Last Thursday, the College set off for their long-awaited stay in Oxford. The main purpose of the trip was cultural, as Oxford has a rich history to explore and experience. As well as this, several workshops would help build on the theme of cultural identity that has been studied in Art and History this term. We were greeted in Oxford by glorious sunshine as we made the short walk to the amazing University College.
We settled into our 400-year old rooms before attending a class at the Ashmolean on body image across cultures throughout history. This gave us a broad overview of how the human form can be represented so differently ranging from 6000 year old fertility statues through to modern art. After this, we met Mrs Unsworth and Dr Robin Darwall-Smith who gave us a fascinating tour of the oldest college in the UK. For many, this was the highlight of the trip as Robin’s endless knowledge and vibrant enthusiasm really brought Univ to life. We enjoyed a delicious meal in Univ’s grand hall which really completed the Oxford exprience for the first day.
On Friday we set off early to go to the Museum of Natural History, where we saw the famous dinosaur skeletons and dodo. We then ventured into the fascinating and macabre Pitt Rivers Museum for a session on object handling and what this tells us about culture. Kinder was fascinated by the totem poles, ancient masks and (of course) the shrunken heads! In the afternoon, the College got to see what a functioning research department looks like with a tour of the Zoology Department by from Dr Beth Mortimer. Beth spoke about academia and research and gave an exclusive look around the laboratories. This included a giant greenhouse full of enormous spiders!
On the final day, we went to Green Templeton College to visit the Radcliffe Observatory. We were shown around by Mrs Gill Edwards, who has a vast knowledge of the observatory and its history and Kinder greatly enjoyed climbing up the impressive Georgian structure and admiring the lovely views. It was a truly amazing trip for everyone who went and the College will be talking about it for many years.
My special thanks go to Mrs Unsworth, whose generosity in arranging our stay made it all possible.