Oxford is full of portraits. Hundreds of exceptional people from the University’s long history look down at students and staff, and have become part of the environment where they live and work. Too often, these pictures reflect past exclusions and prejudices, so that living with portraits can feel oppressive as well as inspiring. Across Oxford, nevertheless, there are images of individuals – some well-known, and some now almost forgotten – whose achievements challenged the stereotypes of their times.
The Oxford Diversifying Portraiture Project finds, catalogues, and highlights these portraits and the stories they commemorate, such as those of these three pioneering women: Elizabeth Hastings, Cornelia Sorabji, and Dorothy Hodgkin. The small display of artifacts linked to each woman is now available at the Bodleian's Weston Library. Curated by Ruth Scobie.
Working with the project, photographer Joanna Vestey (www.joannavestey.com) has explored how these pictures interact with the public and private spaces of Oxford colleges. Find out more about Oxford’s diverse portraits at www.admin.ox.ac.uk/eop/inpractice/portraiture/ or by following @DivOxPortraits.