PER Seed Fund Award for ‘Oxford and Empire Tours’ Project

Following the Undergraduate Oxford and Empire project, developed in the academic year 2017-2018, the History Faculty has extended the scheme to graduate students. This new project, called the ‘Oxford and Empire Tours’, has received a PER (Public Engagement in Research) Seed Fund Award for 2019.

‘Oxford and Empire Tours’ will train History Faculty graduate students and ECRs in public engagement, encouraging them to develop public tours that address and discuss the legacy of colonialism in Oxford

Aimed at Oxford tourists, DPhil students will give tours on monuments, buildings, and parts of Oxford that demonstrate the history of imperialism and will allow them to think about Oxford globally. It will provide thoughtful historical contextualization of the role of empire and colonialism’s legacy in Oxford, and will encourage historical discussions on understanding and engaging with colonialism’s legacies. It will also enable history postgraduate students to add substantially to the public understanding of Oxford’s imperial past while reflecting upon their discipline’s public and political context. Finally, it will provide training in addressing a non-academic audience while talking about controversial subjects.

This project builds on the successful initiative of DPhil students Paula Larsson and Olivia Durand, who created and gave their own tours of Oxford as part of the 2018 IF Festival of Science and Ideas. You can read more about their initiative here. These tours have continued in the form of the ‘Uncomfortable Oxford’ project.

With Dr. Erica Charters, Olivia and Paula will be running training workshops and providing guidance to DPhils and ECRs so that interested students can develop their own public tours. The first training workshop will be held on Friday 1 March 2019: attendance is free but registration is required (

The day will include:

  • a morning session with key speakers to outline the project,
  • a lunch in the common room of the History Faculty,
  • an afternoon devoted to practical training.

Please send an email to if you have any queries.