Celebrating 40 Years of Women at Trinity


In October 1978, female undergraduates arrived at Trinity for their first term – and for the first time in the institution’s history. Since the statutes were changed in 1975 to allow women to be admitted, nearly 3000 women have lived and studied at the College, contributing to Trinity life and laying the foundations for a rich array of careers and eclectic trajectories.

Alumni, Fellows, staff and students of Trinity College are warmly invited to attend a special event on Sunday 28 April 2019, which will be the culmination of the 40th anniversary celebrations of women’s arrival at Trinity.

There will be a cornucopia of activities, including:

  • Unexpected Journeys: a panel discussion in the Winstanley Lecture Hall.
  • Hidden Histories: a trail to discover the women who lived and worked at Trinity, and visited the College, based on research by history student Amelia Hutchinson.
  • Art works by Trinity’s three female Fellow Commoners in the Creative Arts, exhibited in a hitherto hidden space.
  • World premiere of a new film commissioned from alumna Sonum Sumaria.
  • World premiere of a choral commission created by Joanna Forbes L’Estrange and sung by female choir and alumnae choir members.
  • Singing Workshop led by alumnae choir members.
  • Living History of Women at Trinity: an installation in Hall, to which contributions can be made up to and including 28 April.

There will be refreshments throughout the day including drinks and a light lunch on arrival.

Timed Programme

12pm – Refreshments & activities in Hall

Hall will be the pivotal arrival and refreshments location. Join us from 12pm for a special cocktail, followed by a welcome from the Senior Tutor, Professor Catherine Barnard, at 12.30. A world premiere choral composition, ‘A Place for Us Maids’, commissioned from Joanna Forbes L’Estrange, will be performed at 12.45pm.

An informal lunch will be available from 12.15 until 1.30pm.

1.30pm – World Premiere of a new film by Sonum Sumaria (ticketed)*

Introduced by Professor Emma Widdis in the Master’s Lodge. There will be another screening at 3.30pm.

2pm – Introduction to Hidden Histories, in Hall

Alumna Daisy Goodwin, writer and creator of the ITV series ‘Victoria’, will introduce the new trail around College exploring the hidden histories of women at Trinity. Former Fellow Commoner in the Creative Arts, Ulyana Gumeniuk, will talk about her portrait of Katherine Parr that hangs in Hall.

2pm-2.45pm – Singing Workshop (ticketed)*

Guests are invited to join a Trinity College Choir workshop, led by alumnae choir members, Ellie Tobin and Kate Apley, in the Winstanley. The workshop will focus on Twenty-First Century Woman by Joanna Forbes L’Estrange. Please note, all are welcome and no singing experience is necessary ! The performance will take place at 3pm in Hall.

From 3pm – Refreshments in Hall

Tea, coffee and cake, plus cheese and wine.

3.30pm – Second screening of Sonum Sumaria’s film (ticketed)*

Another screening of the film, with an opportunity to ask the filmmaker questions. This takes place in the Master’s Lodge.

3.30pm – Panel Discussion: Unexpected Journeys (ticketed)*

Alumnae Scarlett McNally, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Sumita Singha, architect, Amy Ludlow, Senior Research Associate  at the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge, and Rosi Sexton, sportswoman and sports therapist  talk about their unusual and unexpected careers after Trinity. This event takes place in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre. The panel is chaired by alumna Daisy Goodwin.

4.45pm Farewell & photocall in Hall 

A group photo will be taken from the Minstrels’ Gallery before we say our goodbyes. Professor Emma Widdis will say a few words.

5.15pm – Third screening of Sonum Sumaria’s film (ticketed)*

Another screening of the film in the Master’s Lodge.

5.40pm – Organ Recital followed by Evensong

Organ recital in Chapel by Trinity’s first female organ scholar, Eleanor Kornas, followed by Evensong, 6.15pm, with music by female composers.

*Tickets available from Great Hall, available on a first come first served basis.

All Day, from 1.30pm – to 5pm

Art Installation

A selection of work by former Fellow Commoners in Creative Arts, Jane Boyd, Kate Palmer, and Ulyana Gumeniuk will be on display in D3 Great Court.

Living History of Women at Trinity

Students, alumni, staff and Fellows are encouraged to contribute to the Living History of Women at Trinity which will be installed in Hall. Contributions can be made on the day and in advance to this project: What’s the defining moment of your time at Trinity?

Hidden Histories

A guide to women at Trinity past and present. Explore College and learn about the hidden histories of bedmakers, Masters’ wives  and famous visitors.

Portraits of Women Fellows of Trinity

An exhibition of photographic portraits by Eugenio Polgovsky will be on display in the Master’s Lodge. Eugenio was a Visiting Fellow Commoner in  Creative Arts at Trinity, 2015-2017.


An exhibition of the places, people and events at Trinity that have inspired students, alumni, staff and academics will be displayed in the Nevile’s Court Cloister.

Wren Library 

The Wren Library will be open as part of the Hidden Histories trail with relevant displays.