Talking Memory Project Announcement

Figure of an angel from ceiling decoration


We are delighted to announce that Dr Jim Harris and Alexis Gorby has been awarded a TORCH Humanities Project Fund grant for their project.

Museums are not just static keepers of history but are spaces of care with the ability to improve people’s wellbeing. Talking Memory is a Public Engagement with Research project connecting the role of museums as repositories of memories with their role as spaces of social care. By examining the theme of memory with an interdisciplinary cohort of Oxford postgraduate and early career researchers and older adults, Talking Memory offers an opportunity to foster meaningful encounters between researchers, museum collections, and the public. The project’s combination of gallery talks, informal discussions, and art projects is designed to promote mental wellbeing in a growing demographic, older adults. Studies have shown that when older adults engage with object-oriented talks, reminiscence programming, and creative art projects in museums, they improve mood, self-esteem, cognition, and overall mental wellbeing. Talking Memory promotes Oxford as a leader in the Humanities by highlighting the role of the Ashmolean as a space of social care and aiming to improve the targeted audience’s wellbeing, while also creating benefits and value for the post-graduate and ECR participants in terms of their PER experience, growing the impact of their work, and in the transferable skills of collections-based research, public speaking and cross-disciplinary collaboration.


Dr Jim Harris said:

“Talking Memory is a project after the Museum’s own heart, weaving together important strands of our twin roles at the core of a great research University and in the life of a great city.  The part museums play in preserving, recounting, activating and creating memory is one of their most important functions.  I’m excited to see how new research on the memories of objects can help to draw out the memories of some of our older visitors - and to hear the stories they have to tell us!”



To find out more about the Humanities Cultural Programme funded project please visit: Talking Memory