Academic Societies

Austyn Mair Engineering Society

Named for the renowned aeronautical engineer and former Head of Department, Austin Mayr is Downing's engineering society. It fosters a strong community between engineering students of all years by hosting several social events, most notably the Engineer's Dinner after the last exams in Easter term. The society also hosts prominent speakers from a variety of engineering fields to engage and inspire. For more information contact Daniel at [email protected].

Blake Society

The Blake Society is Downing’s very own Arts and Humanities society, named after the renowned illustrator and Downing alumnus Sir Quentin Blake. We aim to provide a space for all members of college to explore their interest in the arts and humanities, regardless of their nominal subject of study. We host a variety of speaker events, creative workshops, and social occasions throughout the academic year, including an annual dinner. Highlights from the past year include a film screening and Q&A with Channel 4 film-maker Luna Carmoon as well as tile printing tote bags and pottery painting during exam season!

For more info or any queries, here are our details:

President: Imogen Barnes <[email protected]>

Instagram: @theblakesociety


Brammer Geographical Society

The Brammer Geography Society is named for Hugh Brammer, a Downing Alumnus best known for his work on agro-ecology in Bangladesh. We put on social events each term, which last year included a quiz and a pub crawl, along with an annual speakers event and formal dinner. Recent events have included a talk from Nigel Clifford, current President of the Royal Geographical Society and former CEO of Ordnance Survey, and a visit to London to look around the RGS itself.  

For any questions about Brammer, email current vice-president Ishbel at [email protected] 

Cranworth Law Society

The Cranworth Society is the largest student-run college law society in Cambridge. All undergraduates studying Law at Downing College are automatically members, although we welcome any non-law students who are considering a legal career or converting to Law at any point. Such students should contact the society ([email protected]) to become a member, free of charge. 

The society is active throughout the academic year, maintaining a close relationship with firms of solicitors and chambers. A diverse variety of networking and social events are organised for members, offering a range of opportunities for exploring career options and providing academic support. 

Highlights of the calendar year include a sponsored day trip to the Supreme Court in London, an annual moot against Magdalene College, themed end-of-term private formals, an annual summer garden party, and the Cranworth Annual Dinner. 

The Cranworth Society also recently celebrated the centenary of its foundation, marking this special occasion with a large formal dinner and panel event. Distinguished alumni guests included guest speaker The Rt Hon Lord Lloyd-Jones, The Hon Justice Richard Snowden and Farmida Bi CBE, amongst many other academics, barristers, solicitors and judges across generations of Cranworth alumni. 

For further information about the society, its activities or membership opportunities, please contact [email protected]

Danby Society

The Danby Society aims to foster an intellectual, friendly, and inclusive environment for STEM students in Downing. Danby boasts a history of illustrious guest speakers - including highly decorated academics such as Roger Penrose, John Pendry, and Dennis Lo - and also hosts one of the most popular social calendars in the College (to complement what is, of course, the best subjects...).' 

The termly pub quiz, hosted in the JCR, is undoubtedly a fan favourite; there are also opportunities to socialise with other College science societies, like our formal swap with Larmor of St John's last year, and a joint pub trip with the Caius and Pembroke science societies in Lent 2022. 

For the latest Society news, check out our periodical termtime email newsletter, Danby Digest. Founded just last year, it also hosts a short student-authored science commentary. 

We can't wait to welcome you to Danby! 

Chair: Pawel Lisowski pl497

Secretary: Kiran Amin ka553


Downing's Education Society welcomes undergraduate and postgraduate education students as well as any student of the college with an interest in education. The society has an academic focus with one of its main goals being speakers events. We plan for these to be open to students across the University. 

Additionally, as the committee is conformed of undergraduate, MPhil, Ph.D., and PGCE students, we wish to host social events at which students from across these cohorts can meet, providing them a chance to discuss their interests from different points of view. 

PGCE students in the committee saw a need for opportunities for PGCE students to meet across the University. As such, the society has plans to organize an induction event so as to mark Downing as a 'hub' for PGCE students. The society is also working with the Faculty of Education to communicate academic and professional opportunities to PGCE students. 

Contact information: [email protected] - DES Chair, Cecilia she/her

Maitland Historical Society

The Maitland Society is Downing’s esteemed History society. Typically twice per term, we host a guest speaker who lectures on a chosen topic – often something that they are currently researching – followed by a formal dinner in hall. In Michaelmas term, George Meyers lectured on ‘Queer citizenship in 1990s Britain', and Gareth Atkins gave a talk on: ‘The Essex Girl and the Emperor: Ancient Britain in the Nineteenth Century. In Lent, Professor Helen McCarthy presented 'Writing the History of Women, Work and Care from the Industrial Revolution to Covid 19'. Lastly, we hosted the Maitland Society Annual Dinner in Easter term, where students dressed up as a historical character of their choice. We look forward to the Maitland Centenary dinner this upcoming Michaelmas term, where students and alumni will celebrate 100 years of the society’s existence.


President: Evan Ward [email protected]


Ellie Fitchet [email protected] & Emily Pentney [email protected]

Mathias Society

Whitby Medical Society

The Whitby Society covers vets and medics across your whole time at Downing. We provide welfare, social and academic support over the year through various resources and events including our Freshers' Initiation (not as culty as it sounds), welfare evenings, Part II Evening, swaps and other typical Cambridge socials as well as our annual dinner at the start of Easter (surprisingly more culty than it sounds). We aim to facilitate interaction across all the many vetmeds of Downing, giving everyone some much needed R&R during term while staying vaguely on brand with some handy medical bits along the way! 

For any questions about the Whitby Society, email Reuben Thomas at [email protected]