Oxford commits to deep partnership with Germany’s largest cultural institution

The University of Oxford and Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (SPK), the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, have signed an agreement which will intensify partnership based on each organisation’s globally renowned cultural and scientific collections and scholarship. SPK and Oxford will work increasingly closely in a breadth of fields including curation, conservation, research, ethics, and public engagement.

Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, and Hermann Parzinger, President of the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, signed a Memorandum of Understanding during an official visit to Berlin by an Oxford delegation. Representatives, including Bodley’s Librarian Richard Ovenden, Xa Sturgis, Director of the Ashmolean Museum, and Laura van Broekhoven, Director of the Pitt Rivers Museum, toured facilities including the Berlin State Library, the city’s Archaeological Centre and the advanced restoration unit of the National Museums in Berlin. Senior representatives of SPK visited the University of Oxford earlier this year.

Hermann Parzinger, President, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, said: ”The University of Oxford is the custodian of some of Europe's most prestigious cultural and scientific collections. Oxford is an outstanding partner for SPK. We hope to establish numerous projects which will draw upon shared expertise and resources in Berlin and Oxford.”

Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Resources at the University of Oxford, added: “We are proud to state that Oxford has been an international university for centuries and our intention is that it should remain an international university for centuries to come. This new partnership builds upon ever closer cooperation between Oxford and colleagues in Berlin. I am delighted that the many talented people who preserve, develop and share the University’s extraordinary cultural collections will have the opportunity to work with partners of such distinction in Berlin.”

Oxford has already announced a new research partnership with Berlin’s four main universities: the Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) of the University of Oxford contain some of the world's most significant collections. While they provide important places of scholarly enquiry, for the public they also represent the front door to a wealth of knowledge and research curated and generated at the University.