Having gained so much ourselves from subsidised University of Oxford educations, we strongly feel we should help students from Cornwall, who now have to be self-funding. The bursary scheme we run offers bursaries from £250 – £500 for students for projects to be performed before September 2022. Normally only one award will be given to each student during their student career. These are available to all Cornish undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Bursary to promote the understanding of Cornwall and Cornish Culture and Heritage 

Cornwall has a rich culture, heritage and environment, both past and present. This bursary is to promote the academic understanding of Cornish culture in its widest sense and to foster future academic interest and awareness of Cornwall. It is hoped in the long term that inspiring future academics and graduates with an interest in Cornwall will result in them contributing to Cornwall.

This bursary (value £500) is to finance an Oxford student to undertake a project in Cornwall that will contribute to their fieldwork or dissertation. Subjects might include archaeology, anthropology, history, language, literature, music, art, geology, science, the environment and economics but this list is not exclusive and we are open to other topics.  This bursary is open to all undergraduate and post graduate students.

Closing date 15th May

Bursaries to fund a broader understanding of the student’s subject

Bursaries  (value £250 – £500) to fund students with strong connections to Cornwall (in most cases 5 years residence in Cornwall) to travel or visit somewhere that will contribute to a broader understanding or different viewpoint of their subject.  Normally only one award will be given to each student during their student career.

Closing date 15th May

The Endellion Sharpe Bursary to fund an activity beneficial to themselves and others

Bursaries (£250 – £500) to fund students with strong connections to Cornwall (in most cases 5 years residence in Cornwall) to travel to perform a project, which will be a life-enhancing activity that will benefit both the individual and the local community and broaden the mind of the applicant. 

Normally only one award will be given to each student during their student career.

Closing date 15th May

Bursaries to fund an Internship

A maximum of two bursaries (£250) to contribute towards internships for undergraduate students with strong connections to Cornwall (in most cases 5 years residence in Cornwall).  Normally only one award will be given to each student during their student career.

Closing date 15th May

Bursary to fund a medical elective abroad

Bursary (value £250 – £500) to fund a medical student with strong connections to Cornwall (in most cases 5 years residence in Cornwall) to work in a hospital or visit somewhere that will contribute to a broader understanding or viewpoint of clinical medicine. Normally only awarded in the final year of clinical training.

Closing date 1st January

Format for Applications for Bursaries

The committee considering applications will give awards according to how closely they meet the conditions of the bursaries. Applicants should aim to present their case clearly and grammatically, paying attention to syntax and spelling. Please read through your application carefully before submission. That is a good habit to form, which will be valued in your professional careers.

Please send :- CV with personal statement and Cornwall connections – 1 page and an Outline of Internship or Bursary project – 1 page

to:- Professor Fenella Wojnarowska
01566 781319

Report on successful bursary applications to OUCS Cornwall Branch, 2022

Bursaries that have been awarded this year

The Medical Elective Bursary was awarded to William Brebner


Will Brebner is a final year student studying medicine at Christ Church. He undertook an elective at Kurunegala Teaching Hospital in Sri Lanka. He is from Wadebridge in Cornwall.


I was grateful to receive a bursary from OUS Cornwall to help fund my medical elective. Based in the Emergency Department in Sri Lanka, the high patient turnover made for a great educational experience given the range of cases. Road traffic accidents were frequent, and whilst at times making me feel uncomfortable, proved useful for my practical skills as I worked as part of the resuscitation team. Given the country’s ongoing socioeconomic difficulties, there were clear shortages of medicines and equipment; it was frustrating to see but inspiring to observe the staff dealing with the challenge.

In addition, I was fortunate to have a placement at Viet Duc hospital, Vietnam. In anaesthetics, many doctors talked about travelling to countries such as the UK or France for conferences and skills workshops, with the doctors they met subsequently coming to Vietnam to exchange ideas and skills. This opened my eyes to the importance of an international outlook. I also enjoyed scrubbing into theatre for a range of surgical procedures, and attended clinics and ward rounds in the neurology department where I was fascinated to see a number of clinical signs which I had only seen before in textbooks. Overall, the experience was hugely valuable to my personal and career development, and I would like to thank OUS Cornwall for their support.

