Digging Crates

Words Digging Crates in black in a diamond shape

Primary Investigator

Beth McDougall (Pitt Rivers Museum)

Partner Organisations:

Rawz - Urban Music Foundation | Inner Peace Records

Digging Crates brings together Hip Hop and African sounds to decolonise the Pitt Rivers Museum’s instrument Collection. Creatively Led by Rawz (Urban Music Foundation/Inner Peace Records) and Beth McDougall (Pitt Rivers Museum), Digging Crates will offer new interpretation for visitors to engage differently with once silenced instruments.

Digging Crates offers a critical look at the role museums and the objects they care for in delivering public engagement practice that not only entertains but also makes space for original thinking with researchers.

In collaboration with Oxfordshire based Inner Peace Records collective and musicians with African heritages, Digging Crates will sample the sounds of instruments linked to the collection. These samples will be developed in to original Hip Hop tracks by Inner Peace Records, as well as made available as open source samples for future musicians to mix for themselves.

Project lead, Rawz said:

"It feels so significant to be able to use the global art form of hip hop to start to break down and analyse some of the historic structures and patterns of behaviour that contribute so heavily to the imbalances we see in our communities today. 


The impact of this project is enhanced greatly by the fact that I developed it in partnership with the Pitt Rivers Museum; a place that was initially created to strengthen these divisive forces but is now leading the way in the process of addressing and healing the errors of our shared past."


Daw Media Filmmaker, Sam Mansell, in collaboration with students from SAE Institute, is documenting the process for The Digging Crates Documentary: Vol 1, to be shared as part of the IF Oxford Science & Ideas Festival.

Finally, Hip Hop Professor Jason Stanyek based at St.John’s Oxford and Ethnomusicologist, Noel Lobley, based at University of Virginia will be answering the big questions around sampling music ethically as part of the Pitt Rivers Museum Radical Hope Series.

This project is supported by the TORCH HCP fund, Helen Roll Foundation, CLORE Duffield Foundation, Art Fund Access Fund and Bertha Foundation.

Find out more about our upcoming Public Programme on the TORCH What's On page and the Pitt Rivers Museum website.

Oxford Contemporary Music in black writing, white background



Beth McDougall


Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, one of the founding stones for the

future Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities.