Curious Minds

What will you discover?

Keep your brain active with free online resources, as recommended by tutors and staff at the Department.

Visit the world’s museums, libraries, language centres and more – and give your brain a workout – all from your own home. Compiled by academics and staff of Oxford Continuing Education, these freely available educational resources will help entertain you during challenging times.

The 'Tutor Takeover' will be updated every other day, and the entire page refreshed regularly – so please bookmark and check back regularly.  Sign up to our enewsletter to learn when new resources have been added.

Tutor takeover

Claire O'Mahony highlights an online platform full of archive films and shorts.

Claire O'Mahony, Associate Professor in the History of Art and Design, says that 'one of the challenges currently facing our students is losing access to the physical evidence and experiences at the heart of design-history research. The British Film Institute (BFI) website provides access to free archive films and shorts, including this wonderful set of featured collections - which include documentary films about key design materials and manufacturing. Some of my favourites are the textiles, steel, shipbuilding and advertising on film collections. For a real nostalgia trip enjoy the pleasures and perils in Public Information Films and The March of Time newsreels.'

> BFI free archive

> BFI featured collections


 The New Yorker

Tara Stubbs, Associate Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing, recommends The New Yorker Poetry Podcast. Each month, Editor Kevin Young invites poets to read and discuss works by others as well as their own. Tara states that it’s ‘accessible and challenging at the same time, and they're all free to download. They also have a monthly fiction podcast, with readings and discussions of short fiction, hosted by editor Deborah Treisman.' 

> The New Yorker Poetry Podcast

> The New Yorker Fiction Podcast

Ten Rules for Writing Fiction

Amal Chatterjee, Tutor in Creative Writing, recommends that those interested in writing should take a look at The Guardian's Ten Rules for Writing Fiction. Inspired by Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing, The Guardian asked authors including Margaret Atwood, David Hare, Hilary Mantel and Michael Moorcock for their personal dos and don'ts for successful authorship.

> Ten Rules for Writing Fiction: Part One

> Ten Rules for Writing Fiction: Part Two

Language Learning

Dr Mashail Ali suggests that those wishing to learn a new language, or develop current skills, should take a look at the  free learning platforms recommended by the European Commission’s Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe (EPALE). Dr Ali is a Departmental Lecturer and Director of Studies for Languages and Cultural Studies.

> EPALE: 6 of the best free language learning sites

William Morris

Tutor Tony Buxton suggests that 'during this difficult time, we might like to consider the work and thoughts of the 19th-century reformer William Morris, whose own life can be seen as a struggle to determine and express what gives life value and beauty. Of necessity, the way in which we live at home has become central to existence at present, and for many, it has provided time to turn to more creative pursuits. We are also pondering the quality of life and the nature of our society after lockdown. William Morris was not someone who necessarily achieved workable answers, but raises ideals to value and thoughts to ponder. The School of Life podcast outlines the way in which Morris believed beauty in work and life should be available to all and art historian Abigail Harrison-Moore explores aspects of his work at Standen house in this HENI Talks video.' 

> The School of Life podcast 

> HENI Talks: William Morris

Europe's Stories

Professor Jonathan Michie says: 'The Europe’s Stories website contains around 100 interviews, reporting people’s views on the best, worst, and most formative European moments, along with their aspirations for Europe in 2030. Readers worldwide will enjoy seeing a uniquely European perspective. And for those residents in the EU: here’s your chance to make European history. The self-interviewing feature lets you join these initial one hundred, to add your voice, and help create this evolving picture of what a post-pandemic Europe might become.' Jonathan Michie is Director of the University's Department for Continuing Education, Professor of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange, and President of Kellogg College.

> Europe's Stories

All About Birds

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds and their All About Birds website provides free learning resources and guides for everyone to enjoy. Start with their Live Cams, which lets you observe fruit feeders in Panama, hawks in New York, kestrels in Wisconsin, albatross in New Zealand, and more. There are also resources for brushing up on your bird ID skills, learning games, an extensive collection of free articles from Living Bird Magazine, and more.

> All About Birds

Giant's Causeway

Take a virtual tour of the Giant's Causeway thanks to the National Trust. Choose from four 360-degree panoramic tours each showing a different view or time of day. Explore the tip of the Grand Causeway at sunset; take in the view of Aird Snout; see the sun rise over the bay at The Giant's Port; or gaze out towards port Noffer on a calm summer day.

> Giant's Causeway virtual tours 

History of Philosophy

Peter Adamson, Professor of Philosophy at the LMU in Munich and at King's College London, takes listeners through a dazzlingly comprehensive history of philosophy, 'without any gaps.' The series looks at the ideas, lives and historical context of the major philosophers as well as the lesser-known figures of the tradition - and draws from all over the globe.

> History of Philosophy 

Royal Academy of Dance

The Royal Academy of Dance has created RAD@Home in response to Covid-19: 'As the home for dance, the RAD is here to support you when you can’t leave yours. As such, we’ve created RAD@Home to provide a whole raft of content to help you make the most of dancing at home.' Have fun and keep fit with their online ballet classes, or try Five a Day - a series of videos consisting of five fitness exercises for you to do at home, each day.

> Royal Academy of Dance at Home

The Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum collections span more than ten thousand years, and contain more than a million objects. Their Collection Online was launched in 2018, with the aim of making 25% of the museum’s objects accessible online by 2020. Each month sees new objects added, so this is definitely a resource to bookmark! Also, take a look at the Ashmolean Museum’s most treasured objects, as chosen by its curators. Highlights from the museum, such as the Alfred Jewel, Guy Fawkes’ Lantern and Antonio Stradivari’s ‘Messiah’ Violin, are available for you to view and read more about.

> Ashmolean Museum: Collection Online

> Ashmolean Museum: Treasures


Previous recommendations

Resources from past weeks are now being collected in three new pages: 'Explore' (for visiting museums and archives), 'Enjoy' (for reading, watching and listening) and 'Have a go' (for hands-on learning and activities).