In July 2004, Trinity College acquired a new building, an old doctor’s surgery at 29 Royal Parade directly across the road from the main campus and opportunely situated right next to Naughtons Parkville Hotel. The building quickly became home to English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and was the beginning of a special journey between staff and students lasting more than a decade.
On Thursday 8 December 2016, a reunion was held for teachers of EAP. The gathering was organised by Priti Mukherjee to honour the legacy of 29 Royal Parade.
Priti Mukherjee became a part time lecturer at Trinity College back in 1997. Initially, she was placed at 35 Royal Parade and she and her colleagues were apprehensive about moving to the new building. However, the move started a journey for her and other members of the EAP team.
‘It’s been such a great time, a journey where we grew together. It was like being in an EAP family home where everyday things happened, learning, celebrating achievements and milestones, working out disagreements and so on because at the centre of it was our students. And everyone loved and still loves the students, they are the reason why we are still here,’ says Priti.
Pat Porter is a former lecturer in EAP and holds many fond memories of her time at 29 Royal Parade. She believes the move to 29 Royal Parade was ‘education at its best’ as she moved from seeing her department in isolation to the rest of the College, to being part of the wider community with teachers from other departments such as mathematics and philosophy.
Pat argues, ‘I actually think it was education at its best because you were treating the whole person.’ Through consultation with other teachers and the students themselves, Pat was able to find the best ways to effectively communicate with her students.
Pat said she had previously felt ‘shy’ coming back to former workplaces, however the bond among the EAP staff meant she felt completely at ease when returning for this reunion. She credits the building as being integral to these feelings of comfort.
‘I think it’s the bond. It was an old building, we had to share rooms, there was a common room that was common to all faculties and so I made friends with mathematics teachers, science teachers, drama, everyone,’ Pat remembers.
Edward Rush joined Trinity College in 2014 and was instantly struck by the collegiality of the building and its place within the College and the University. ‘I saw this building here and I thought it was almost like Oxford University or Cambridge University, it looked really special,’ Ed recalls.
Ed who was recently appointed as subject leader for EAP believes the working environment at Trinity is one of the things that makes the College special.
‘I think your environment really influences the way you feel about your job and actually how jobs get structured… the building had the effect of heightening the collegiality, which has been part of the university tradition for hundreds of years,’ highlights Ed.
It is still undecided whether or not 29 Royal Parade will be used for teaching EAP in the future. The building is currently being refurbished, however Priti and other staff still hold hope that they will be able to return again. ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all come back to 29 Royal Parade?’