Schoolgirls shed artistic light on Didcot's past

Pieces of local history are the inspiration behind an eye-catching new art exhibition produced by students at Didcot Girls School.

Oxfordshire Museums Service teamed up with arts companies The Arts Excite and Neon Dance to provide a one-off opportunity for a group of pupils aged 12 to 14 – the results of which have gone on display at the town’s Cornerstone Arts Centre.

The youngsters took part in photography and dance workshops using artefacts from the Museum Resource Centre as their inspiration. They used the objects to construct stories about both Didcot’s and their own past, and tried to capture these ideas in movement and photos.

The resulting exhibition – ‘Unearthing Didcot’s Creativity’ - showcases photographs, taken and chosen by the young women, and a dance, choreographed with support from Adrienne Hart, director of Neon Dance.

County collections project

The idea was conceived as part of the County Collections Project, aimed at bringing Oxfordshire’s museum collections to new audiences across the county. The exhibition has been funded by Arts Council England, delivered in conjunction with the Oxford University Museums Partnership.

County Collections Project Officer Kelly Smith said: “This has been a hugely rewarding project involving young women who wouldn’t normally have access to this sort of opportunity. Not only are the results artistically impressive, but the girls have really succeeded in bringing the past to life and making it relevant to their own lives.

“It was great to collaborate with the two arts organisations and come up with something so fresh and innovative. I’d like to congratulate the students on their work and hope they enjoy seeing it on display for the wider public.”