Preparing to welcome the Oxbridge Sikh Societies Access Conference

Wednesday 8 September 2021


St Catharine’s looks forward to welcoming the 2021 Oxbridge Sikh Societies Access Conference on 6 November 2021. The in-person event is being organised to help, support and encourage prospective Sikh students with information and advice about the “Oxbridge experience”. Online registration is open to students in Years 11 or 12 (or equivalent) from schools across the UK, but closes very soon on 16 September 2021.

Since 2019, an access conference has been held jointly by the Sikh Societies of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. St Catharine’s undergraduate Amrit Singh Kullar is leading the organisation of this year’s event in his capacity as President of the Cambridge University Sikh Society. Amrit explains:

“The 2019 conference was held in person at Christ Church, Oxford, but the 2020 conference coincided with a sudden tightening of COVID-19 restrictions and had to be moved online at short notice. When we needed to find a partner college for this year, St Catharine’s was an obvious choice: the College has an impressive track record in widening participation and the McGrath Centre is a great space for a conference. It’s been a truly collaborative effort between the Society and St Catharine’s, and Kathryn Singleton, the College’s Outreach Manager, has been amazingly supportive every step of the way!

“With the 2021 access conference less than two months away, I can’t wait to welcome attendees so we can demystify life at Cambridge for prospective students. I’m particularly looking forward to the mock interviews, insights from the College’s Admissions Team and the tour we have planned of the College and the wider city.”

The Cambridge University Sikh Society was officially established in Michaelmas Term 2019, representing a dynamic and tight-knit group of Sikh students and fellows. Amrit recalls:

“I personally experienced something of a culture shock when I first arrived in Cambridge to study History in 2019. I was lucky that the brand new Sikh Society was available because it definitely gave me a greater sense of belonging. The Society organises a calendar of activities throughout the year, encompassing religious, social, political and educational events. From Friday prayer meetings – whether in-person or online – to bowling nights, I have really enjoyed the chance to connect with people from similar backgrounds, in addition to the friends I have made at Catz and through my course.”

Amrit served the Sikh Society as Vice President for a year before being elected President in March 2021:

“I got involved in the Society’s activities unofficially at first, by going along to events and helping out, including the 2019 Access Conference. My time as Vice President was brilliant but I had a yearning to contribute even more and to help the Society grow. During my time as President, I’ve been proud of how we have continued to expand our membership, established a talented committee, and built a strong network of contacts with Sikh Societies at other universities – really putting Cambridge on the map for Sikhs in the UK.

“It is important that the Sikh community at Cambridge is visible to prospective students so they can see role models who have succeeded here and feel encouraged to apply. I also hope incoming students this term will feel proud expressing their identity when they arrive at Cambridge and reach out to the Sikh Society to get involved in our activities.”

Amrit Kullar, President of the Cambridge University Sikh Society
Amrit Kullar, President of the Cambridge University Sikh Society

The Sikh Society is open to both students and alumni, although Amrit and the rest of the Committee appreciate that there may be alumni who are not aware of the Society because it did not exist when they were at Cambridge. Anyone who is interested in joining can get in touch by visiting