The Oxford German Network was launched in September 2012 as the first university-led cultural network of its kind. It is an initiative of the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, and supported by its Founding Partners Jesus College, Bodleian Libraries, Magdalen College School, and BMW Group Plant Oxford. It is designed to build on local strengths in the Oxford area and work together with schools of all types alongside university departments, organisations, and companies. The purpose is to open up enjoyable opportunities for engaging with the cultures of the German-speaking countries and communicating with people in German. The model is actively supported by the German Embassy and its cultural partners as well as Routes into Languages, and the past year has seen the establishment of other German Networks in the United Kingdom including the Cambridge German Network, the Midlands German Network, the North East German Network, the Wales Think German Network, and the Yorkshire German Network – and there are more networks in the development stages.
From the beginning, the Oxford German Network has focused on encouraging the uptake and learning of German in UK schools. Its flagship event is the annual Oxford German Olympiad, a national competition involving participants from a wide range of age groups and schools, and with a different theme every year (this year’s theme is ‘Dichtung und Musik’ [http://www.ogn.ox.ac.uk/oxford-german-olympiad-2015]). This themed part is complemented by a series of self-contained ‘Round 2’ competitions. The Olympiad is intended to encourage activities beyond the curriculum without putting pressure on teachers.
This year, for the first time, the Olympiad’s ‘Round 2’ includes two exciting competitions that are open to undergraduates and postgraduates studying German and registered at a UK university.
The first competition, ‘A Witness to the Holocaust’, is sponsored by the Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide and invites entrants (second-year undergraduates and above) to translate and write a commentary on an original document from the library. The winner will receive a prize of £100. The text for translation can be downloaded here and work can be submitted via an online registration form on the Oxford German Network website here.
The second competition invites students to write a book proposal on a topic in the field of German literature and/or film that would make a successful and important book and would fit with the profile established by the competition’s sponsors, Camden House and its British imprint Boydell & Brewer, in German studies. A list of books published by Camden House can be viewed here. This competition has two prizes, one each for a submission by an undergraduate and a graduate student (research students are eligible up to 4 years from commencement of a doctoral course). The two winners will each be awarded a prize consisting of either a cash (cheque) prize of £100 or books of their choice published by Camden House up to a value of £150. Entrants for the graduate prize whose proposal relates to an actual project are asked to submit a separate statement if they wish their project to be considered for publication by Camden House (but the award of the prize does not depend on submission of such a statement). Full details of the competition can be downloaded from the online registration form on the Oxford German Network website.
The closing date for both competitions is noon, Friday 3 April 2015. The winners of both competitions will be invited to the Oxford German Olympiad prize-giving ceremony at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, on 23 June 2015.