This ethnographic observation report takes place at Ormond College, one of twelve residential colleges at the University of Melbourne. It is the largest college on campus with a little over 400 residents. Established in 1879, the college has a rich and diverse history. Designed by renowned architect Joseph Reed, its buildings remain some of Melbourne’s most elegant landmarks. This report particularly focuses on its famed dining hall, where parallels are often made between it and the dining hall at Hogwarts School of Wizardry in the Harry Potter movies and books. Every Monday and Wednesday night, the college gathers for its Formal Dinner, where it is a requirement for the students to wear formal robes over their usual clothes. As the students enter the large doors to the Great Hall, they are welcomed into a massive semi medieval room by formal waiter’s who direct you towards one of the long elegant wooden tables. The hall is simply breathtaking with its high ceilings and traditional old English design. The wall space between the cathedral like windows is adorned with magnificent paintings of all the colleges previous Masters. Once the students have all been directed to their tables, they continue standing as the college Master enters the hall followed by other senior staff members and tutors all wearing formal robes like the students. The senior staff takes their place on the High Table, a glorious long table situated on a stage looking over the students. The Masters chair, which can only be described as something resembling a royal throne, is right in the middle of the long table. The Master greets the students from his throne, updating the community on the latest happens at the college before then announcing th...
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...s even notice this paradox of multiculturalism and if so, does it even bother them? On the surface it would seem not, everyone is enjoying their dinner with smiles upon their faces engaging with one another in a positive fashion, filling the room with an infectious energy that makes you want to be a better person. Yet as the senior staff on the High Table rise to leave the Great Hall after dinner, every students eyes follow their departure as if unconsciously acknowledging their subservience to the Western European Christian paradigm that is symbolized throughout these Formal Dinners, and that has complete influence and control over this apparently diverse and multicultural community.
Ormond College 2013, Ormond College, Parkville viewed 20th August 2014,
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