Dr Oliver Cox has contributed a chapter to a new interdisciplinary edited collection that brings together factual and fictive texts and spaces to interrogate what constituted the typical Georgian home
The eighteenth-century home, in terms of its structure, design, function, and furnishing, was a site of transformation – of spaces, identities, and practices. Home has myriad meanings, and although the eighteenth century in the common imagination is often associated with taking tea on polished mahogany tables, a far wider world of experience remains to be introduced. At Home in the Eighteenth Century brings together factual and fictive texts and spaces to explore aspects of the typical Georgian home that we think we know from Jane Austen novels and extant country houses while also engaging with uncharacteristic and underappreciated aspects of the home.
Dr Cox’s chapter, ‘Twenty-first century visitors in eighteenth-century spaces: challenges and opportunities’ seeks to bridge the gap between the ever-expanding galaxy of academic research into the long eighteenth century with the needs, requirements and constraints of organizations that open eighteenth-century spaces to the public. He argues that whilst the increasing diversity of methodological approach and thematic enquiry continues to have significant benefit for the study of eighteenth-century domestic space within the academy, there remain significant challenges and obstacles in translating this new research into on-site interpretation and engaging stories for visitors.
He suggests that solutions can be found both through developing new ways of sharing the outputs of research and through new ways of collaborative working. The chapter uses examples from a suite of projects at the University of Oxford and suggests potential approaches to interpretation and visitor experience that are rooted in eighteenth-century specific ways of experiencing and understanding domestic space.
The book will be published by Routledge on 17th September 2021.
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TORCH Heritage Programme