Helping to creating new learning communities through travel 

Emma Mayhew – Faculty of Arts and Social Science 

During the long months of lockdown, I suspect I wasn’t the only one who worked through the entire back catalogue of Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man.  We all know the wonderful benefits of travel, new sights, sounds, learning and group bonding, even if the travel only lasts for a few hours.  

So as old opportunities to explore reopened this academic year, we were able to secure funding to support colleagues throughout the Faculty who wanted to get back out there with their students.  As a result, there’s now a familiar line of coaches outside the AP building on Wednesday afternoons taking students on a range of wonderful fieldtrips!  

The most straightforward have involved visits to free museums in London.  Over 70 Economics students visited the British Museum while 60 Sociology and Surrey Business School students visited the wonderful Design Museum in London, for example.  

Some colleagues have excelled themselves by leading their own bespoke excursions.  A small group of students have enjoyed an Economics themed London walking tour.  

50 Literature and Languages students will be enjoying a literary walking tour of Bloomsbury. Politics students enjoyed their own tour of the Tate, led by their Director of Teaching and Learning.  Literature and Languages students enjoyed the help of Guildford Town Guides to provide a Literary Walking Tour of Medieval Guildford.  

Elsewhere, Surrey students have enjoying visiting a range of performances.  Sociology students saw ‘Our White Skoda Octavia’ dealing with issues of family life, identity, migration, and racism at the Yvonne-Arnaud theatre in Guildford. GSA students visited the RSC’s Comedy of Errors at the Barbican Centre, ‘Peggy For You’ at Hampstead Theatre and will shortly be visiting The Globe.  English Literature with Creative Writing students travelled to London to watch a play written by a former Creative Writing PhD student, and enjoyed a follow-up workshop.  More creative experiences were enjoyed by Writing Gaming students together with students from GameSoc and the Surrey Video Games Society who visited the London Anime and Gaming Con in London.  Music and Media students will shortly be visiting an experimental music event. 

Moving on to the big screen, Literature and Languages students enjoyed a day long film studio tour while Music and Media students attended an event at Sky studios, showcasing young innovators and emerging talent.  A group of Sociology students will shortly be heading to The Media Production Show in London. 

Perhaps most surprising has been the discovery that we could visit a former workhouse right here in Guildford. Sociology students, taking the module Poverty and the Welfare System, visited The Spike Heritage Centre in Guildford and enjoyed a bitterly cold, but informative bespoke tour. 

Sociology students at the Spike Heritage Centre 

Luckily the February sun shone for around 100 Law students who enjoyed a trip to Runnymead complete with an informative short talk on the Magna Carta and lunch while Politics students enjoyed a fantastic day at the Institute of Directors.  

In total the faculty will fund, or part fund, over 20 field trips this year but alongside these are a whole range of school funded visits such as the SHTM social Christmas trip to the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and spring trip to Thorpe Park.  

These trips provide essential spaces for students to get to know each other and help to create a better sense of learning community when they are back on campus.  It’s not quite the glamour and quirkiness of ‘Travel Man’ but the really low dropout rates and fantastic feedback from students are testimony to how much these experiences are needed and appreciated!