Class within the Collection - Radical Hope

Wednesday 9 February, 17.30 - 19.00 

Radical Hope: We're inviting visitors to connect with the themes driving Pitt Rivers Museum's 2022 research, curation and engagement programmes: immerse yourself in the Play! Project; deconstruct stereotypes as we move Beyond Binaries; join us in Radical Hope to imagine equitable and decolonised heritage spaces; and see a different side to the collections through Museums at Night.

Ladies green silk shoes with cream rosette

When we interrogate the Pitt Rivers collection for class narratives, what can we achieve? How can this uplift others or function as advocacy tools? Together we explore social democracy and how this can affect the museum sector. In a city / collection that speaks to class divide, can we hope to bring ideas and people together? 

Oxford University, the city itself and by extension Pitt Rivers Museum are products of wealth and privilege. They arguably occupy a distinct profile in the UK as ‘elite’ – yet this is not reflective of the city occupants themselves, or the collection at Pitt Rivers.  

Fascinating, emotive, and very human collections in the museum tell us a story of economic and class divide. They evidence inequality, and yet have the capability to function as shared cultural experiences. This session seeks to explore the topic with a panel of incredible speakers unlocking wider narratives on how each piece can advocate positively for communities.   

Is class distinction valid as a topic today? Is this a UK centric conversation? What happens when we apply class narratives to interrogate museum identity today? Can we hope for unity in the class divides? 

Join Jon Sleigh to discover more in an atmosphere of kindness, curiosity, and shared values on inclusion. 

Register to join us online:

Jon Sleigh (he/him)

Jon Sleigh is a freelance Learning Curator and art history writer. He works nationally freelance as a specialist in fine art engagement with a diverse portfolio of arts institutions, museum and heritage sites across the UK. Clients include the National Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, The Courtauld, Tate, The National Archives, Historic Royal Palaces, Art Fund, The Government Art Collection DCMS and the Arts Council Collection. Prior to this Jon worked for Birmingham Museums Trust / The Arts Collection in round one of the acclaimed ACE National Partners Program. 

He produces, delivers and consults on art engagement. Jon has built a national reputation for innovation, applied ethics and delivery of projects reflecting inclusive futures. He has a passion for challenging and underrepresented narratives in art – co-producing with communities to bringing their lived experience to artworks for advocacy. 

Lance Millar (he/him or they/them)

I moved to Oxford from working-class Glasgow to study medical sciences in 2010 and continue to research the developing brain. I have had the privilege to contribute to the Beyond the Binary temporary exhibition as a community curator and long-standing museum volunteer and have a passion for broadening access to museum spaces.