FINGERPRINTS

Starting 21 Jan 2022


Every object in the Ashmolean has passed from hand to hand to reach the Museum. In this new podcast series, we uncover the invisible fingerprints left behind by makers, looters, archaeologists, soldiers, rulers, curators, and many more. These stories of touch reveal the ways in which the forces of conflict and colonialism have shaped Britain’s oldest Museum.

Guests include Bénédicte Savoy, co-author of the Report on African Cultural Heritage, commissioned by Emmanuel Macron; Professor Dan Hicks, of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum; and Simukai Chigudu, one of the founding members of the Rhodes Must Fall campaign.

Fingerprints will be released on the Ashmolean’s website, on Spotify, Apple, and wherever you get your podcasts, weekly from 21 January until 25 February 2022.
 

LISTEN TO THE TRAILER

 

 
For a transcript, please visit this page.

EPISODE GUIDE

 

Episode released 21 Jan 2022
 

Join the Ashmolean’s director, Xa Sturgis, as he questions what a museum is for. He introduces us to Powhatan’s Mantle, one of the museum’s founding objects, and one inextricably linked with British colonial history. From there, he traces the Ashmolean’s story to the present day, as special guests explore how we can transform an uncomfortable past into a more positive future.
 

Read more

  • See Powhatan’s Mantle here
  • And find out more about Oxford University’s procedures about the return of cultural objects here
     

Speakers in this episode

 

 

Episode released 28 Jan 2022
 

Dan Hicks takes us on a journey with three bronze masks from the West African city of Benin, through the hands of soldiers, collectors, and curators, and along with special guests considers the responsibility that European museums have towards looted art in their collections.
 

Read more

  • Read the Pitt River’s interim report on the provenance of African cultural heritage in their collection here 
  • Find out more about the Benin Bronzes and the Benin Dialogue Group here
  • Find out more about Oxford University’s procedures about the return of cultural objects here
  • And find more about Dan Hick’s book, The Brutish Museum
     

Speakers in this episode

  • Series host: Lucie Dawkins, Director & Producer, Ashmolean Museum
  • Xa Sturgis, Director of the Ashmolean
  • Simukai Chigudu, Professor of African Politics, University of Oxford and founding member of Rhodes Must Fall
  • Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
  • Victor Ehikhamenor, artist
  • Adenike Cosgrove, collector and historian of African Art Historian
  • Professor Bénédicte Savoy, art historian and co-author of the report, The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron

 

 

Episode released 4 Feb 2022
 

Mallica Kumbera Landrus, the Ashmolean’s Keeper of Eastern Art, takes us on a journey with 200 clay figures from India, displayed alongside a human zoo at the Colonial and India Exhibition of 1886, and later used to teach young British colonial officers at Oxford’s Indian Institute.
 

Read more

  • See the sculptures here and here
  • Find out more about Ali Kazim’s exhibition at the Ashmolean here

 

Speakers in this episode

  • Series host: Lucie Dawkins, Director & Producer, Ashmolean Museum
  • Professor Mallica Kumbera Landrus, Keeper of Eastern Art at the Ashmolean
  • Ali Kazim, one of Pakistan’s leading contemporary artists whose work will be on show in the Ashmolean from 7 February 2022
  • Dr Nayanika Mathur, Associate Professor in the Anthropology of South Asia, University of Oxford

 

 

Episode released 11 Feb 2022
 

Curator Paul Collins takes us on a journey with a 3000 year old king uncovered by an Indian soldier digging a trench in World War I, and explore what he has to tell us about the formation of Iraq as a nation state.
 

Read more

See the sculpture here
 

Speakers in this episode

  • Series host: Lucie Dawkins, Director & Producer, Ashmolean Museum
  • Dr Paul Collins, Curator of the Ancient Middle East, Ashmolean Museum
  • Santanu Das, Professor of Modern Literature and Culture, University of Oxford
  • Dr Mehiyar Kathem, Nahrein Network, UCL and Oxford, Researcher on cultural heritage in contemporary Iraq

 

 

Released 18 Feb 2022
 

Curator Andrew Shapland shows us a tiny fragment which reveals the story of the man who set out to hunt down the mythical minotaur. Sir Arthur Evans went on to become known as the father of archaeology, but his journey reveals a culture war between empires in the Mediterranean.
 

Read more

  • See the fragment here
     

Speakers in this episode

 

 

Released 25 Feb 2022
 

The country’s first major art collection now sits in the Ashmolean Museum. It hides stories about shipwrecks, royal competitions, underhand dealings, and how classical art became part of a British Imperial brand. Join lecturer Alison Pollard, as she takes you on a journey which spans 2000 years.
 

Read more

  • Read about the Arundel marbles here
     

Speakers in this episode

  • Series host: Lucie Dawkins, Director & Producer, Ashmolean Museum
  • Dr Alison Pollard, Lecturer in Classical Archaeology, University of Oxford
  • Professor Peter Stewart, Director of the Classical Art Research Centre, University of Oxford
  • Jaś Elsner, Professor of Classics and Art History, University of Oxford
  • Phiroze Vasunia, Professor of Greek, UCL

 

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