Contemporary highlights

People don’t usually associate the word heritage with modern culture but really heritage and preservation are terms that include all aspects of society. They are not against development but support the positive enhancement of our local areas and the conservation of cultural gems, be they 5000 or 5 years old.

© Lauren Schofield - Thames Valley Police at Oxford Castle and Old Goal House

Celebrating culture and creativity

Heritage Open Days is a fantastic opportunity to highlight your area’s cultural hotspots. You may have seen in my previous blog post that our theme in Oxford this year is sporting heritage which has the capacity to incorporate both old and new. But there are lots of interesting areas you could focus on... art and architecture; drama and film; industry and agriculture; science and technology; or even food! Please do comment with any other ideas for contemporary themes!

If you’re running a historic building this may all seem irrelevant but keeping contemporary is the best way to get people to come to your event and to keep them coming back! Share how the building is used now, how is it being conserved? Is there any chance you could get an expert in to talk about the work? People will be fascinated by the techniques you are using to look after the structure and the contents of the building whilst at the same time it is bringing the cultural heritage of the property bang up to date.

As well as modern conservation techniques why not combine old and new and invite local artists or bands to exhibit or play at your venue. Each year at Oxford Open Doors, in the Castle and old Goal House we have a party called the Gaol House Rocks where we have bands and the Thames Valley Police bring their horses and motorbikes to show the little ones. It is a fantastic way to encourage new audiences.

A few of Oxford Open Doors contemporary highlights...

Barrack Lane Community Garden

Find out more about growing your own, bring your family, friends and a picnic!

Central Oxford Mosque

Discover more about Islam and its history. Rooms on show & display.

Oxford Food Bank

See behind the scenes in the depot of this innovative award-winning charity launched in 2009 which provides 5000 meals a week to people living in food poverty and saves £250,000 worth of food a year from land-fill waste.

Oxford Brookes University, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences Open Day

Come and see how food and exercise are essential ingredients in the development of world class athletes. Find your own inner Olympian - learn how these ingredients can help to improve your own exercise performance whatever your level. Interactive sessions with Nutrition and Sports Scientists, measure your walking gait via our Datagait with the Movement Science Group. See what goes on at the babylab where they study how babies and toddlers learn about the world around them, in particular how language affects the way in which babies group objects together, and how babies understand emotion.

If you are interested in finding out about more of our events for 2011 visit our Oxford Open Doors website and click on events. 

Helping other local organisations

One of the best bits about celebrating the contemporary highlights of your area is the fact that you will be supporting the people who are making tomorrow’s heritage. That local band who could be big, the community garden who are teaching local children how to grow their own, you could be opening people up to ideas and opportunities that may not have been available before.