These days any organisation’s website is widely regarded as its shop front. It demonstrates wares, gives practical information and entices you to find out more. You can imagine, therefore, our excitement and anxiety in trying to get this shop front right for JAGS.
How could it be possible, with a few select images (most likely popping up on an IPhone or tablet for a few seconds) to encapsulate all that JAGS does and has done? How can you conjure up 275 years of activity and a tradition of excellence whilst also keeping in mind all the diversity and energy of 2016? It was no easy task. Yet in the end the answer was staring us in the face - and his name was James.
Every day I walk down the corridor to my office past the portrait of our founder, James Allen. We are all used to seeing James as a visionary. Who else was educating women back in 1741? And he certainly has the look of a highly educated, serious man. I always feel he would approve of the A*s and the prizes for literature and industry. However, if you take a closer look at that portrait, your eyes are drawn to the words beneath: ‘Six feet high, skilful as a skater, a jumper, athletic … and humane’
It’s a wonderful sentence in so many ways since it makes it clear that, not only do we have a great educationalist and visionary in our DNA, but he was also proud of his height, a lover of sport and, above all, kind. That sentence, beneath a dignified and traditional portrait, encapsulates so much that is still true about JAGS. It’s not just about academic life – crucial as that is. It’s also about everything else the girls do – sport, music, charity. It conveys personality, energy, humour – I might even add eccentricity. It’s about a human being as an individual. And that’s still JAGS in 2016.
So this is how we arrived at the new design for our site. Based on the style and format of portraits, we have sought to convey the diversity and exuberance of our girls. Every one of the girls in the main portraits is portraying genuine activities and achievements that have been part of her life at JAGS. They are all unique, diverse individuals but they all represent JAGS so brilliantly.
I do hope that you will take the time to explore the site and to learn a little more about this wonderful community. And, as the picture of our noble (and surprisingly tall) founder moves out of the way for our scientific, Star-Wars-loving Head Girl, we hope you will be given a sense of what JAGS is really all about. We hope you will be able to picture yourself at JAGS.