The Alleynian 705 2017

No.705 | 2017


C r u s h i n g t h e m a l e s t e r e o t y p e I n s e a r c h o f a c c e p t a n c e L i v i n g w i t h h y b r i d n a t i o n a l i t y L o s i n g t o u c h w i t h r e a l i t y F a i t h : a f o r c e f o r u n i t y

Dulwich Linguistic / Wellbeing, the teenage brain and mental health / Politics: Trump Science / Community action / Expeditions / Writing / Art / Drama / Music / Sport

The front cover features masks made by Louis Downham (Year 12), which capture the protean nature of masculine identity that is the subject of our lead article. The inside and rear covers show images that say something about the identity of boys at Dulwich - Union society ties are as much a badge of belonging as they are part of the school uniform, while collecting the stamps offered as part of Dulwich Linguistic week encapsulates a sense of identity formed by experience


T his, the 705th edition of The Alleynian , is more polemical than ever. The Alleynian has always provided an insight into the life of the College and the experiences of Alleynians over the past year. The pages that follow contain, we hope, much that does this: from reports on Dulwich’s annual festivals of freelearning, Dulwich Linguistic and the Upper School Symposium, to in- depth coverage of what’s been going on with Wellbeing and our community initiatives, to reviews of the multifarious activities that make the College the vibrant place it is – of music, drama, sport and much else. However, this year our tight-knit editorial team commissioned a number of student writers to consider some of the most prominent quandaries of the modern era. From Trump and populism to the environment and the nature of consciousness (with a bit of knitting along the way), we discuss the most contentious contemporary issues in a world seemingly on the brink of a revolution. But the most pressing issue of all, we felt, is that of identity. To ask the question, ‘who are we?’ seems increasingly urgent – the establishment of an equality society reflected a wider concern among young people about gender identity and, by extension, modern masculinity; nationalism appears to be having a resurgence and we explore the viewpoint that Dulwich boarders are uniquely positioned to give on this; even the nature of reality is arguably compromised by new technology. Elsewhere in this issue is an expanded literary section, containing more of the accomplished poetry and prose of talented Alleynians and their contemporaries from the Charter School, plus reviews of books published by former members of the Common Room about Old Alleynians – one name in particular will be familiar. By using these pages to offer a variety of views, we aim once again to capture the diversity of conversations and debate that goes on at Dulwich, and look outward as much as The Alleynian has always looked inward.

Staff editor Rory Fisher

Staff team Nathalie Coppin Colm Ó Siochrú Mary Jo Doherty Student editors Aidan Williams Dan Norton-Smith Barnaby Mills Finnian Robinson

Staff Section editors Art: Robert Mills Drama: Kathryn Norton-Smith

Music: Jemima Lofts Sport: Phil Greenaway OA: Joanne Whaley, Trevor Llewelyn, Emma Elliot Photography Efforts have been made to credit photographers where possible; The Alleynian team would like to thank anyone whose photographs have not been specifically credited Drama photography by Maggie Jarman, Fred Robb (Year 10), Ed Reid (OA), Nobby Clark, Jamie Spillet (Year 12), Dominic Robertson

Valete photographs by Maggie Jarman Design and Layout Nicholas Wood Proofreader Michelle Margherita

Printing Cantate With thanks to: Joseph Spence, for his continuing

encouragement and support, Maggie Jarman, Peter Jolly, Robert Baylis, Richard Sutton, Jo Akrill, Helen Frater, Sarah Griffiths, Ella Davison, Phil Cue, Kate Cutler, Matthew Burdekin, Paul Fletcher, Deborah Field, Victoria Joseph, and all our contributors, particularly colleagues in the Common Room, who have met some very tight deadlines without complaint

Aidan Williams, Dan Norton-Smith, Barnaby Mills and Rory Fisher


ARTICLES & REPORTS WHO ARE WE? THE IDENTITY ISSUE ‘They’re just like that’: crushing the male stereotype Birth of a movement: the Equality Society London pride, British ambivalence: hybrid nationality Losing touch? The reality crisis Faith: we are all participating in the same ritual





Educating for wellbeing Where monsters roam: the teenage brain A voice for a silent problem: mental health



Mr Trump goes to Washington Two cheers for populism An optimist because of will

Of mind and matter



From Service to Action: a shared relationship with the community Rowing nowhere Make Dulwich green again



INTERNATIONAL Bridges across the world: a trip to Dulwich schools in China International day THE UNION Woolly thinking: The rise of Knit Soc

CURRICULUM In defence of… A-level subjects





Berlin Indonesia Sicily Pamplona EXPEDITIONS 64-74

INTERVIEW Simon Northcote-Green

ART 75-96 2017 ART REVIEW

The power of vision: three art reviews





Theatre as forum


Grease Tristan and Yseult Prince of Denmark A2 devised drama – Agent ZigZag and Invisible Man House Drama

Upper School Middle School Lower School

Y12 devised work – Cautionary Tales NT New Views #Somme 100



In fine voice: singing at Dulwich Review: Winter Concert Stage struck at the Royal Opera House The Composition Competition At liberty in the land of the free: the Music tour of America Music through the year

SPORT Review 2016-17 Rugby Football



Cricket Hockey Rowing

Basketball Water Polo Skiing

E W ?


