Perse Studio

Independent-learning super-curriculum projects: reading, research and ideas shared by Perse students


To what extent is Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler a feminist play?

By Georgia G – U6

 Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler is often labelled a feminist play, but this has not been universally accepted. This essay explores arguments for and against the assumption that the play is feminist; one can argue that it is since its protagonist is undoubtedly oppressed by society’s patriarchal conventions, contemporary audiences identified with her for this reason, and there are reasons to suggest that we can all sympathise with Hedda. Arguments to the contrary are that Hedda is in fact entirely unsympathetic so cannot positively advocate feminism, that Ibsen’s intentions point away from feminism, or that her suffering is the result of her own weak character, not society’s gender inequality. I will conclude that Hedda Gabler is an implicitly feminist play since it asserts that women are primarily human beings, and equal to men in the sense that they are allowed universality, and are not restricted to the feminine. To complete my research, I used a range of critical articles from 1891 (the year the play premiered) to today, as well as extracts from books on Ibsen and his plays. Conscious that a play is about more than the written word, my research includes references to Hedda Gabler productions and the views of actors and directors, again from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

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To what extent do Paralympians utilising advanced sports prostheses have an advantage over able bodied athletes?

By Tabitha S – U6

In this essay I aim to determine whether athletes utilising advanced sports prosthetics have an advantage over able bodied athletes. Initially I started researching into the general topic of prosthetics, which greatly interested me because it applies numerous scientific disciplines to make a very meaningful and positive difference to the lives of amputees. I discovered that the ethical implications of using prosthetics are incredibly important, especially as advancements in prosthetic design propel the performance of such devices far beyond what we may have considered possible even ten years ago. Continue reading


Investigating images of bioluminescence from the Protein Data Bank and use these to design and create a garment through laser cutting

By Rachel G – U6

The Protein Data Bank Europe issued a challenge to students to create a piece of artwork that incorporates science (via their collection of protein molecule images) with art. I was intrigued by this idea of crossing the boundaries of art into science and vice versa, and was excited by the opportunity to have access to PDBe’s specialist software to design some interesting images for use in my project, and subsequently chose to attempt my own interpretation of this challenge. One idea for inspiration they presented me with was bioluminescent proteins; an area of biology which I knew little about, and after some research into the science behind bioluminescence and its uses, I found it an interesting topic to research.

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Fordlandia: Why Henry Ford’s Utopian City in the Jungle failed

By Daniel R – Y9

This essay aims to explore why the now mostly derelict city of Fordlandia in Brazil was established by the American industrialist Henry Ford in the late 1920s. Ford aimed to overturn the British monopoly of rubber production, but no Ford car ever used rubber from his ill-fated plantation. This essay looks at the failure of this project whose name is associated with a man of unprecedented industrial success.

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Soap – A brief history and what is new?

Jemima F – Y8

Soap is a product that is easily taken for granted in the modern world because it is so readily available and cheap to buy but it is a necessity that saves lives. 1.4 million deaths around the globe every single year can be prevented by hand washing properly with soap. Almost everyone in the world has used it but what is actually in it, how is it made and where did it come from?

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Why do some countries have female leaders, while in others, women have no rights at all?

Imogen W – Y8

Throughout 2016, there were a lot of news stories about the increase of women in positions of political power. Reuters wrote “May, Merkel, Clinton – the year of female leaders.” And the BBC’s headline says, “Are women taking over British Politics?” At the same time, I was reading Malala Yousafzai’s biography which includes information about how girls in Pakistan were being encouraged not to go to school. I wanted to know more about the rights and opportunities of women across the world, so I decided to investigate.

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