Diversifying Portraiture

Hundreds of portraits of exceptional individuals hang on the walls of the University of Oxford. These pictures celebrate stories from our past, make visible our values and ambitions for the future, and help to shape the present living and working environment for staff, students, and visitors. And over the last nine centuries, Oxford’s walls have become home to many portraits of pioneering men and women – some well-known, and some now almost forgotten – whose achievements and images challenged the stereotypes and exclusions of their times and in some cases continue to do so today. The Diversifying Portraiture project, led by the Equality and Diversity Unit and supported by the Diversity Fund, had two phases and portraits from both can be viewed below, click on the images to find more information.

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Phase one catalogued existing portraits from around the University that highlight the range of pioneering figures whose achievements over the centuries have challenged the stereotypes of their time. 

Phase two culminated in The Full Picture: Oxford in Portraits exhibition. We asked current and former members of the University to nominate living subjects with a connection to the University. The longlist of nominations was narrowed down to 21 current and former, staff and students. The sitters represent different genders, ethnicities, disabilities, socio-economic backgrounds and LGBTQ+ communities, and were chosen because they have made or are making a major, positive difference to Oxford and the world. The public exhibition of the portraits was held in the Weston Library in 2017. See the exhibition booklet.  The Portraits are now on permanent display in the Examinations School

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