The Bodleian Libraries take part in a wide range of special projects which aim to strengthen the links between the Bodleian and local communities. We work with artists and musicians to interpret our collections in creative ways.
Recent schools visits have covered topics as far ranging as J.R.R.Tolkien and Shakespeare, and have explored everything from the Bodleian’s renowned botanical manuscripts to the representation of Palestinian refugees in Oxfam’s archives.
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Ballads at the Bodleian: songs of life & love
October 2017 – April 2018
As part of the 2018 Oxford Folk Weekend, local musician and choir leader Cat Kelly worked with Alex Franklin from the Bodleian's Centre for the Study of the Book to explore our collection of Broadside Ballads.
Cat chose six songs from the archives to reinterpret and arrange for community choirs. Singers from Rising Voices, Village Voices, Sounds Fun and Chipping Norton Singers learned these songs and visited the Bodleian to take part in printing workshops, where they typeset the lyrics to create a new printed broadside. Cat also worked with adults with learning disabilities to share the songs and traditional printing techniques in an accessible way.
During the Oxford Folk weekend 2018, the choirs performed songs in Blackwell Hall, along with members of the public, in a come-and-sing concert.