Oxford Alumni Weekend focuses on the library collections and treasures

24 August 2010

basic_forwebThe Oxford Alumni Weekend (24-26 September 2010) is the University’s flagship event for alumni. Held each September, this three-day event aims to highlight some of the ground-breaking research undertaken by Oxford’s academic staff, as well as showcase the achievements of many former students. In 2010 the theme of the Weekend is ‘Shared Treasures’ and the Bodleian will be playing a particularly prominent part. Last year, Oxford University’s museums, libraries and archives were awarded the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize in recognition of their outstanding quality and their high public benefit.

For those interested in Oxford’s library collections, Bodley’s Librarian Dr Sarah Thomas will be in conversation with Dr Alice Prochaska, former Yale University Librarian and the newly-appointed Principal of Somerville, discussing the ‘infinitely expanding universe of memory’ and collections in the digital age. What is the value of Oxford’s library collections in a world where Google has digitised more books than are held by the Bodleian Libraries? Are the distinctions between the published and the unpublished becoming blurred?

Dr Richard Ovenden, Keeper of Special Collections, will also be looking at the Bodleian’s great acquisitions, from Alan Bennett’s gift of his literary archive to Cavalli’s Erismena, the earliest surviving score of an opera in the English language. Hear more about the ‘treasure trove’ which is the Bodleian today and some of the acquisitions which will be major resources for generations of scholars to come.

The Divinity School will also provide the backdrop to a spectacular Samurai sword demonstration. Oxford trip scholar Michael Jay is only the second non-Japanese man to hold a Samurai rank. Hear about his journey to becoming a Samurai and attend a rare demonstration of Japan’s premier martial school, the dynamic Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu, unchanged since the 15th century. This will be followed by a viewing of the actual logbook of the incredible voyage of William Adams, the first non-Japanese Samurai, housed in the Bodleian Library.

As well as lectures and demonstrations, there will be an expanded series of behind-the-scenes tours. From ‘Unusual Oxford’ to Inspector Morse tours, tours of college silver to tours of the University Herbarium, visits to archives to ‘literary treasures’ walks, explore those parts of Oxford you may never have seen as a student. These include a range of Bodleian tours and visits to the Duke Humfrey’s Library.

All this takes place within the wider context of a celebration of Oxford’s collections more generally. Not only did the 2009-10 academic year see the reopening of the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museums, in November the University’s museums, libraries and archives were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. This was Oxford’s seventh such prize, more than have been awarded to any other University, and recognises the outstanding quality and public benefit of our peerless collections.

The Oxford Alumni Weekend will take place on Friday 24 September - Sunday 26 September. The event is open to all Oxford alumni and their guests. Booking for the event closes on Monday 6 September. For more information and to reserve your place, please visit www.alumniweekend.ox.ac.uk. Alternatively, contact Alumni Office staff on Tel: +44 (0)1865 611 621 or email alumniweekend@alumni.ox.ac.uk

Related links

  • Oxford Alumni Weekend
    24-26 September

    More information, the programme and registration for the event

  • Bodleian events
    A full list of the OAW events at the Bodleian and other forthcoming events
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