Diversifying the University Voice - IT Innovation Award

The Pitt Rivers Museum, in partnership with TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities), has been awarded £60,000 from the University of Oxford IT Innovation Challenges Fund to create two mobile apps to share Oxford’s diverse voices, stories, research and collections to a wider public.

Bringing Student Voices into the Pitt Rivers Museum

The first project will enable the Pitt Rivers Museum to unleash new voices within the context of the Museum space. Oxford students and researchers will be invited to create alternative interpretations of the collections, asserting connections between objects and their origins, biographies, use or contemporary significance. Utilising the Museum’s free public Wi-Fi, these diverse perspectives will be delivered via a web app, encouraging users to seek new pathways through the galleries, broadening their understanding of the collections and enhancing their visitor experience.

Exploring Diversity Across the City

The second mobile app 'Oxford Alternative Stories' is part of TORCH’s 'Humanities and Identities' series for 2017, which brings discussion of issues such as race, gender, and sexuality to the fore. Taking to the city’s streets and buildings, TORCH will work with researchers from a wide-range of disciplines to create an interactive app to reveal diverse stories and their links to Oxford’s buildings, spaces, and places.

Testing, Technology and Training

The project will create a content management system (CMS) to support the production and organisation of compelling mobile-optimised content, which will be available on user-friendly apps. The specifications for the app template shall be determined through consultation with potential authors and consumers at information-gathering workshops. The content will be then produced by students and researchers and potentially other stakeholders (e.g. source communities), who will be trained in writing and producing content for mobile and a general public audience.

The apps will be different in their contexts – one will be delivered within the discrete, curated public space of a museum, the other ‘in the wild’ across the city of Oxford - but both apps will bring creative new perspectives to Oxford’s diverse objects and places. The project will run from September 2016 to early 2018.