Oxford University's Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) contain some of the world's most significant collections. Part of GLAM’s vision for the future is that the GLAM institutions continue to be an authoritative place to which people increasingly turn for insight into cultural and natural heritage – present and past.
A major focus within the museum and heritage sector at present is challenging perceptions and demonstrating the vital role in society of such institutions. This can partly be achieved through cutting-edge research and teaching and ensuring evidence-based stewardship, collections care, documentation and interpretation, and sometimes re-interpretation of collections via research and/or co-creation with communities. Such work may be relatively simple or more complex, from adding a new label in a cabinet to creating new interpretation boards or displays around decolonisation, for example.
(Re)interpretation of GLAM’s collections is something that might be done as part of another piece of public engagement with research – e.g. part of a special exhibition or display, or part of co-curation project – but not usually as a public engagement with research (PER) activity in its own right. However, it has been treated as a separate category here to highlight to researchers the potential opportunity for public engagement with research.
Activities can be tailored to suit different audiences. (Re)interpretation of collections can be appropriate/useful for all audiences, and may be particularly appropriate/useful for:
• Community groups and special interest groups
• Underrepresented audiences
Note that this is not an exhaustive or exclusive list and that these type of activities may be suitable for groups not listed here.
Please be aware that GLAM venues have full and busy programmes and it may not be possible to pick up activities that have already been fully developed or to deal with urgent requests. Ideally, activities should be co-created with GLAM from project conception and researchers should get in contact early so that we can work together to develop your ideas. Please note that while researchers may contact GLAM departments directly they are also encouraged to contact departmental/Divisional PER facilitators for interim support/guidance.
Please note that the banner image on this page features examples of problematic old labels from the Pitt Rivers Museum as part of their Labelling Matters project which is reviewing the Museum's use of language for the 21st century.