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

Nuclei learning, as recommended by Professor Bob Lambourne. 

Professor Bob Lambourne, Departmental Lecturer in Physical Sciences, says: 'Particles such as protons and neutrons are the building blocks of nuclei. Nuclei together with electrons form atoms, and interactions between atoms lead to the formation of molecules. There are many interesting sites devoted to these microscopic forms of matter. For information about nuclei explore the U.S. National Nuclear Data Centre at Brookhaven National Laboratory. To learn about the chemical elements and the atoms (or sometimes molecules) of which they are composed try looking at some of the sites devoted to the periodic table - several of which were created to mark the recent International Year of the Periodic Table (2019). A good starting point is the Royal Society of Chemistry’s interactive periodic table.'

> National Nuclear Data Centre

> Royal Society of Chemistry: Periodic Table


Google Arts & Culture: British Fashion Council

Claire O'Mahony, Associate Professor in the History of Art and Design, recommends the Google Arts & Culture British Fashion Council project. Claire says: 'If fashion is your passion the British Fashion Council project is full of fascinating virtual exhibitions about fabric, fashion and photography, from how Harris Tweed is made to the fabulous vision of Dame Mary Quant.' 

> Google Arts & Culture: British Fashion Council

Council for British Archaeology

David Griffiths, Associate Professor in Archaeology, recommends the 'resources hub' on the Council for British Archaeology website. 'The CBA are bringing together free resources to help anyone engaged in archaeology, whether you are an organisation looking for practical help, or are looking for content to keep you or your family entertained at home'. Resources are added regularly and include activities for children.  

> Council for British Archaeology: Resources Hub

Andrew Wille: Creative Writing Resources

Amal Chatterjee, Tutor in Creative Writing, recommends the 'resources' section of Andrew Wille's creative writing and book development website and, more specifically, the 'writing experiments' activities. Wille's website is a treasure trove of resources, activities and advice for those who are interested in creative writing.

> Andrew Wille: Creative Writing Resources

Project Gutenberg

Sandie Byrne, Associate Professor in English Literature and Creative Writing, recommends Project Gutenberg. This online library of more than 60,000 eBooks is all free to download or read online. No special apps are required as each can be read using your standard web browser. 'Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for enjoyment and education.'

> Project Gutenberg

Planetizen: The 100 Most Influential Urbanists

Dr Patricia Canelas, Departmental Lecturer in Sustainable Urban Development, recommends a Planetizen article listing some of the most influential urbanists of all time - including contemporary thinkers, activists, planners, and designers. Dr Canelas says that the article provides 'an entertaining run through the 100 top influential planners according to Planetizen’s reader votes. It is worth going through some of links to learn about the lives and achievements of these urban planners.' Planetizen is an independent platform aiming to create resources to 'inform planning and people passionate about planning.'

> Planetizen: The 100 Most Influential Urbanists

Oxford Festival of the Arts

The Oxford Festival of the Arts usually takes place, as the name suggests, in Oxford each summer. This year however, due to the pandemic, the festival has moved online and an array of free virtual lectures and performances are available for you to enjoy from home. The festival runs until Sunday 5th July and as the events are being recorded you can watch them live, or at a later date to suit you. Take a look at 'what's on' to view all upcoming events, or watch past sessions on their YouTube channel - including our very own Dr Janina Ramirez discussing goddesses and divine women of the past.

> Oxford Festival of the Arts

Ancient History Encyclopedia

The mission of the Ancient History Encyclopedia is to help people across the globe gain a deeper, fundamental knowledge of our interconnected human past in order to create curious, open-minded, and tolerant societies in the future. Explore the impressive media library, timelines, maps and audio articles.

> Ancient History Encyclopedia

Pieter Bruegel the Elder

2019 marked the 450th anniversary of the death of the Dutch and Flemish Renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Bruegel exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (2018-19) displayed around half of all the extant works by Bruegel and the accompanying exhibition website hosts a treasure trove of insight and imagery which can still be explored online. Bruegel was an astute observer, a storyteller, satirist and social critic. His paintings give us a window into the society in which he lived, and many of the central themes in his work remain highly relevant today. 

> The Bruegel exhibition

Merriam-Webster Time Traveler 

When was a word first used in print? You may be surprised! Merriam-Webster has a ‘Time Traveller’ web portal that lets you enter a date to see the words first recorded in that year. Most entries contain a date for 'First Known Use' - this is the date of the earliest recorded use in English, as far as it could be determined, of the oldest sense defined in the entry. Enter your birth year, and find out what words were born the same year you were, or reflect back on recent years and see what new words are now part of your every day vocabulary. 

> Merriam-Webster Time Traveler 

Design Museum

The Design Museum is the place where the design industry, education and the public come together to change the way people think about themselves and the future. Take a look at some of the designers who 'shape our lives and create our futures' or examine and explore the creative impulses that produced iconic designs including Concorde, Penguin Books and the London Transport System.

> Design Museum: Design

> Design Museum: Designers


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).