Report on successful bursary applications to OUCS Cornwall Branch, 2021

Bursaries that have been awarded this year

Helen Carasso has been awarded a bursary to promote the understanding of Cornwall and Cornish Culture and Heritage

Helen is in the final year of her MSt in History of Design at the Department of Continuing Education. She is a student at Kellogg College. With the support of her bursary, Helen will be studying Modernist architecture of the 1930s at the English seaside, with the Jubilee Pool in Penzance as a case study. She will be considering the extent to which this style, that is associated with many widely-admired spaces of luxury and pleasure including cruise liners, lidos and cinemas, was also effective and popular when used for residential developments, such as the Frinton Park Estate in Essex.

November 2021 update

Thanks to the financial support of OUS(Cornwall), I visited the county in May, to explore Modernist architecture on the English coast for my MSt History of Design dissertation. As well as getting the user’s perspective on Penzance’s Jubilee Pool, records in the Morrab Library and county archive in Redruth helped me to understand the thinking and debates around its construction. It became clear that Borough Engineer, Frank Latham, who championed and designed the Pool, understood that it must be a resource for the community, as well as an attraction for tourists (and the money they would spend nearby). From its opening on 31 May 1935, it was a popular and financial success.
Before and during my research trip, people in Cornwall were pleased to be able to help me to find out more about their local lido, whether sharing personal experiences, opening their archives, hosting my visit or, in the case of OUS(Cornwall) awarding me a bursary. Today, the Jubilee Pool is a highly popular community-owned space and remains at the heart of this generous and welcoming community, as Latham intended.



Louis Emanuel has been awarded a bursary to fund an internship.

 Louis Emanuel is studying Engineering Science at Mansfield College. He will be undertaking an internship at Invesco asset managers. He has lived in Newquay since 2003.


Update December 2021

With the generous support of the Oxford University Society of Cornwall, I was able to make the most of my internship at Invesco. The experience was hugely rewarding and as an engineering student, offered a very steep learning curve. Throughout the summer I was fortunate enough to shadow portfolio managers, attend investment discussions and develop my understanding of the asset management industry. One personal highlight was attending an investment meeting with the McLaren board where I was given the opportunity to ask questions to the CEO.  I would like to thank the Oxford University Society of Cornwall for its support and continued guidance. With their help I was able to enjoy my time at Invesco to the fullest. I would encourage other Cornish students to reach out to OUCS and take advantage of the excellent support they offer. 

Report on successful bursary applications to OUCS Cornwall Branch, 2020

Three bursaries were awarded to broaden the understanding of the student’s subject. We have given them a deadline of September 2021 to complete their projects.

Alex Midlen

Alex is a reading for a DPhil in Geography and Environment at Green Templeton College. He will be undertaking a project studying the governance of marine resources in Kenya. He is from Callington in Cornwall.

Blue Economy PhD update

This last year has been a very frustrating one – a fact which needs no further explanation! However, it’s given me time to develop my case study research plans and refine general aspirations into more concrete proposals whilst glued to my computer in east Cornwall.

My research site in Kenya is the Lamu archipelago in the north. It’s a rich ecosystem comprising islands, tidal estuaries and creeks, mangrove, coral reefs, and seagrass beds – all of which provide a rich habitat for commercially important fisheries, and sources of timber for fuel and construction, and attract wildlife tourism. Lamu town itself, on Lamu Island (pictured), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, being the oldest Arab trading port on the East coast of Africa. My research concerns the potential impact of plans for a new city, airport, port, railway and power station to be developed on the adjacent mainland, on the lives and livelihoods of the inhabitants of the archipelago. For them, surviving on artisanal fisheries, and cultural and wildlife tourism, the environmental impacts of these long term, nationally important plans are profound and threaten their very identity. The prevailing fear is that consequent environmental degradation will destroy traditional livelihoods and ways of life. The construction of the port and dredging of a deep water access channel are already causing visible impacts.

Lamu waterfront (https://www.awaygowe.com/lamu-town-kenya/ )
Lamu archipelago (Google maps)

I have now undertaken field research on the so-called ‘Blue Economy’ – developing the oceans to lift people out of poverty, but doing so sustainably. Pictured here on a recent visit to a seaweed farming cooperative in the south, I gathered information on social enterprise practices as a form of environmental governance within the blue economy context.

“Social enterprise is something that I have been very impressed with here. The concept of co-management is enshrined in Kenya’s constitution and the natural resource acts that flow from it. People here really do make great efforts to use these legal rights to benefit communities whilst conserving resources at the same time.”

