Labelling Matters

A gourd with two handles made out of blue, white and brown beads in a triangle pattern with a label hung on it lying on a cloth.

'Labelling Matters: Activating Objects'


Heritage Seed Fund Researcher:
Marenka Thompson-Odlum   |   Pitt Rivers Museum  |  University of Oxford

Partner Organisations:
Oxford Spires Academy and Chrome Media


The Labelling Matters project explores the often problematic language (textual and pictorial) used within the Pitt Rivers Museum. The labelling within the museum is in itself historic, thus the project is seeking ways to create interventions within the museum that does not erase the history of those labels but uses them to explore the processes, such as colonialism, that uphold hierarchical ideologies and stereotypes. The Pitt Rivers Museum seeks to confront uncomfortable histories and the Labelling Matters project has outlined new and innovative forms of interpretation to subvert traditional narratives of the collections within the museum.

Labelling Matters: Activating Objects is a part of the wider Labelling Matters project, in the form of a partnership with Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford Spires Academy and Chrome Media to create a series of short, broadcast-quality podcasts with students from Oxford Spires Academy interacting with items in the collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum, exploring the use of language and text and the challenges presented in that context by the Museum's colonial origins. The students will work with the museum to refine a pilot framework for recognizing said colonial ideas that appear through the museum's use of language. This will bring new voices and perspectives into the Museum in a popular format and will instead counteract the tipp-exing of history by adding nuanced layers.

Past Events