2014 Open Day


The 2014 Open Day consisted of more than 40 free events - lectures, walking tours, workshops, informational sessions.

A selection of the day's event are available below for you to watch on demand.

Discoveries in Theology and Religion: Middle Eastern Christianity explored!

Theology and Religious Studies - Rev'd Canon Dr Robin Gibbons

Middle Eastern Christianity, particularly in Iraq, is in the news for all the wrong reasons. But how many people really know who these Christians are? Rev'd Canon Dr Robin Gibbons , works researches and explores all aspects of Eastern Christianity. To help introduce us to their belief and culture he will share some of the visual aspects of their faith through art and architecture. The Rev'd Canon Dr Robin Gibbons is Director of Studies in Theology and Religious Studies.

Why English? An introduction to literary study

Literature - Dr Sandie Byrne

What's the point of studying English Literature? How does the formal study of literary texts differ from reading by yourself or discussing your reading in a book group? This talk will demonstrate how the techniques of close critical analysis and the grounding of texts in their historical and cultural contexts can enhance our understanding and enjoyment of literature. Dr Sandie Byrne is a University Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing.

Tales from the keyboard: the Romantic pianist-composers

Music - Jonathan Darnborough

In this talk, illustrated with live examples at the piano, Jonathan Darnborough, OUDCE Director of Studies in Music, discusses the astonishing developments in piano technique and composition brought about by such virtuoso pianist-composers as Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Brahms and Rachmaninov. Jonathan Darnborough is Director of Studies in Music.

Art, Design and World War

History of Art - Dr Claire O'Mahony

Amidst the commemorations of 1914 and 1944, we will look at how artists and designers represented and participated in the First and Second World Wars. Art and graphic design served to inform, to persuade and to sustain the home front; camouflage deceived in the battle; housing was invented amidst ruins. Visual creativity and design practice played an important part in the experience of conflict and hopes for peacetime. Dr Claire O'Mahony is Course Director of the Master's in the History of Design.

The real origins of the welfare stateplaceholder

History - Dr Jonathan Healey

In many peoples' minds, the English welfare state was a twentieth-century creation. But a national system of relief for the poor has existed in England since as far back as the time of Elizabeth I. This lecture probes into the origins of England's uniquely precocious system of social welfare, and looks at lives and stories of those who came to call upon it its early days. Dr Jonathan Healey is is a University Lecturer in English Local & Social History.

Gene therapy for cancer and other diseases

Health Sciences, Experimental Therapeutics - Professor Leonard W Seymour

The recent two decades have seen dramatic progress in gene therapy, both scientifically and socially. We are now able to treat several single gene disorders, decreasing disease and saving lives, and this session will discuss the gene therapy strategies that have proven to be successful and what we can learn from them. I will also discuss the options for using gene therapy approaches in treatment of a much more complex disease – cancer – and how we are gradually seeing progress even in that most challenging field. Professor Leonard W Seymour is Director of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Oncology 

Delusion and spiritual experience: brain imaging, neuroscience and human values

Health Sciences - Professor Bill Fulford

This talk will use an interactive case study of delusion and spiritual experience to illustrate how the advent of brain imaging has deepened our understanding of our nature as human beings. Professor Bill Fulford is Fellow of St Catherine’s College and course director for the inaugural Mind, Value and Mental Health: Philosophy and Psychiatry Summer School and Conference.

Ten things you didn't know about Sigmund Freud

Psychology - Dr Alistair Ross

Freud was one of the most significant shapers of the 20thC, yet he is often misunderstood. This workshop will focus on the person of Freud setting him in his context and identifying how Freud is relevant today. Dr Alistair Ross is a University Lecturer in Psychodynamic Studies.

Is unrestricted immigration compatible with inclusive welfare states?

Political Economy - Dr Martin Ruhs

The economist Milton Friedman was one of the first to argue that there is a fundamental tension between what he called “free immigration to jobs" and “free immigration to welfare". The implication is that you can have large-scale immigration or an inclusive welfare state - but not both. But under the 'free movement' rules of the European Union, EU jobseekers have both the right to freely migrate and work in any EU member state and the right to full and equal access to that country’s welfare state. Does the experience of the EU show that the tension between large scale immigration and inclusive welfare states can be overcome? Or will the free movement of workers within the EU prove to be unsustainable? Dr Martin Ruhs is a University Lecturer in Political Economy, and author of our online course on.

Learn Mandarin Chinese!

Modern Languages - Huiqiu Zhao Godfrey

Is Mandarin Chinese really the most difficult language to learn? Try the PRC approach (Pronunciation, Recognition & Character writing): Part 1: Key to learn to pronounce a Chinese character: Pinyin & tones; Part 2: Key to recognise Chinese characters: pictograph & radicals; Part 3: Key to Chinese character writing: strokes (game: to pull apart a Chinese character); There will be 10-15 minutes question and discussion time. Huiqiu Zhao Godfrey is a tutor in Modern Languages.

Party games: coalitions in British politics

History - Professor Angus Hawkins

This session will look at the history of coalition government in British politics over the past 200 years and discuss some of the constitutional implications of the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat government under David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Professor Angus Hawkins is Director of Public and International Programmes.

Can education be the answer to labour market inequalities?

Political Economy - Dr Craig Holmes

The creation of a highly educated workforce has long been seen by policymakers as the key to improving social mobility and lowering earnings inequality. Yet, despite huge increases in participation at various levels of the education system in the UK, inequality and mobility are still big issues and there is little indication any progress has been made. What has happened? Have we not yet gone far enough in equipping people with the skills and capabilities to grasp the opportunities of the 21st century labour market, or is there something more fundamental blocking the way? Craig Holmes is a Departmental tutor in Political Economy and author of our online course on.

Back to Downton Abbey? Is the rise in inequality sustainable?

Political Economy - Professor Jonathan Michie

Piketty's book on Capital in the 21st Century warns that the growth of inequality in both wealth and incomes witnessed over the past 30 years is set to continue as a long-term trend, and that this is unsustainable economically, socially and politically. Is he right? And if so, what can be done to create a sustainable economy? Professor Jonathan Michie is Director of the Department for Continuing Education.

How to assess the evidence behind the headlines for health

Health sciences - Professor Carl Heneghan

“Tomatoes ‘cut risk of prostate cancer by 20%’,” the Daily Mail reports, citing a study that found men who ate 10 or more portions a week had a reduced risk of the disease. Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, will talk about how  to assess the science that regularly makes the news and affects your health. Professor Heneghan is Director of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-based Medicine and Director of the Department’s award bearing courses in Evidence-Based Health Care.