Eloquent Things: Teaching Using Real Objects (HT24)

The Sir Francis Chantrey Busts in the Ashmolean Museum

©OUImages/Phil Sayer Partnership

In an increasingly virtual world, direct encounters with real objects have come to be regarded as important and versatile tools in University teaching across a wide range of disciplines. The Ashmolean has established itself as a pioneer of this exciting new pedagogy.

Eloquent Things is a short course intended as an introduction to the principles and practice of teaching with objects and comprises four mornings in the study rooms and galleries of the Ashmolean Museum.

Using works of art and archaeological material gathered from the Ashmolean’s extraordinary collections, we will discover methodologies that are also applicable to rare books, buildings, everyday objects or, indeed, any type of material culture. We will consider how you might collaborate with curatorial staff in museums, and the advantages and disadvantages of working in the Study Room with objects taken from storage or in the galleries looking at objects on display.

We will also explore how teaching with objects can offer new routes in to your own research; open up new ways of working with students in the classroom; or lead to inter- or multi-disciplinary forms of teaching.

The course is led by Dr Jim Harris, Teaching Curator at the Ashmolean. Jim trained as an art historian at the Courtauld Institute of Art, specialising in late medieval and Renaissance polychrome sculpture, but his teaching at Oxford spans a wide range of disciplines from the Medical Sciences to the Humanities, calling into service the full breadth of the Ashmolean’s collections.

The course runs at the Ashmolean Museum over four mornings in the same week, with a small group of 8 DPhils and Postdocs. It is essential that participants commit to the whole course.

To apply for a place on the course, please email training@humanities.ox.ac.uk with the following information by 9am on Monday 19th February 2024:

  • Current course.
  • Year of study.
  • Do you have any experience of teaching, and in particular, teaching in a collections setting?
  • How you imagine material/visual culture might usefully inform your research/teaching (whether or not it currently does so).
  • Confirm you can attend all four days of the course.
  • Please confirm which dates you are applying for as two courses are running this term - 26th - 28th Feb & 1st March, or the 5th March - 8th March

Spaces for each course is limited and priority will be given to postdoctoral researchers and those in years 3 and 4 of their DPhil.

For further information contact training@humanities.ox.ac.uk.