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Hilary Term Interview with the Master

After a term of leadership at Catz, we asked Master Kersti Borjars to describe her experience of life at the College.

What is your favourite aspect of College life?

I have really enjoyed meeting our students through the Collections process. This has given me a sense of the wide range of activities in which our students are involved.  Working in such an interdisciplinary environment is also a very positive experience, and especially the interesting conversations which are generated over lunch with colleagues from a variety of departments.

Have you found a favourite part of the College?

The whole College is beautiful, and I very much admire Arne Jacobsen’s design.  At the moment the gardens of the Master’s Lodgings are taking my attention – with the coming of spring, they look different every day.

Now that you are in situ, how do you feel that the College can best engage with outreach?

We have a great team working on outreach, and our current students also make a great contribution to school engagement activities.  Our Catalyst programme is a great example, and we are looking to expand this in order to engage with, and support, more schools in a sustained way.

In our 2019 Michaelmas Term article you described your penchant for running. Have you established a favourite running route?

I go for a morning run a few times a week, and have a lovely route out of the College past Magdalen College, along the sports fields and back across the meadow across the river from University Parks.  If the University Parks are open then they are also very nice, and there is Christ Church Meadows too. We are fortunate at St Catz to have an on-site gym, which is perfect for poor weather running, and there has been a fair bit of that!

Life in the city of Oxford is often described as a unique experience. Are there any pockets of hidden heritage in Oxford to which you are particularly drawn?

At Christmas I was given a guidebook which lists a number of walks around the city. One particular walk includes Walton Well Road in Jericho, and I was fascinated by a series of nine houses which have carvings above the door depicting the Biblical prophet Elijah.  I thought that these were really quirky and unexpected – very much part of Oxford’s hidden heritage!

Having been at the College for a term, what do you think makes Catz such a special place to study?

I think that it is most clearly the people and the community which make Catz so special.  The College has a lovely atmosphere and feels very open; I think that the style of the buildings helps with this.  It is a nice combination of traditional and innovative.

Rumours are afoot that we may soon see a puppy at Catz. Could you tell us more?

Indeed, it is true! Catherine, our new puppy, currently lives in Cannock but will move into the Master’s Lodgings at Catz soon. She has two brothers and one sister, and her sister will be trained as a hearing dog. We are looking forward to welcoming her to her new home at the College.

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28 November, 2022

The Alan Tayler Lecture 2022