BEHIND THE FACADE
2007-8 Oxford University Museums, Oxford
‘A new look at life behind the scenes in Oxford University’s four famous Museums’ – Pitt Rivers
We worked with four community groups as part of the 'Oxfordshire Reflections' programme, a strand of arts projects for Oxfordshire 2007 financially supported by the National Lottery and Arts Council England, co-ordinated by Oxfordshire County Council.
We were given permission to spend time behind the scenes in each of the University’s Museums, talking to and making a photographic record of staff in their places of work. In response we created our work and in addition we worked with four local community groups. We were given an open brief that aimed to enable us to use the material gathered in an original and imaginative way whilst also meeting the museums’ standards for inclusion and accessibility.
The participants came from Oxford Nightshelter, visiting the Ashmolean, PLD Group, Bicester visiting the Museum of the History of Science, Oxpots visiting the Museum of Natural History and Fitzwaryn School visiting the Pitt Rivers Museum.
We met with each group and together photographed members of staff during their working day, experiencing something of the passion and professional expertise usually hidden behind locked doors. Following their visit each group generated sets of images in response to the challenging, contemporary working environments they had encountered.
We then incorporated these images into a series of 'dominoes' which were exhibited at the Museum of Natural History and also in the Museum of the History of Science.
Susan Birch was the the Cross-Museums Community Outreach Officer who supported us in the delivery of this outreach work which was exhibited in the Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum and also exhibited at the Museum of the History of Science.
Gallery: Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, Oxford
Date: 2007-2008 Funding: National Lottery and Arts Council England, co-ordinated by Oxfordshire County Council. Acknowledgments: Our thanks go to Kate White at the Pitt Rivers Museum, and to Fitzwaren School, Oxford Nightshelter, the Garth Centre, Bicester and Oxpots at Woodstock, Oxfordshire for enabling us to work so collaboratively with everyone involved.