‘They’re just like that’: crushing the male stereotype

This academic year began with the Senior Prefects launching the Equality Society and ended with news that other schools were considering gender-neutral uniforms. Issues of identity, whether of gender, nationality, religion or even our humanity in the face of new technology, have dominated conversation at Dulwich and beyond, with young people asking the most searching questions. In response, The Alleynian editorial team wrote and commissioned a series of articles on the theme of identity. First off, Aidan Williams (Year 13) explores the multiplicity of masculinity and enters the discussion around what it means to be ‘a man’ in today’s society

W hen I dressed up as a kid, the ‘Snow White’ dress was my favourite. As a boy with two older sisters, perhaps a sense of traditional masculinity wasn’t properly drilled into me until I got through primary school. Perhaps five-year-old me wasn’t astute enough to notice that dresses were usually worn by girls. Surely, though, something as trivial as a piece of fabric shouldn’t define our understanding of gender? In 2014, there were 4,623 male suicides, averaging at 12 men per day taking their own lives across the UK. According to Samaritans, ‘Masculinity – the way men are brought up to behave and the roles, attributes and behaviours that society expects of them – contributes to suicide in men’. Even before they can choose for themselves, male toddlers are given blue clothes and toys over pink ones, the action

figure over the Barbie doll. And when they can choose for themselves, boys and girls are polarised by advertising to conform to gender stereotypes. Adverts for Hot Wheels, for example, traditionally feature a male voiceover and generate a combative atmosphere, encouraging the brash, testosterone fuelled ‘boy’s-boy’, which so many young boys strive to become. Rebecca Asher, author of Man Up: Boys, Men And Breaking The Male Rules , argues that young boys and girls mostly cluster in the centre where their genders are less defined, but then are polarised to gender extremes through the way they are brought up. These days, such arguments can perhaps seem unsurprising, a product of well-established societal conventions. It is widely acknowledged that polarised genders can have many negative effects. Yet while the most obvious consequences of polarised

femininity – such as lingering societal expectations for women to be passive and submissive – are being discussed more widely than ever before (and rightly so), the downsides of polarised genders for men are often overlooked. Robert Stringer, a father of an 18-year-old man who took his own life, commented on unrealistic expectations placed on men. ‘Men should be dynamic, problem solving, in control, go-getting, vital, successful and soft – as and when required. Men’s magazines are about tight abs, not how you feel. Currently there is no real way of reaching men to discuss how they feel’. And while men are often encouraged to open up and be more receptive to discussing their feelings, many men feel that it is not socially acceptable to possess ‘female’ or ‘feminine’ qualities. In contrast, Tim Samuels, author of Who Stole My Spear? argues that although it is not all about



reach the expected level in reading than girls’. And at GCSE in 2016, 71 per cent of female entries achieved at least a C grade compared to 62 per cent of male entries. Diane Abbott MP suggests that, ‘British society has given in to a fatalism about outcomes for boys — the “they’re just like that” syndrome’. Perhaps there is a natural difference between boys’ and girls’ ability to handle education, but while it is an acceptable social norm for boys to be getting worse grades, boys will get worse grades. It seems that men are caught between, on one hand, an unrealistic expectation of peak masculinity, and on the other, a stigma that expects men to underperform. This leads to a diminished sense of self-worth. Would it be beneficial to do away with the term masculinity altogether? Janet Hyde of the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a gender- similarities hypothesis, which suggests that males and females are similar on most psychological variables. She claims that 78 per cent of gender differences that she found were small or close to zero. While this experiment is by no means exhaustive – and, of course, biological trends exist that distinguish men from women, like the different levels of different hormones produced in the different sexes – the study does suggest that genders are more similar than generally believed. Of course, there is nothing wrong with masculinity itself (unlike its most extreme stereotype). However, removing unfounded preconceptions around gender is an appropriate social challenge and will prove to be hugely beneficial for all. If it does not matter how masculine or feminine you are, maybe these suicide numbers would drop and perhaps we would see a shift towards gender equality. With men