Seaweed is farmed on the foreshore, attached to horizontally fixed ropes. Seed pieces grow to 10x their initial weight in 45 days. Its harvested, sun-dried, baled then sold to makers of carrageenan, a versatile ingredient in food and cosmetic products. The cooperative also has its own small processing facility and makes various soap products for local markets.

A member of Kibuyuni Seaweed Farmers cooperative commented proudly, “This project has helped people in this community. They live in permanent houses and are sending their children to school and university.”

Alex Midlen asks a question of Seaweed Farm Cooperative members 

Seaweed farmers explain how the seaweed is harvested and dried. 


Daisy Lynch

Daisy was a second year student reading Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Exeter College when she was awarded the bursary in 2020. Unfortunately Covid made it impossible for her to travel in 2002/21 but she undertook a revised project in 2022. She lives in Lelant in Cornwall.

Naples 2022 – An excursion to benefit the further study of Classics.
Oxford University Cornwall Society

I was lucky enough in February 2020, during the second year of my degree, to have been
awarded a travel grant from the Oxford University Cornish Society to travel with the express aims to further my understanding of my subject (Classical Archaeology and Ancient History). I had planned to travel to Naples, Italy, in order to visit the ever popular sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum in order to gain inspiration for my upcoming thesis. However, if you had made note of the date in my first sentence, you may realise just how quickly those plans were thwarted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost two years later than I had originally planned to go, I finally found myself this summer in the crowded streets of Pompeii under the ominous and looming shadow of
Mount Vesuvius, map in hand, searching for (of all places) the city’s brothel.

The trip was long enough that I was able to spend a day at each site, soaking up as much of the setting as possible, and still having a day to be spent at the National Archaeological Museum (conveniently next to a Neapolitan gluten free bakery – coeliac heaven!). The museum was extensive, and refreshingly in the shade, displaying all the precious items which had to be removed from their find-site – rare bronzes (most statues and many household items from the ancient world were cast in bronze, but so few survive due to the recycling of the material in later periods), plaster wall paintings in fabulous colour, and the famous Farnese collection of marbles.
We often think of the classical world in brilliant marble – nothing but shades of pure white, but the misfortune of time has stripped the ancient world of its colour. The wall paintings in the National Archaeological Museum remind us of the spectrum of colours which would have adorned walls, statues, and floors. Following this, I spent my 22nd birthday in the streets of Herculaneum, which was remarkably shady due to the surviving second floors on many of the buildings – this is an especially impactful view after having spent time studying on other sites which remain essentially nothing more than their stone foundations. It can be hard to visualise the classical world in 3D
when this is the only exposure you have of the space it took up. Here, walking amongst the city walls as you would in your own high street really gave a truer impression of how the site would have been in its glory days. My final, and perhaps favourite, day was spent in Pompeii, which dwarfs Herculaneum by comparison since it is fortunately not built over with Naples’ sprawling suburbs. It holds every essential to a Roman way of life – an amphitheatre (once closed for ten years because its citizens started a violent brawl in 59 A.D.), a forum, various open shop fronts, bars, temples, and infamously the lupanar grande (brothel) – cleverly guided by pointing phalluses on the road. The ability to enter the surviving houses to engage directly with the space, as opposed to the passive viewership of museum display cases, really brought to light the culture,
values, and environments of the Romans in a way I have never experienced before, even as an archaeology student. An excursion to Pompeii brings us closer, as cliche as it is, to the lives of people separated from us by thousands of years and yet united by shared human experiences.
This is perhaps most poignantly seen in the remains of a lone, carbonised loaf of bread still sitting in the baker’s oven, having waited two-thousand years to be removed (perhaps this is a comfort to any of the terrible baker’s out there – you could always have left it in the oven for longer).
If it were not for the generous donation of this grant by the society, as well as the additional kindness of holding the money for two years while the world slowly recovered, such a trip would never have been possible. Those of us who live in Cornwall are painfully aware that the price we pay for living in such a unique place is to be so far away from the rest of the world. This makes every trip that bit more expensive, it takes that bit longer to arrive, and that bit harder to get to. Hence, this grant made possible for me what was otherwise too financially daunting to achieve.
While I may have just finished my finals by the time I was able to actually fulfil my trip, it has been the perfect end to four years of studying classics, and the start of what I hope is many more.
Thank you OUCS!

