JC Niala is working with the Museum of Oxford on their Journeys to Oxford permanent exhibition as the museum prepares to re-launch in 2020. Journeys to Oxford is an exhibition featuring the lives of people who have moved to Oxford and have left their mark on the city. Using a mixture of traditional display cabinets and listening posts, visitors to the museum will receive a guided experience of the City of Oxford from a diverse and inclusive perspective. The exhibition will bring to the fore the fascinating but often lesser told history of the city. JC is a doctoral student in the Department of Anthropology with a passion for Oxford’s social history. The City of Oxford is her research field site and previous projects include Women in Oxford’s History Podcast series, contributing to the Out in Oxford museums trail and a mini-ethnography of a street in Summertown. The collaboration between JC and the Museum of Oxford is also a means for knowledge exchange with Oxford residents.
The Labelling Matters project explores the often problematic language (textual and pictorial) used within the Pitt Rivers Museum. The labelling within the museum is in itself historic, thus the project is seeking ways to create interventions within the museum that does not erase the history of those labels but uses them to explore the processes, such as colonialism, that uphold hierarchical ideologies and stereotypes. The Pitt Rivers Museum seeks to confront uncomfortable histories and the Labelling Matters project has outlined new and innovative forms of interpretation to subvert traditional narratives of the collections within the museum.
Labelling Matters: Activating Objects is a part of the wider Labelling Matters project, in the form of a partnership with Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford Spires Academy and Chrome Media to create a series of short broadcast-quality podcasts with students from Oxford Spires Academy interacting with items in the collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum, exploring the use of language and text and the challenges presented in that context by the Museum's colonial origins. The students will work with the museum to refine a pilot framework for recognizing said colonial ideas that appear through the museum's use of language. This will bring new voices and perspectives into the Museum in a popular format and will instead counteract the tipp-exing of history by adding nuanced layers.