It seems men are caught between, on one hand, an unrealistic expectation of peak masculinity, and, on the other, a stigma which expects men to underperform

being macho, many men have an underlying force to belong and identify that is linked to productivity. When these needs are not met, men feel inadequate. To me, however, it seems unlikely that this feeling of failed productivity stems solely from not providing an outlet for biological differences between the sexes. Instead, I believe it at least partially arises as a reaction to the tapering off from centuries of male social dominance. Georgia Greaves of JAGS gave a talk at the Equality Society on ‘The Effect of Gender Stereotypes on Masculinity’. She noted that she found herself instinctively hiding behind a male friend when a ball flew towards her as she watched a sports match. In a similar manner, she questioned whether this is a result of a biological difference between the sexes or of cultural influence, which is embedded through advertising and social tradition. Ironically, another problem for men lies in the way that male failure has become normalised. In education, there is a gulf between male and female performance. The political journalist Isabel Hardman comments that, ‘Girls seem to glide through primary school, while boys trudge. Seven-year-old boys are seven per cent less likely to



under less pressure to conform to macho stereotypes, perhaps even the pay gap would shrink. It’s about time. Rohan Mistry (Year 13), President of the Equality Society here at Dulwich, has argued that legislation to extend paternity leave so that it is equal to maternity leave would be a huge step towards gender equality. In schools, work towards less polarised genders through the destruction of stereotypes has been consciously and subconsciously carried out. From a study of hundreds of pupils across schools in southern England, Mark McCormack of Brunel University reveals in his book The Declining Significance Of Homophobia: How Teenage Boys Are Redefining Masculinity And Heterosexuality and its accompanying blog post ‘10 Surprising Facts About Straight Teenage Boys’ that he discovered ‘a culture of decreasing homophobia’ compared to ten years ago. He also discovered that boys are more likely (and comfortable) to make physical contact with one another in an affectionate, but not sexualised, manner. He describes this as ‘homosocial tactility’ and it is a visual step towards a societal shift where men can share their feelings more comfortably. What I found most enlightening, however, is that McCormack notes the way in which boys are able and willing to talk about how they have stigmatised homophobia, using intellectual discussion to justify homosexuality as they would with any other topic. I can see this at Dulwich, too. The launch of the Equality Society by Rohan Mistry and the Senior Prefects has brought an unconscious social change into conscious academic discussion – one of increasing tolerance and

Would it be beneficial to do away with the term masculinity altogether?

acceptance, especially concerning gender fluidity and sexual orientation. Michael Bacon (Year 13) comments, ‘I think the continued success of Equality Society is characterised by the opportunity to discuss and debate topics that perhaps are not brought up in Common Room conversation’. When looking at the College superficially, one may see a traditional masculine institution – grand buildings, chapel services, a prevalence of rugby. However, look a little deeper and you discover a pioneering Wellbeing programme and integrated support system, a pupil-led drive towards further inclusivity and countless sporting, cultural and academic pathways for students to pursue free from criticism and judgement, all of which are hallmarks of a progressive, 21st-century school. At a time of global exclusivity, when traditional masculinity seems to be taking over once more (hi, Donald), when one per cent of the world’s

population possesses 99 per cent of global wealth, and when socially liberal policies such as LGBTQ+ rights in the US are in jeopardy (thanks again, Donald), it is increasingly crucial that young people cherish inclusivity and celebrate difference. At the heart of London, Dulwich reflects the inclusive nature of the capital: inspiring difference and debate in young men and instilling the initiative to question society’s long- held principles. We’re not ‘just like that’. We are what we choose to be. And what we choose to be is defined by our conversation. So, let’s talk.



Amongst all the issues concerning identity that have been discussed at the College this year, none has been more prominent than that of gender equality. Rohan Mistry (Year 13) charts the emergence of Equality Society, the weekly discussion forum that kick-started the debate Birth of a movement T his year, a key goal of the Senior Prefect body has been to promote acceptance and

Committee was also able to host a talk by Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism project. Laura came to speak to over 100 boys and girls from the Foundation schools in January. An incredibly charismatic and inspirational figure, she spoke of how she had been moved by the everyday sexism experienced by both men and women and how she felt she needed to do something after an especially tough week in 2012. Those who had come to watch Laura in the auditorium of the new Laboratory were left speechless at some of the utterly shocking statistics she imparted: one in four women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, and globally one in three women will experience violence at the hands of a male partner, to name two of the most outrageous. However, Laura’s optimistic, empowering and inspirational message of a ground-up movement to change the ethos and culture of not only Britain but also the world was thought provoking and galvanising. The Dulwich community was in clear agreement about the challenge, but also the significance and value of the cause. We are incredibly proud of The Equality movement that my team and I have started at DC. I have no doubt that we will continue to work towards its goals at Dulwich and throughout our lives.

The Committee, run by Dan Norton- Smith, Barnaby Mills, Michael Bacon, Uzair Malida and I, formulated the idea of creating a society which would meet weekly to provide an arena for any and all ideas to be discussed, debated and observed; a place where those who might be unaware of certain ideas or cultures in the world could listen but also engage and ask questions. Since the foundation of the society we have held over 20 talks, with numbers growing and growing week by week. I can say with confidence that the Equality Society is one of, if not the, most popular society at DC, and also within the Foundation schools. Being able to partner and learn from JAGS in the creation process was invaluable and now the Society has a regular mix of both boys and girls. Moreover, it is refreshing to see that week on week the audience has changed and diversified: where previously the society had a dedicated cohort, now, no matter what interests or type of person – Rugby, Drama, academic, shy, confident – all are willing to join the discussion and are enthusiastic about coming along. The talks have ranged from freedom of speech to feminism to fascism and there continues to be a long waiting list of individuals (boys, girls, teachers, students) who want to give a talk to the 50-plus audience each week. With coordination and help from JAGS and Alleyn’s, the Equality

