July Study Day — A Novel Approach in Oxford

A member’s report on our July Study Day in Oxford on the 16th July 2015, by Emily Shepperson.


The study day began with an introduction to the Museum of Oxford by David Juler, Museum Development Assistant. It was interesting to hear about the ACE funded 40th anniversary projects including 40 years, 40 objects encouraging people to bring in objects connected to the history of the city.


Antonia Harland-Lang, Community Engagement Partnership Officer gave a fascinating short introduction to the museum’s adult learning programme. We heard about creative writing groups and sessions where participants develop writing skills, compose responses to displays and contribute to labels and text panels. It was inspiring to hear about the range of ways to incorporate writing into sessions and how much participants get out of it.


Tom Donegan, Events Manager at the Story Museum gave a really enthusiastic introduction to the new and expanding Museum and the huge range of activities and events they stage including Alice’s Day held all across the city.


Later on half of the group went to visit the Weston Library  (the Bodleian’s special collections library) and the other to the Story Museum. I enjoyed seeing the interactive play spaces at the Story Museum including the ‘Time for Bed’ room and the fun talking throne room.


Everyone enjoyed an amazing lunch by celebrity chef Sophie Grigson and a chance for relaxed, informal networking.


To round up the day we were treated to a poetry workshop with Paul Lyalls, poet in residence at the Museum of Oxford. Paul talked us through how to lead groups through writing a poem by asking simple questions and building up detail in stages. Several brave people shared their poems and the results were really inspiring.


It was a fun and interesting day. I had been intimidated by trying to integrate literacy into projects but now have some simple ideas for how to get started.