Issy Paul

Issy was a third year student reading Theology and Religion at Worcester College.

She will be taking a play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before beginning an MA in Theatre Directing at Mountview Academy of the Arts. She is from Launceston, Cornwall.

July 2021 update

I have spent the past year training on the MA Theatre Directing course at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts which has been an incredible experience. I have had the opportunity to be taught by leading practitioners and develop my practice as a director. I have just completed my final show, a production of Glyn Maxwell’s ‘The Forever Waltz’, which is a reimagining of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, and I am currently completing my dissertation which explores contemporary adaptations of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. Having studied Theology at Oxford, I am particularly interested in the intersection between Religion and Theatre, and this is an area I hope to explore further upon leaving Mountview. I am hoping to work as an assistant director as well as developing my production of the Forever Waltz and hopefully staging it at a London venue in the near future.

Thank you so much for this!!

The Medical Elective Bursary was awarded to James Brebner

James Brebner was a final year Medical Student at Green Templeton College.  He was to undertake a medical elective on A&E and anaesthetics at Mater Dei Hospital in Malta. Instead, he will be work in the NHS to help deal with the Coronavirus epidemic. He will be reporting back on his experiences as a junior doctor (see below).

Background . James was born in Treliske Hospital and grew up in Nanstallon, between Wadebridge and Bodmin. After taking A levels at Wadebridge School and Truro College, he was awarded a place at LMH to study medicine. He gained a BA in Medical Sciences in 2017 and then moved to Green Templeton College to study for a BMBCh Medicine (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree. That degree requires a ten-week elective to be undertaken which he planned to carry out in the early months of this year. Five weeks would be spent at the New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, followed by a further five weeks at the Mater Dei Hospital in Malta. At both hospitals, he would split his time between A&E and anaesthetics, the latter being the career path he is considering. Not being from a wealthy family, he sought various sources of funding and decided to apply to the OUS Cornwall Bursary Fund for support.

5 January We received James’ application for a Medical Elective Bursary of £500.

14 January The Committee unanimously agreed to make the award, provided all other grants were confirmed and the elective was set to proceed. The New Cross place had already been confirmed on 27 December and the Mater Dei confirmation followed on 12 February. We consequently made the payment.

14 March James decided to cancel the Malta elective, which was due to start on 3 May, when he heard that quarantine was being enforced for all arrivals due to Covid-19, meaning carrying out the elective would be impossible. He then found out that the Wolverhampton elective, which was due to start on 29 March, had been put on hold. Having previously arranged accommodation in Wolverhampton, he moved there from Oxford and waited for news about where he would be posted for an interim foundation year job that would be created for him. He would work in a hospital as a foundation doctor for a few months before starting his official foundation year job in August, when he would qualify as an F1 doctor.

20 March James informed the Committee about the change of plan, since our Medical Elective is normally to help with the expense of spending time abroad. Rather than ask him to return our £500, we quickly agreed that he would be welcome to use it to help reduce the stress associated with suddenly having extra costs imposed on him for an uncertain period. In return, he agreed to send us regular reports of his experiences in the coming months.

7 April Having expected to graduate in the summer following completion of the necessary elective, James and his colleagues heard that they would be graduating early and he duly graduated, without any of the pomp and ceremony of the Sheldonian, on 7 April.

20 April Having spent several frustrating weeks kicking his heels in Wolverhampton, while hearing about the exhaustion of NHS doctors and nurses due to Covid-19, he finally heard that he had been given an interim post in Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire starting for induction on 4 May and for work on 11 May. He has not yet heard in which department he will be based, though he believes that new doctors will be based in non-Covid departments as much as possible.

4 May First day of induction at Stoke Mandeville. Focus on health and safety in the morning, with several talks about working hours and how life will be made safe and friendly. The new junior doctors will be as far removed as possible from Covid patients. The afternoon focussed on life support in emergencies – the practice of CPR and the use of defibrillators. Very relieved to be finally starting to make a contribution after six weeks of nothingness.

5 May Settled in to the new accommodation and enjoying three meals a day provided by the NHS and being paid as a junior doctor. More training today, including end of life care and how to discharge patients. Looking forward to getting stuck in on the wards next week.

7 May On the wards today, an experience we don’t get at university. A free weekend ahead, normally something I would be excited about, but lockdown continues so what can I do? Sharing the accommodation with most of the other new doctors helps in the evenings.

