The Dilettante Society was originally founded back in 1882 by a group of students. It served as a forum for informal discussion where undergraduates and fellows could meet and debate issues in a relaxed environment. The topics were varied, but the format for the meetings was well standardised: a speaker would talk on the subject of interest for between 20 and 30 minutes, followed by a general discussion where everyone would have a chance to air their views.

Currently the Dilettante Society meets twice a term in the Thirkill Room, Old Court, to discuss a topic of the speaker’s interest (although not their academic expertise, hence Dilettante!). In true Dilettante tradition, the informal discussions among the students and fellows are ‘On any subject but the subject’. The society also organises an annual dinner with a distinguished guest speaker, often a Clare alumnus, to speak on a topic of their choice. The topics have ranged from discussion on the nature of democracy to cyborgs, so come along to extend your horizons!