News Article

Celebrating Diversity and Building Community at King's Chaplaincy

We're very proud of the diversity of our student body here at King’s, and we work hard to help our students feel part of a community which values and respects their cultural and religious identity. In the Dean’s Office and Chaplaincy we’re lucky enough to have a chaplain present on each of our 5 campuses, all which contain a comfy common room space where students have the opportunity to meet people from different courses and different continents. Over conversations fuelled by tea and coffee, or perhaps over free food at one of regular student lunches (each campus has one!), students of all faiths and none have the opportunity to see and hear things from a different cultural perspective. This is one of the true joys of the university experience at King's. It could be argued that the chief purpose of university life is the acquirement of a world class degree qualification.  A close second however is the invaluable opportunity you have to experience the rich diversity of our fabulous student body.

The Spanish priest and mystic St John of the Cross wrote in The Ascent of Mount Carmel,  'To come to a knowledge of what you are not, you must go by a way you are not.' The poet T.S Eliot writes something very similar in his poem, Four Quartets, 'In order to arrive at what you are not, you must go through the way in which you are not.' What both authors are trying to convey is the immense value of immersing ourselves in conversations and cultural experiences which might be very different  from our own. Often when we have such encounters we are tempted to devalue them, judging them by our unconscious bias. However when we truly learn to cherish these differences something wonderful happens: we are not just educating ourselves but opening our hearts and minds to real change.

The amazing workshops and performances on offer as part of this year's One World Arts and Cultural Festival present students with the perfect opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture whilst also learning new skills. We are often tempted to see ourselves as human doings rather than human beings - we can get into very bad habits of valuing ourselves based solely on our latest grades. As a personal tutor in FoLSM I want to encourage my students to reach for academic success (of course!) but I also want them take pride in who they are outside of the world of grades and percentiles. Participation in arts and culture is a great way to celebrate our identity whilst opening ourselves up to worlds beyond our reach. An engagement with arts and culture also builds community. If I tell a story to a group of students, or share recollections of my own rather non-linear journey through higher education, then all of those who are listening will suddenly have that story in common. When we engage with new experiences offered to us through arts and culture, we are taking the road less travelled. So do it right now!


For information on where to find our various chaplaincy spaces, click here.

If you’re interested in joining one of our free lunches, see here.


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