Diversifying Portraiture at Oxford

Hundreds of portraits of exceptional individuals hang on the walls of the University of Oxford. These pictures celebrate stories from our past, make visible our values and ambitions for the future, and help to shape the present living and working environment for staff, students, and visitors. And over the last nine centuries, Oxford’s walls have become home to many portraits of pioneering men and women – some well-known, and some now almost forgotten – whose achievements and images challenged the stereotypes and exclusions of their times and in some cases continue to do so today.

We are excited that a range of newly commissioned portraits will be on display at an exhibition in the Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, from 24 November 2017.

The Full Picture: Oxford in Portraits will feature more than 20 paintings, drawings, and photographs commissioned earlier this year as part of the Diversifying Portraiture project.

The project aims to broaden the range of people represented around the University and features living Oxonians including BBC journalist Reeta Chakrabarti, eminent astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, human rights activist Kumi Naidoo, film and television director Ken Loach, and broadcaster and charity campaigner Dame Esther Rantzen.

The exhibition – free and open to the public – will feature current academics and former students: a mixture of individuals including people with disabilities, people from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and people from LGBTQ+ communities. Sitters were selected from over a hundred nominations of living Oxonians. 

The project, funded by the Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Fund, has already catalogued existing paintings from around the University that highlight the range of pioneering figures whose achievements over the centuries have challenged the stereotypes of their time.

For information, see us in the Bodleian What's On guide www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/whatson/whats-on/upcoming-events/2017/nov/oxford-in-portraits and follow us on twitter.com/DivOxPortraits