diversity against a global backdrop of rising discrimination and intolerance. One would hope this is the aim of any institution and government, especially at a time when many people feel more divided, and it is right that Dulwich should take on such a global, ambitious and worthwhile cause on a local level at a time when it was most needed. The team put together to take on this duty was first labelled the ‘Dulwich College Pro-feminism Team’; however, after further discussion, we felt that the term ‘equality’ was more appropriate, as it gave greater scope for discussion of issues regarding gender, the growing LGBT+ community, sexuality, race, income and much more. The Equality Committee would look to explore all these issues within the already progressive attitudes of the College. We never had the intention of shoving alternative views down boys’ throats; rather we wanted to promote further a tolerant, accepting and diverse community that is unafraid to speak out on issues, but also makes a positive difference. We knew that from a pupil’s perspective we could do even more to help encourage the development of well-rounded young men – men who are aware, supportive and inquisitive about today’s big issues. We were the ones who were passionate to see this plan take action.



London pride, British ambivalence

Dulwich boarders possess a unique perspective – coming from one country but growing up in another. Finnian Robinson (Year 13) speaks to three about their hybrid identities

P olitical philosopher Jeremy Waldron argues that cultural identity is best understood not as a monolith but as a ‘mélange’ of affiliations. My conversations with some of our Year 13 boarders from overseas seem to vindicate this view. Charles Cheung, originally from Hong Kong; Shamil Amirov, from St Petersburg, Russia, and Kamil Aftyka, from Dansk, Poland, are at one in identifying themselves as both members of their respective nations and proud Londoners. Charles, however, is keen to differentiate between overlapping identities that a boarder might acquire here in Dulwich. ‘I can associate myself with the title “Londoner”’, he muses, ‘but “British” is quite hard. I haven’t been to a lot of places in Britain – although I do support Liverpool!’ (Cheung’s steadfast support for the Merseysiders is something for which I can personally vouch, having been the recipient of countless excited Snapchats when Sadio Mané scores.) On further probing, however, even the relatively delimited identity of ‘Londoner’ is not specific enough

Russian ‘depends on the aspects of my personality or whatever activity I’m doing’. This seems particularly understandable in Shamil’s case. Having come to the UK at the age of nine, he has spent half his life here. Linguistically, he thinks himself ‘roughly as strong in English as in Russian, because I speak English 24/7, but I only speak Russian during the holidays’. Indeed, he jokes that, at home, many of his fellow-countrymen see him as English. Interrogating the identities adopted by émigrés, we have, perhaps, been too quick to leave unexamined the notion of a first ‘national identity’, given and cohesive. ‘I think I would regard myself as Chinese’, Charles explains: ‘I’m ‘yellow’; I speak both Mandarin and Cantonese; I love Chinese culture; I love my country, relatively speaking – although I do not necessarily represent the majority opinion of Hong Kongers, most of whom probably identify, after 170 years of British colonial rule, as Hong Kongers and not Chinese’. Despite numerous attempts on Charles’ part to educate me, a

fully to satisfy Charles. ‘Perhaps even “Londoner” goes too far. I love the local community and for me, that’s Peckham, Norwood, Dulwich, Crystal Palace – South London’. (Charles and his notorious bike – his second since arriving in the UK, as the first was eventually written off after multiple collisions – have certainly become a fixture of South London society. Is even the red-stockinged Dr Spence as famous a cyclist?) Kamil and Shamil concur. Kamil tells me he feels ‘more of a Londoner than British’. Shamil, a self-professed ‘Londonist’ – there is a cultic charm to this, I suppose – considers Britain ‘very different’ to the metropolis he has come to love. Working through the difficult UCAS process this year, he says he felt a need to differentiate between London universities and British ones. That’s an interesting reflection on identities to be forged in the future tense. What of the continuous present? When returning home to their countries of origin, the boarders’ sense of identity remains hybrid. Shamil confesses that his ‘mind is split, really’, and explains that, whether he feels more British or


Illustration by Jack Kinsman (Year 12)


To a Hong Konger, London is a very sparsely populated city – less high-rise, less busy, slower working speed

of Russia is very, very different; it’s underfunded and underdeveloped’. When I ask whether there aren’t more similarities between a Londoner and a Muscovite than there are between a rural Russian and his city- dwelling compatriots, Shamil nods. ‘Of course’. He is eager to remind me, though, that this rural-urban divide is far from unique to Russia. ‘London doesn’t represent the rest of Britain’. In the wake of the results of the Brexit referendum, it is striking to consider the possibility that Londoners have more in common with Peterburgians some 2,120km away than they do with Brits living beyond the M25, which has become our modern pale. There remain, however, some fundamental differences. Charles highlights some of the most important. Strange as it may sound to a Londoner, the first thing he noticed upon arrival, he says, was the population density: ‘To a Hong Konger, London is a very sparsely populated city – less high-rise, less busy, slower working speed’. Intensely industrious, Hong Kongers, Charles tells me, have fewer opportunities for cultural pursuits: ‘The British focus a lot more on culture than Hong Kongers. Hong Kong is seen as a cultural desert because of the frantic working environment’. In London, however, ‘we have the West End – not only for musicals but for a lot of famous operas, choirs and theatre productions’ – if a choir attempted to

full appreciation of the nuanced distinctions between pro-Chinese and pro-independence parties – and the precise nature of the systemic obstacles facing the latter – eludes me. Kamil also highlights the complexities of belonging and the problems of social disconnect in his native Poland. In an excellent recent address to the Geography Society, he explored the debates over external and internal Polish identity. Whilst aligned to the Soviet Union in the Cold War, Poland has, following the fall of communism, increasingly sought to present itself as a Western nation. Kamil suggests he’d ‘probably’ describe himself as ‘from central Europe’ and offers this caveat- cum-explanation. ‘It’s very hard to say anything conclusive about Polish identity. The country is split between rural and cosmopolitan citizens… Many people more of my generation see themselves as citizens of the wider world, and the main political division in the country is between those who live in the west and in the bigger cities, such Warsaw, Dansk and Kracow, and their fellow-citizens from the rural east’. Shamil suggests that this rural- urban divide is equally prominent in Russia. ‘Moscow and St Petersburg are very different from the rest of Russia… they are way ahead’, in many respects. Moscow is ‘constantly building higher and higher buildings, the highest in Europe at the moment – the Shard isn’t even close!’ In contrast, ‘the rest


Dulwich boarders visit the London Eye

Shamil is suggestive of an increasing disconnect with the nation state – but conversely, an increasing sense of international solidarity between modern cities. If only the West End could travel East and Billy Elliot can- can across Hong Kong stages, complete cosmopolitan cultural homogeneity might one day be made a reality. A consummation devoutly to be wished? As Muriel Spark wrote of Scouting – she might have been writing of musical theatre – ‘For people who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like’.

hold a concert in Hong Kong, ‘there would only be 20 per cent attendance’. Having been a first-hand witness to Charles’ musical-theatre addiction, I find this extraordinary. He is, however, adamant: in Hong Kong, he had never before seen a musical and was ‘very impressed’ after his first experience – a visit to Matilda . He was particularly shocked by the sheer number of child actors in this production. ‘I think in Hong Kong very, very few parents would let their children be in the acting industry… Culture is not highly respected there’. And his admiration

for those involved in Matilda is dwarfed by his obsession with Billy Elliot , a musical he has seen some 17 times since coming to London. If, as Charles suggests, one’s identity as a Londoner can be measured in receipts for the Victoria Palace – a dubious hypothesis, I concede – we must surely conclude that Charles Cheung is London in its very essence. The self-identification as ‘Londoner’ by all three of these students indicates an attachment to city over country. The division between urban and rural citizens highlighted by Kamil and



Losing touch?

The influence of mobile phones and other devices continues to be a subject of intense debate, not least at Dulwich. But with ever-more immersive apps and games and advances in technology offering augmented and virtual realities, might our identities be reshaped in more profound ways than we currently imagine? Aidan Williams (Year 13) and Louie Murphy (Year 13) ask if we are on the brink of a reality crisis

Y oung people are the future. We are responsible for shaping the economic, political and social climate of the next century. But with skyrocketing house prices, the gargantuan looming threat of global warming and the elephant in the Oval Office, things aren’t looking too good for millennials and our younger siblings. Surely, then, it’s easier to run away – to bury our heads in the proverbial sand? That’s exactly what we’ve been doing. Psychologist Sally Andrews and her team found in a survey in 2015 that the average young adult spends more than five hours a day on their phone – roughly one third of our waking hours. Andrews concluded that, ‘A lot of smartphone use seems to be habitual, automatic behaviours that we have no awareness of’. Indeed, social-media companies use ingeniously simple techniques like the

‘endless scroll’ and the ‘notification’ to gain and retain our attention without us being cognitively aware of it. And we’re more than happy to trade the doom and gloom of the real world for bite- sized info-nuggets of entertainment news and Twitter-based controversy. But we’re also content to replace real life conversations with phone calls, texts and emojis. Does this mean we’re less able to face the real world? In some ways, yes. In fact, when on our phones, we can become completely unaware of the real world. In San Francisco in September 2013, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, a man shot and killed another man on a busy commuter train. The CCTV footage proves, however, that seconds prior to the shooting the man pulled out a .45 calibre pistol and held it quite conspicuously, yet nobody noticed.

