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Working with the University Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) offers a unique opportunity to engage the public in inspirational spaces, and is a focus for the University's strategic plan for public engagement. Our researchers have a number of opportunities to become involved with events at these locations.

Working with GLAM

Image courtesy of Museum of Natural History



Since 2015 the Oxford Museum of Natural History has run a series of exhibitions in the Upper Gallery which showcase contemporary research at the University of Oxford (forming part of the museum's Contemporary Science and Society Programme). The Medical Sciences Division has engaged extensively with this programme, contributing to two major exhibitions – ‘Brain Diaries’ and ‘Settlers.’

Developed in partnership with Oxford Neuroscience, Brain Diaries (March 2017 - January 2018) charted the fascinating changes that take place in the brain with each new chapter of life. As well as being involved in the planning of this exhibition, Divisional researchers took part in an accompanying programme of public events that explored translational and clinical neuroscience research, and contributed to online digital resources including an animation by Oxford Sparks to help visitors of all ages understand the latest neuroscience research. Brain Diaries enabled researchers at all career levels to leverage the museum's experience and skills in public engagement, and received a Building Capacity Award at the Vice Chancellor's Awards for Public Engagement with Research. In total, over 170,000 people visited the exhibition and over 11,000 attended associated events.

Exploring the Settlers Exhibition

Enjoying the exhibits at 'Settlers'. Image courtesy of Museum of Natural History

‘Settlers’ (February - September 2018) explored the cultural and genetic impact of major movements of people in Britain. It was based around the People of the British Isles research project which was led by Walter Bodmer (Department of Oncology), and featured extensive research from the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics (Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine). It also drew on research from other departments of the University including The School of Geography and Environment and The School of Archaeology to offer a multi-disciplinary insight into the people of the British Isles. Check out an Oxford Sparks animation linked to the exhibition. 

The current exhibition at the Museum, developed with the Department of Biochemistry, explores the influence of bacteria in our lives. 'Bacterial World' seeks to rehabilitate the reputation of bacteria and counter the popular misconception that they are all bad, or to be feared. Incorporating more than 55 exhibits – spanning monumental art, geological and deep-sea specimens, film, and digital interactives – Bacterial World demonstrates how these tiny organisms wield huge influence over us, shaping the past, present and future of life on our planet. The exhibition features items generously loaned from institutions including the Wellcome Collection, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, the Pitt Rivers Museum, and the Natural History Museum, London.



Super Science Saturdays at the Oxford Museum of Natural History encourage DPhil and Postdoc Researchers to deliver activities based on their research to a family audience. Medical Sciences researchers have taken part in a number of Super Science Saturday events. 

A young visitor at a Super Science Saturday. Image courtesy of Museum of Natural History




On LiveFridays, GLAM locations stay open late and give the public the opportunity to experience their collections after hours. On Halloween, researchers from the The Paediatric and Infant Pain & Anaesthesia (PiPA) group, led by Dr Rebeccah Slater (Department of Paediatrics) participated in ‘FrightFriday’ with an exploration of how adults and babies experience pain, using models, games and images to look at how reliably infant pain can be measured and demonstrate the remarkable neural activity overlap between adult and infant pain.

Researchers from the Department of Paediatrics at 'Fright Night.' Images courtesy of the Department of Paediatrics.  


History of Science Museum LogoResearchers from the Division regularly take part in public lectures, family-friendly events, gallery tours, table talks and much more at the History of Science Museum. Recently, the Museum has held an exhibition entitled ‘BioArt and Bacteria,’ which exhibited the work of Anna Dumitriu, artist in residence in the Modernising Medical Microbiology Group (Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine). The exhibition included many of her collaborations with the group to take visitors on an artistic journey through infection, from the Romantic period to contemporary synthetic biology.