Out in Oxford

An LGBTQ+ Trail of the University of Oxford's Collections

 

 

Stephen Fry

(c) Claire Newman Williams

One of the simplest things museums do – so simple it’s easy to overlook – is to connect us to the worlds that our ancestors saw, interacted with, shared, dreamed of, planned, ran away from and interpreted. At the simplest level to see ourselves reflected back through the generations is a very rewarding, exciting and fulfilling experience. To see that our people looked at, considered, explored, generated and played with ideas of sexuality with as much freedom, imagination and insight as ours comes as a relief, a confirmation and an enchantment.

Portrait of R. B. Parkinson in the British Museum, by Simon Davis (2007). By kind permission of R. B. Parkinson.

Portrait of R. B. Parkinson in the British Museum
by Simon Davis (2007)
By kind permission of R. B. Parkinson

Stephen Fry

 


LGBTQ+ histories are becoming increasingly visible in museums, and this inspiring new trail shows how Oxford’s collections reflect the diversity of human cultures and of the natural world. ‘Out in Oxford’ reassuringly reminds us that LGBTQ+ people have always been an integral part of human life and that our varied identities are not limited to the usual set of media stereotypes.

Visibility is important and it is especially welcome in a university city where many young people come out. On a personal level, I’m delighted to see this trail happen in a place that always feels romantic to me, since it’s where I first met my husband. The University is wonderfully committed to equality and diversity, and he has been made to feel very much at home in my own college, Queen’s. But we still think twice before holding hands elsewhere in the University and the legacy of hetero-normative history can still seem oppressively persistent. The time of full equality is not quite with us yet, but a trail like this brings it closer, by showing to everyone that we are utterly normal parts of the world: it provides a vision of what Oxford can and should be as a diverse, inclusive home for all its inhabitants. 

Richard Bruce Parkinson


Introduction

Welcome to Out in Oxford, the University of Oxford’s first cross-collections trail!

This trail is the result of ‘Celebrating Diversity’, a project funded by Arts Council England via the Oxford University Museums Partnership and created with the LGBTQ+ community. Nearly fifty volunteers who identify as LGBTQ+ or are allies have been involved writing the interpretations and co-curating the trail’s launch events. Through these interpretations we strive to celebrate diversity and highlight LGBTQ+ experiences. The items included have been identified with the help of staff from each collection represented. Through Out in Oxford, we hope to offer alternative insights into our shared, queer heritage.

Logo for Museums+Heritage Awards 2017

This project is a response to a lecture given by Professor Richard Parkinson, author of A Little Gay History, Professor of Egyptology at the Faculty of Oriental Studies and a Fellow of The Queen’s College, Oxford, during LGBT History Month, February 2016. The lecture highlighted the demand for more explicit, not implicit, LGBTQ+ representation within museum displays. We are proud to be launching this trail a year later during LGBT History Month 2017. 2017 is an auspicious year as it is the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.

Address, website and admission information for each collection is available on the relevant page. If you have specific requirements or accessibility needs, please check these details before planning your route. Check the relevant gallery guide inside each building to find out where the items are displayed. The locations of each item are correct as of January 2017, but displays do sometimes change - ask gallery staff for help if you cannot find what you are looking for. 

To get in touch, please e-mail prm@prm.ox.ac.uk.


 


Supported by

Logos: Oxford University Equality and Diversity Unit; Oxford Pride; LGBT History Month; My Normal; Stonewall

 

Funded by

Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Funding logos

 

Out in Oxford Logo

Related Events

Download the leaflet

PARTY AT THE PITT
11 February 19.00-22.00 | Pitt Rivers Museum

Immersive performances, hands on activities, pop up exhibitions, and special talks

IS GENDER IDENTITY A CHOICE
16 February 19.00-21.30 | Pitt Rivers Museum

Join Philosophy in Pubs to discuss over a drink in the galleries

OUT IN OXFORD SPOTLIGHT TALK
18 February 14.30-15.30 | Pitt Rivers Museum

Hear all about the 'Out in Oxford' project

MY NORMAL TAKEOVER NIGHT
25 February 18.00-21.00, Pitt Rivers Museum

Social evening curated by LGBTQ+ young people from Oxfordshire

PARIS IS BURNING
28 February 18.00-20.30, Pitt Rivers Museum

Film screening and panel discussion of a cult classic

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