Without exception, all other commuters on the train were looking at their phones and because their attention was elsewhere, not one person noticed a man literally waving a gun around. It therefore seems logically sound to assume that, if such extreme circumstances can go unnoticed by the general public, our most basic social interactions will be, and already are being, negatively affected by both our distracting handheld devices and other, more reality-altering technologies that we see in development today. The novelist Jonathan Safran Foer presented a controversial opinion on the issue in The Guardian : ‘These inventions [the telephone, the answering machine, online communication, texting] were not created to be improvements on face-to-face communication, but a declension of acceptable, if diminished, substitutes for it. But


Illustration by Harvey Byworth-Morgan (Year 11)


then a funny thing happened: we began to prefer the diminished substitutes.’ Take a moment to ponder the number of people you might have met or got to know a little better in those few moments of rest – in the waiting room for a job interview; in the boardroom before the start of a meeting; on the tube – if you weren’t absorbed by the pixels of your smartphone. When our attention is focused on our phones, the real world becomes our secondary attention priority, potentially leading to the upbringing of a generation less able to establish and maintain meaningful relationships. Author Simon Sinek looks at this issue in his video ‘Millennials in the Workplace’. However, social media on a handheld device can only temporarily divert attention. Ultimately, you look up from your phone and you’re given an opportunity to face the social and political problems of the 21st century with the remaining 19 or so hours of your day. Virtual Reality (VR) promises almost full immersion, almost complete distraction from the world around us. While it may seem a purely hedonistic, recreational form of entertainment when in our homes, especially given the sharp investment in VR games, there are many ethical issues raised by the notion of mobile virtual reality and mobile Augmented Reality (AR). Whether, as with AR, VR and real life are blended, or you opt for full reality- But what if you couldn’t?

When our attention is focused on our phones, the real world becomes our secondary attention priority

replacing VR, the real world becomes warped, which could have damaging ethical and emotional consequences. It has been widely conceptualised that Virtual Reality will soon become mobile, with users able to control remotely other ‘selves’ in Virtual Reality. Not only could this occur in extremely realistic virtual worlds, but also, as seen in the 2009 film Surrogates , in the real world, using AR, with people controlling ideal versions of themselves in robot form. If this became widely used, huge issues of personhood arise: as the realism of VR becomes a simulacrum (Jean Baudrillard), which self is the real self? If crimes are committed in virtual realities, should the perpetrator be considered a criminal in the real world? Does that mean the perpetrator is emotionally capable of committing those same crimes in the real world? But VR and AR present more deep-seated emotional issues for our generation to tackle. If phones

have impaired our ability to be emotionally ‘there’ – to empathise with others and maintain meaningful relationships – how will we cope when we can metaphorically run away to automatically generated worlds, where artificial, AI-driven relationships offer more reward with less emotional input? Will the technology that promises to smash open the boundaries of reality ironically be responsible for isolating us from the real world? And surely it’s inevitable that we’ll reach a point where virtual reality is so realistic… it ceases to be virtual? Despite raging world leaders, the tragic promise of global warming and various inevitable economic crises, the young people of our time must also face the very real virtual issues presented by a simulacrum we ourselves have created. One question stands out from the sea of ethical dilemmas. Which reality will you choose?


Illustration by Zhe Lin Sun

We are all participating in the same ritual

A notable aspect of identity at Dulwich is faith. Recently, two Upper School boys talked at assembly about what their religions meant to them. First, Adam Sheriff (Year 13) argues that far from causing conflict, Islam is a force of unity

I slam places a strong emphasis on unity. One must not only show kindness and acceptance to fellow Muslims, but also to non-Muslims as well. However, perhaps more importantly, Islam emphasises that any divisions made along racial or ethnic lines are to be strongly discouraged; indeed, throughout history, Islam has played a pivotal role in combatting racism in history. In his farewell sermon at Makkah, delivered to the early Muslims in the year 632 AD shortly before his passing, the Prophet Muhammad said: ‘O people, all mankind is from Adam and Eve; an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; also a white person has no superiority over a black, nor does a black person have any superiority over a white – except by piety and good action.’ This point of view, which seems so ‘politically correct’ today, would, to the majority of the Arabian population at the time, have been completely incorrect. The Arab slave trade infamously imported many thousands of African men and boys for slaves in

word of God revealed unto the Prophet Muhammad during his lifetime, acts as our instruction manual. There are multiple instructions that deal with the theme of racism and unity, one of which occurs in Chapter 49, verse 13. In the Name of God. The Most Gracious. The Most Merciful. O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of God, is the best in conduct. Lo! God is Knower, Aware. We take from this that in the sight of God, we are discriminated only by our conduct. Furthermore, an explanation is given as to why we are made up of different races and nations: so that we may know one another and learn from one other. God implies by this that difference should never be a source of superiority or inferiority, racism or nationalism. This core essence of Islam has endured to recent times. At the exact same place in Mecca where Muhammad fought racism for unity, a man stood 1,400 years later who had taken on a very similar struggle,

