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This is an archive site and is not updated. It represents works conducted by Oxford University Museums funded by Arts Council England between 2012-2018. For information about our current work please visit

Creative Connections

2 September 13 -- jsuess
Guest post from Simone Dogherty, Family Education Officer, Pitt Rivers Museum

The exam board, Pearson Edexcel, recently approached the Oxford University Museums to create a resource that would explore connections between the museums’ collections and their contextual influences. Aimed at Art and Design teachers, the resource will connect museum objects to contemporary art, similar making processes, related forms and other conceptual ideas.

Sarah Mossop, an Arts Consultant and Learning & Engagement Specialist, was brought on board to write and lead the creation of the resource. Alongside Sarah, Adrian Brooks (Art Education Officer for the Museums) shared his expertise in the collections and Simone Dogherty (Families Education Officer, Pitt Rivers) designed and compiled their work into an interactive document that would be uploaded online.

The result was an interactive resource that spring-boarded a myriad of artistic influences from one central object, to encourage Art and Design teachers to use the museums’ collections in similar ways.

The first collection to create the resource was the Pitt Rivers Museum. Working with Andy McLellan, Head of Education, and Laura Peers, acting Director, the central object chosen was the beautiful Haida Wooden Chest. From this, many similar making processes were explored, including the pictured wooden box by contemporary British artist Howard Raybould (pictured).

The resource also expands to include other similar objects in the Museum, and from there comparisons are made between, for example, the Totem Pole and Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North.

Alongside images and explanatory text, there are links to online videos, audio files and other artists’ websites to continue the inspiration.

By having the resource available online both from the Pearson Edexcel website and the OUMC joint museum website, it will help demonstrate how the museums’ collections relate to contextual influences in Pearson Edexcel’s art, craft and design courses. Providing this creative teacher’s resource, it will hopefully encourage teachers to creatively utilise the huge potential the museums’ collections have for inspiring students in their work.

Once the Pitt Rivers resource has been up and running for a few months, it will go on to be replaced by a similar resource from the Museum of the History of Science, the Museum of Natural History and the Ashmolean, each with their own unique object and artistic creative connections. In total, there will be 6 of these resources to view, and all will remain on the OUMC joint museums website for their continued use.