Artweeks at Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Philip Koomen at work by Simon Murison Bowie

Ideas in the making: a creativity symposium for all
Saturday 25th April 10am-5pm at OU Museum of Natural History
9.30-5pm Whole day tickets £5
To book, click here choosing the venue Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Ideas in the making will examine the relationship between art, craft, design, science and the creative process, bringing together practitioners from these diverse fields. Whether you are an artist, a scientist, or merely curious, join us for a series of talks, workshops and activities to reflect on your understanding of creativity and explore the nature of interdisciplinary creativity.

An Arts Council and Artweeks sponsored initiative

The Programme:

Chair: Dr. Nazila Ghanea-Hercock (Professor of Human Rights at Kellogg College)
10.00am Doors open
10.25am Welcome by Artweeks representative
10.30am Keynote addresses in Lecture Theatre

• Dr. Tracey Warr, Fine Art theorist and author
“In a sense all my work arises out of collaboration with other people, sites and concepts … I will talk about the relationship between future fiction (in various forms: literary, filmic, artworks) and science and how we are continually reflecting/projecting/speculating/shaping creatively”
Dr Tracey Warr is Research Associate at Oxford Brookes University and previously worked at Dartington College of Arts and Bauhaus University. She is a writer working ‘in the vicinity of art’ and a novelist. She is currently writer in residence with the EU project Frontiers in Retreat and Associate Curator for Outlandia in the Scottish Highlands.
• Professor Simon Olding, Craft Study Centre, University of the Creative Arts
“The message of objects. I want to base this on the way that Bernard Leach collected pots for personal and pedagogical purposes: they are signifiers of ancient creativity, of anonymity, of creative spirit, of value and purpose … The connections are between craft and maker, craft and audience, and the transfer of meaning through making and observation. Is there creativity in our response to work as well as in the work itself?”
Professor Simon Olding is Director of the Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts. He is a writer with a special interest in craft practice and organisations in the South West of England., with recent publications on the history of the Dorset Craft Guild and the Etchings of Bernard Leach.
• Dr. Andrew Lack, Ecologist and Environmentalist, Oxford Brookes University
“Origins of conservation in the arts of the 'Enlightenment', and how that led to ecology and its science. I think the two are intertwined completely…”
Dr Andrew Lack is an ecologist with broad interests in many aspects of the natural world, focussing on plant breeding systems and pollination (co-author 1996, The Natural History of Pollination) and the interaction of animals and plants with people (Redbreast: the Robin in Life and Literature, 2008). He has taught on these and many other topics at Oxford Brookes University since 1987.

11.30am Chaired panel discussion with keynote speakers and creative practitioners:
Philip Koomen (Furniture maker)
Simon Buchanan (Sculptor)
Clair Chinnery (Fine Art)
Giuseppe Boscherini (Architect/Designer)

12.30pm Lunch (options – local restaurants and Morton’s café in NHM or bring a pack lunch and eat it on the lawn.) 1 – 4pm Public creative sessions in Pitt Rivers Museum and Natural History Museum: Brookes Fine Art (Drawing)
Rycote Wood Centre (Woodwork)
River and Rowing Museum (Crafts)
Pitt Rivers Museum (Design)
Silva Foundation (Connecting trees to wood)

2pm Breakout sessions
Facilitators for breakout session themes:
• Ecology/Environment - Dr. Robin Wilson (Wytham Woods)
• Fine Art Curation - Clair Chinnery (Oxford Brookes Fine Art Senior Lecturer)
Clair Chinnery is an Artist and Educator who lives and works in Oxford where she is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Oxford Brookes University. She exhibits her work nationally and internationally, and has through her recent projects worked extensively with cross-disciplinary resources and sites. These include collections at the Oxford University Museums and The Natural History Museum’s ornithological archives (based in Tring).
• Collaborative Design - Giuseppe Boscherini (Architect/Designer)
A qualified architect and product designer, with 30 years’ experience leading and inspiring design teams within internationally renowned practices such as Foster and Partners … “My culture is about design thinking, which is analytical and fact-based yet three-dimensional, layered, adaptive and collaborative.”

3.30pm Plenary Session (report back from breakout sessions)
4.45pm Close

Project contacts
Project Leader: Dr. Philip Koomen (
Administrator: Laura Degenhardt (
Intern: Sam Cleasby (Oxford Brookes University Fine Art)