16th May A quick update on my first two days of working.  It’s all been surprisingly relaxed, the people I work with are really helpful and friendly, and I’m enjoying what I do.  It’s a strange transition to actually working as a junior doctor, as what they prepare you for during medical school isn’t really what the majority of my work involves – preparing patient notes for the ward round, and ordering blood tests & scans.  It also feels a little scary writing prescriptions and putting my signature on the charts, as it feels like a lot of responsibility even though I know that I know what I’m doing.
There are definitely times when I feel I don’t know what I’m doing and have to ask for help, but luckily everyone’s super helpful and understanding when that happens, and it’s always better to ask.  I think I just have to accept that I’ll feel that way for at least the first few weeks, but will gradually become more sure of myself and will get better and putting everything I’ve learned over the last six years into practice, and I’ll learn a lot along the way.  It’s also quite difficult getting to grips with all the different pieces of software we have to use, as the computers here use a lot of different programmes to achieve various tasks, so working out what to do with each one is quite a task, especially when I’m used to a very different system in Oxford.

w/c 17 May The first full week went well, with the pace gradually picking up. From being responsible for 1-2 patients each day, by the end of the week I had a full bay of 4-5. The ward I am on deals with patients recovering from emergencies, so no drop off in admissions due to Covid. This was a steep learning curve, but great experience for the future. The contract at Stoke Mandeville runs to 17 July, when I move to full time employment in Leeds.

25 May Since James is now well into his transition from new graduate to junior doctor and will no doubt be getting much busier, we have decided not to intrude on his time any further. Our bursary helped him financially during the weeks he spent waiting for his placement in Stoke Mandeville, instead of being fully funded during his planned elective in Wolverhampton and Malta.



Chairman’s Observations   

It is once again my pleasure to comment on our latest Report on the bursaries that thanks to the generosity of members we have been able to award during 2019. On behalf of the Committee and all the members I wish to congratulate Fenella Wojnarowska on producing such an interesting and readable Report and to thank her for the considerable amount of time and expertise she has expended in handling this programme. It remains the cornerstone of the Branch’s effort to give something back by enabling as many students from Cornwall as possible to apply to Oxford and by helping those who are there to make the most of their Oxford experience.  

It never ceases to amaze me just how versatile, learned in their specific fields and ready to further their studies are our bursary applicants. The account of their different projects in this Report fully bears this out. Clearly life at Oxford these days is rather more intense than it was in mine, back in the fifties!  

As our Secretary/Treasurer, Richard Cockram, who also deserves our thanks, points out below, the number of future awards depends on us being able to sustain the present level of giving for Bursaries. I also hope that our cooperation with Exeter college will lead to further initiatives to persuade pupils at state schools and sixth form colleges in the county to take the plunge and apply for Oxford. The recent practice by universities of offering many more unconditional places does not help and should be officially discouraged. Enjoy this Report and I hope to see many of you at future events, perhaps at the Rick Stein lunch on 29 February. I promise that our Speaker will be both amusing and challenging.  

Jeremy Varcoe CMG                                                                         Chairman  


This year we funded nine bursaries at a total cost of £3,850. In a typical year we raise around £1,000 at our annual fundraising lunch in Antony, thanks to the generosity of Andrew Willoughby, and the membership fee raises a further £500.  Individual donations vary from year to year and can reach as much as £1,000.  We have been able to spend above our income thanks to a positive balance that accumulated over the years prior to establishment of the Bursary Fund, but we will soon need to tighten our belts to bring income and expenditure closer together. Any ideas for a fund raising event would be gratefully received, as would any donations.   

Richard Cockram     Treasurer

Please contact us if you would like to be involved. There are several ways to do this:   

  • Organising fundraising events with OUCS   
  • Donating    
  • Providing help to students at your local school   
  • Mentoring in Science, Languages and Humanities   
  • Interview practice   
  • Career discussion and advice   
  • Offering work experience   
  • Sharing your experience of mentoring with us   

Fenella’s experience of mentoring   

A quote from one of the girls I mentored   

‘Just to let you know that I confirmed my place at Oxford and achieved all A*s! I still can’t quite believe it. I’m so happy and so grateful for all your help in getting me there, I couldn’t have gotten through the interviews without it. I hope to see you again at some point, maybe at Café Sci again.’   

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