A retouched image of Maria Czaplicka on a reindeer with Dolgan hosts (near Golchikha)

Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. 1998.505.10.

New podcast highlights hidden women in Oxford’s history

Matt Pickles

A new podcast about women who have played an important but neglected role in Oxford’s history has been launched.

The podcast series, called ‘Women in Oxford’s History’ (WiOH), has been developed by two doctoral students at Oxford University and funded by the University’s AHRC-TORCH Graduate Fund.

Olivia Robinson of the History Faculty and Alison Moulds of the English Faculty have made six podcasts, which can be downloaded here for free.

In a guest post for Arts Blog, the presenters explain the idea behind the podcasts and what they hope it achieves:

"The history of Oxford is often told through the experiences of eminent men drawn from the aristocracy, the Church and academia, while the stories of ordinary women’s contributions to the city and the University remain neglected. The blue plaque scheme exists to recognise the lives of eminent people connected to the city, but less than a quarter of Oxford’s plaques commemorate women. The WiOH podcast project aims to redress this balance by highlighting the role women have played in Oxford’s history. We hope to inspire others to investigate women’s impact on their own communities and cities.

The project consists of six podcasts on women whose contributions to either ‘town or gown’ life have been overlooked. These showcase individuals whose lives are not widely known and whose names may be unfamiliar to many. These are not the Margaret Thatchers and Ada Lovelaces of the world, but are nonetheless women who have made important contributions to the city and university over the centuries, and who we feel deserve wider recognition.

The podcasts have been designed to appeal to a broad audience and people of all ages and backgrounds. We hope that they will attract interest beyond the University, from local schools and community groups and from international visitors.  They might be listened to by a Year 11 student on her way to school, a young professional who listens to podcasts while running, or a retired American tourist planning to explore the city.

Our contributors are postgraduate students at Oxford University in the fields of Anthropology, Creative Writing, Economic, Social and Local History. They have been busy producing narrative accounts of individual women whom they’ve chosen for their connection to, and impact on, Oxford. In several cases, the advanced search facility at the Online Dictionary of National Biography was used to identify suitable women to research in more depth, and the subjects include women with interests in social work, race relations, women’s education and museum collections.

The research produced by our contributors has then been adapted into scripts suitable for audio recordings and the podcasts also feature relaxed interviews with our contributors to find out more about their research. Each podcast lasts less than 15 minutes and is available to download via the University’s podcast series on iTunes. A website accompanies the series on which we’ve shared the podcast scripts along with extra research resources and links."