Friday, 7 July 2017

Bone carving, African dance, cupcakes...and ancient poo! A look ahead to Pitt Fest Remixed, 29 July 2017 (10.30-16.00)

The team is busy finalising preparations for the Need / Make / Use project's last ever Pitt Fest event! Our annual Pitt Fest day-festival has been a real highlight of the project and we are closing the event series with a bang! We'll have an array of interactive demonstrations, hands-on activities and behind-the-scenes opportunities and there will be things to do for visitors of all ages. We'll be inviting new Pitt Fest collaborators into the Museum and welcoming back some familiar faces. The theme this year is simply 'creativity', but expect to see lots to do with archaeology as we explore the newly installed archaeology cases on the top floor. After last year's downpour, we've decided to host most of the event inside the galleries this time but you will be able to spot a few tents on the lawn. We are looking forward to...

Interactive demonstrations

James Dilley, from Ancient Crafts UK, will demonstrate skills key to survival in prehistoric Europe. Last year, we particularly enjoyed trying on his wolf skin headdress! Visit James' website to learn a bit more about his experimental archaeology. 

James Dilley at 2016's Pitt Fest, adorned in his replica of a ancient European chief's headdress. 
Catch James in the galleries and explore the replica artefacts he'll bring along.

Taking inspiration from the many objects carved out of bone on display in Pitt Rivers galleries, artist Jason Turpin Thomson will come along to demonstrate his intricate carving technique. His miniature carved sculptures are reminiscent of the hundreds of Japanese netsuke on display on the second floor. Find him in the gallery creating exquisitely detailed figures from animal bone. Check out Jason's Instagram for a sneak preview of his work. 

A tiny, portable netsuke-esque bone carving by Jason Turpin Thomson. He'll be on the top floor carving live! 

Find Oxford Archaeology underneath the totem pole where you'll be able to explore stars of their flint collection. After speaking to their expects, head up to the top floor to see if you can spot similar items on display in the new archaeology cases. 

Oxford Archaeology at 2016's Hopes & Fears evening event.

Talks, tours and going behind the scenes

Tours and talks were so popular at last year's Pitt Fest that we've decided to run even more this year. Pop-in to the library (a space most visitors don't get to see!) and settle down for short talks from Pitt Rivers Museum Staff and special guests. Talks this year include 'Percy Manning at the Pitt Rivers', by folklore expert, Mike Heaney, and an introduction to the University of Oxford's first ever LGBTQ+ cross-collection project, Out in Oxford, with Dr Clara Barker (University of Oxford).

Dr Clara Barker (back right) and the Out in Oxford team. 

Visitors can also go behind-the-scenes with staff from the Photographs and Manuscripts department and the Conservation team. In pre-bookable 45 minute tours, you'll be able to try for yourself techniques used by Pitt Rivers conservators to protect the thousands of objects that we look after, and you'll be able to take a close look at the albums of Wilfred Thesiger and visit the climate controlled store rooms. Tickets for these tours will be available in advance via our website

Visitors in the research space examining objects at a behind-the-scenes tour.


Music has been central to our Pitt Fest events and will remain so this year. Master Kora player, Fily Cissokho, will be coming back and we'll also welcome musicians from Confluence Collective. The wonderful African Dance Oxford will be performing and they'll also run a workshop that you'll be able to book on to in advance via our website. Finally, community singing group, Ark T Singers, will sing songs from around the world in response to the Pitt Rivers Museum collections - event goers are encouraged to pull up a chair, fill their lungs and join in! 

Grace, from African Dance Oxford performing in the galleries and Fily Cissokho playing the Kora at 2016's Pitt Fest. 


There'll also be lot's of hands-on activities going on throughout the Museum. You'll be able to have a go at directing historic poo to discover what people ate in the past (yuk!) and learn about flint knapping using (and we aren't joking,) a butter knife and a bar of soap! Have a go at making a bracelet to mirror the one made out of snakes vertebra on display in the Court, try lino printing, and model a mystical figure out of clay. 

We'll also be joined but other fantastic guests, including Cogges Manor Farm and paper cutter Vanessa Stone. As we'll mostly be inside the Museum this year, we won't be having a global food fair but there'll be delicious cupcakes from our old friends, Happy Cakes

Entry to Pitt Fest is a free but donations are very welcome. Join the Facebook event for updates on the programme.

Jozie Kettle
VERVE Programming & Communications Officer

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