pre-Islamic Arabia, often treating them cruelly and brutally because of the colour of their skin. The power of the message of tolerance and acceptance spread by Muhammad had profound implications for the Arabian world and his own group of closest companions, who included one Abyssinian by the name of Bilal ibn Rabah. Bilal, a slave, was inspired by Islam and became one its earliest converts. When his master – who like much of the city was violently opposed to the new religion – discovered his conversion, he began to torture him. Muhammad sent a companion to negotiate his emancipation and free him from slavery. Once freed, Muhammad elevated him to one of the most prominent positions amongst his companions, much to the astonishment and ridicule of the non-Muslim Arabs. Indeed, Muhammad made Bilal the first person ever to call the Adhan, the Call to prayer, a role that was highly sought after by many of Muhammad’s other companions of noble and wealthy lineage. For us, Islam offers a way of life. The Quran, which we believe is the



fighting racial inequality in 1950s America. Malcolm X, newly converted to Islam, had travelled from the USA to undertake the pilgrimage of Hajj. A letter he wrote to his friends in Harlem reads: ‘During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass and slept on the same rug – while praying to the same God – with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the deeds of the white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana. We were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white.’ This experience shifted the entire viewpoint of Malcolm X. Upon his return he continued his fight for African-Americans, but he now did this in a way which did not demonise the white population and gave him hope that peace, unity and brotherhood could truly exist amongst the diverse people of America. His enlightenment inspired many people, including Muhammad Ali. We can see the legacy of the Quran and Muhammad’s teachings to the present day. Just one of the many benefits that I receive from my faith is its emphasis on unity. And just one of the many reasons I am proud of my faith is the role it has played in establishing equality in our world.

Seeking spiritual guidance

Kayan Dave (Year 13) explains the influence of Hinduism in his life

W hile I was born into Hinduism, my journey towards spirituality has been a long one. It has only been in the last three or four years that I have started going to my temple regularly, but doing so has allowed me to identify with a particular culture and group of people and has given me a sense of identity and pride. By attending my temple twice a week and listening to learned monks, I can forget my worries, be they prep deadlines or my university application. In addition, I am able to connect with people who share a common goal attaining akshardham. This concept of akshardham is integral to my faith – as a Hindu I believe in reincarnation. I believe that my life shall be judged according to my karma. I will either attain liberation from the cycle of life and death or go to akshardham or my soul shall be put on this earth again as another living being. This has led me to seek out spiritual guidance. I have two sources: the first is the Vachnamrut, which is a compilation of 213 short conversations between Swaminarayan Bhagwan and his followers, where his devotees

asked various questions about issues ranging from vegetarianism to the meaning of life. The book also contains shikshaparti, a section outlining 257 rules by which I aspire to live my life. The second source of guidance for me is my Guru. Although I am Hindu, I live by different rules to most. Like denominations within Christianity and schools within Buddhism, I am part of the Baps sect of Hinduism. This sect is led by a Guru and over the past two hundred years, we have had six spiritual successors to the original founder. Unlike the Pope, the Guru is not elected but chosen by the previous successor. I have met my Guru only a handful of times; however, before I go into any notable activity, be that interviews or exams, he is at the forefront of my mind. As a Hindu, my faith is ever-present within my life, whether that is the physical representation of my faith by my haircut or by the understanding that whatever happens, good or bad, God knows best. Understanding that God is the all-doer allows me to worry less and let things happen.

The power of the message of tolerance and acceptance spread by Muhammad had profound implications for the Arabian world


Slogans being printed




Luke Jensen-Jones (Year 9) reports on the cornucopia of events that formed this year’s week of free learning, Dulwich Linguistic. Below, Dan Davies (Year 8) and Matt Muldoon (Year 8) share their impressions of the week

D ulwich Linguistic week could not have come at a better time. 2016 had already seen the UK’s big decision to leave the European Union, Donald Trump was about to be elected in the United States and far-right movements across Europe were growing. With attitudes towards foreigners shifting around the world and a rapid rise in both isolationism and nationalistic tendencies, seven days of events showcasing other countries seemed like a much-needed antidote. The week started on 7th November, just a day before Trump’s victory. It gave students across the College, from Junior to Upper School, a chance to become immersed in different cultures from across the world and to develop a taste for many foreign languages along the way. The week was packed with activities ranging from lectures to sport to foreign cuisine and even a treasure hunt around the whole of the College. I was lucky enough to be involved in the recital of Vivaldi’s Spring concerto by the Chamber Orchestra that began the week, which included

short video about their favourite word in a foreign language. The language treasure hunt was another highlight, with daily videos in foreign languages offering hints as to the whereabouts of the many clues hidden all around the College. All of these events were not simply for our enjoyment, however: the week served many different purposes. It was, first of all, a chance to diversify from the normal curriculum and show that there is more to language than learning vocab and memorising verb endings. More importantly, in our increasingly polarized society, where anyone with an unusual set of beliefs or an alternative view of the world can be frowned upon and ridiculed, it is extremely important to experience how other people across the world live their lives and to be able to not only communicate with them, but empathise with them as well – and Dulwich Linguistic helped us to achieve that in ways that were both stimulating and enjoyable. LJJ

