of German Literature, Jesus College Fellow and Tutor in German and Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded research project Creative Multilingualism, Diarmaid MacCulloch, DD, FBA, FRHistS, FSA, Emeritus Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford and Vice-President for Communications and Engagement, British Academy and Johanna Waters, Reader in Geography at UCL and Jesus College alumna.

WATCH NOW - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3s89gKi_gU&feature=youtu.be


What Really Matters is a collaborative series overseen by Patricia Daley (Vice Principal, Equality & Diversity Fellow and Professor of the Human Geography of Africa at the University of Oxford),  Paulina Kewes (Professor of English Literature and Fellow), Dr Brittany Welner James (Director of Development) and originator Dr Matthew Williams (Access Fellow).