Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Passing In: Access and influence in higher education

21 November 2018, 1:00 pm–7:00 pm

Rosa Morison

This event is in collaboration with a number of academic modules, and is supported by Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL Culture and UCL Press.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Dr Georgina Bewis and Dr Nina Pearlman


IAS Common Ground and South Cloisters
Ground Floor South Wing & South Cloisters Wilkins Building, UCL
United Kingdom

A study day exploring gender equality at UCL since the 1860s, featuring a re-enactment performance of prospective students’ admissions experience before 1919. Set against the turbulent backdrop of women’s fight for equality in Britain, we invite reflection on the hidden ‘passing-in’ rules still in place for women and minority groups in higher education.

This event is co-conceived and produced by Dr Georgina Brewis, UCL Institute of Education and Dr Nina Pearlman, UCL Culture. It is a collaboration between a number of academic modules and is supported by Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL Culture UCL Press, UCL Institute of Education and UCL Special Collections.

Please find the programme here.

Passing in rule

Passing In Performance

Dr Kate Vigurs, a professional historical interpreter, will take on the role of Miss Rosa Morison, Lady Superintendent of Women students (1883-1912) and, in full costume, she will lead participants on a walking performance of UCL. This is a re-enactment that will immerse participants in UCL as it was between 1883 and 1919. All intending female students had to present a reference, in person, acceptable to the Lady Superintendent of Women Students. In 1883, birth control activist Annie Besant famously failed this test and was refused admittance. Intersections of gender with class, race and religion will be explored.

Please register for one of two performances. Participants will have the opportunity to present themselves to Miss Morison, using stories taken from historic student records or by creating their own. We will be in touch with registered participants one week before the event with further information.

The performance will be open to people of all genders and fully accessible. Please note we will be climbing the stairs to the Portico but lift access can be arranged with advance notice – please contact g.brewis@ucl.ac.uk if you require this.

This event coincides with the recent publication of the revised edition of The World of UCL and the Disrupters and Innovators exhibition at UCL Octagon Gallery. 

Please note that there may be photography and/or audio recording at some events and that admission is on a first come first served basis. Please follow this FAQ link for more information.