a reading in both Italian and English of Vivaldi’s original sonnet on which he based the work. The rest of the day involved the ‘Tour de Dulwich,’ a cycling competition, a sampling of the latest French TV series and a seminar in the auditorium on linguistics. A highlight from Day Two was a fascinating insight into the world of sports journalism with BBC broadcaster Chris Dennis. The talk centred around the use of language in journalism and the huge benefits of being able to communicate with people from all over the world. There was even an opportunity to test our own broadcasting skills at the end of the talk, which was enjoyed by all who attended. The rest of the week included a fencing masterclass taught in Italian, a session on creating codes, a demonstration of Kung Fu and a chance to sample cuisine from China, Spain, Germany and France. There were also activities that got us thinking about our relationship with language, such as the daily video booth where students could go and record a


The whole school was filled with culture T his year, Dulwich Linguistic was fantastic! It has definitely been one of the highlights of my time at Dulwich so far. The enthusiasm from all the teachers and boys from the Upper School helping out was brilliant. There was an abundance of activities every day and if you were to miss one you were guaranteed another one just as good afterwards. Every day there was something different to go to and learn something new – Spanish TV, German TV, introduction to Polish, Chinese food tasting and many more. The school made a stamp system, where you would get a stamp for every activity you attended. If you went to six or more activities and got all six stamps you received a new Dulwich Linguistic tie, designed by students during the week. In many of the activities, students could earn prizes for answering questions correctly or contributing. Moreover, lunch times were a real treat. Every day of the week there was a different type of food displayed from different countries, starting off with Chinese, then German, Spanish, French and lastly English. Everything tasted wonderful. The whole school was filled with culture. Although lessons carried on as normal, many slotted in very well with the activities that surrounded the week. Teachers learned from those students who were native-language speakers and vice versa. The entire week gave children an opportunity to learn new languages and bond with teachers and different students in the school. The week was a great experience and I hope there will be another one like it. DD

The Master makes a political screen print

With a rapid rise in both isolationism and nationalistic tendencies, seven days of events showcasing other countries seemed like a much-needed antidote

One popular activity featured a ventriloquist

We got out there and had a go

A different nation’s flag was raised each day of Dulwich Linguistic

I was lucky enough to experience almost all of the interesting and interactive activities that were held during the week. It helped that I was part of the Barrios Ensemble, which mainly played Spanish and Brazilian music. This linked in nicely with the upcoming week, as we were to do a flash mob around the Junior and Lower School. This was a great experience to share with the younger years and it was wonderful to see the smiles on their faces. Next for the Ensemble was the Spanish night, which, like the flash mob, was a lot of fun. We performed in the Great Hall in front of parents and teachers. All the students performing had the most amazing musical talent. Moving on to the main part of the week, I managed (quite easily) to complete the six stamps that were needed to claim the tie. The great thing about this was that it gave us an incentive to get out there and have a go at things. On Monday I went to the Tour de Dulwich to watch some of the older boys take on each other on bikes in the Lower Hall, which was very entertaining. Then there was a language booth, on every day, in which you could tell the camera a phrase that you liked, what it meant and why you liked it, and the recording could then be accessed on the internet. I thought this was a great idea as people could now use these phrases in daily speech – in fact, I liked the idea so much I went twice. Another major activity was Kung Fu in the Lower Hall, which was great fun to watch and also to do. Less active but definitely more tasty was crepe making in the North Cloisters – the Nutella was very good. Dulwich Linguistic was a great week for learning and discovery and for gaining an insight into the many weird and wonderful languages of the world. MM



Educating for wellbeing

Wellbeing is an integral part of Dulwich College life – across the entire community. Sarah Griffiths , Head of Wellbeing and Jack Kurtulus (Year 13) reflect on all that is going on at the College and preparation for life beyond Dulwich

A t the College, we recognise the crucial role that individual wellbeing plays in allowing our pupils to thrive and succeed. Great pastoral care and academic success are interrelated – and complementary – and we aspire for all our pupils to be emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy with the ability to make sound life choices, to engage positively with the community and be well prepared for life beyond Dulwich. The whole school approach to wellbeing is designed to prevent crisis occurring and to support pupils to cope well with life’s ups and downs. Educating for wellbeing is an approach to pastoral care that is proactive, positive, universal, informed and community-wide. Between joining the College at Year 7 and leaving at the end of Sixth Form, a DC boy will have approximately 100 hours of timetabled time specifically focused on supporting and improving his wellbeing. Our programme covers an extensive range of topics including friendships, bullying, mindfulness, resilience, financial literacy, campaigning, sexting, pornography, mental health, domestic survival, sexual health and careers. Our younger pupils follow their own wellbeing programmes according to their age and needs. We use data to help design our courses: our Upper School Wellbeing programme was designed after conducting a survey amongst Old Alleynians asking what they wished they had known when in the Upper School and how they could best be prepared for life beyond school.

Educating for wellbeing is an approach to pastoral care that is proactive, positive, universal, informed and community-wide


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