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Culture fix! 9 local exhibitions this November

Lockdowns are looming but there's still fun to be had. Don your mask and head to one of these brilliant new local exhibitions, all in large open spaces ideal for social distancing.

Doorstop Diaries MK, MK Gallery, 20 Nov – 3 Jan 

This photography project, by Milton Keynes-based Stace Photography, started as an open call to households across the town to have their photos taken on their doorsteps during lockdown to bring the community together and spread a little positivity. The exhibition features photos displayed on reclaimed wood as well as a compilation of filmed interviews with local residents. Displayed in the gallery’s Project Space, you can look at the exhibit for free. 

Elmer and Friends: The Colourful World of David McKee, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, 20 Nov – 14 Mar

Direct from Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, this sweet exhibition introduces children to the colourful world of Illustrator of the Year 2020 David McKee. The exhibit takes you on a journey through his classic books and characters including Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, Mr Benn and Not Now, Bernard. The River & Rowing Museum always excels at exhibitions for little ones, so this should be a goodie.

LuminousModern Art Oxford & Old Fire Station, 20 Nov – 24 Dec

Showing at two Oxford arts venues this exhibition features work by a group of seven artists with learning disabilities based in Oxfordshire. The exhibition is diverse in media (expect painting, dance photography, animation) and explores subjects including bullying, changing industrial landscapes and historical portraiture.

Cecily Brown, Blenheim Palace, until 3 Jan

Part of the Blenheim’s Art Foundation programme, this exhibition by celebrated Brit artist Cecily Brown, is the first to be shown at the Palace to be composed of entirely new work. The series references masterpieces by Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir Anthony Van Dyck on view at the Palace, as well as family heraldry, armorial banners and the martial scenes of the Blenheim Tapestries that line the State Rooms.

The Story Museum, Oxford

This cool family museum, hidden down Oxford’s winding Pembroke Street, has just reopened after a major two year long refurbishment (it was meant to reopen in April but, you know – COVID). Muddy has had a snoop around and can report it’s a children’s paradise with immersive galleries and permanent exhibitions inspired by iconic children’s books, illustrations and stories.

Hans Coper 100, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until 10 Jan

© Jane Coper and Estate of the Artist

After fleeing from Germany to London during WWII, Hans Coper redefined studio pottery in the city with his stylish sculptural black and cream vessels. This free exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of his birth with a collection of ceramics created throughout his career including rarely seen items from private collections. I sense a new hobby coming along – just in time for lockdown part two.

Korky Paul: Winnie and Wilbur’s Magical Moments, North Wall Theatre, 27 Nov – 23 Dec

If you’re looking for something fun and whimsical to entertain the kids on a rainy afternoon then this new exhibition is a dead cert featuring sketches and drawings by much-love illustrator Korky Paul – you’ll recognise his work from Valerie Thomas’ Winnie the Witch children’s books. Fun fact: they’re published right here, in Oxford, by Oxford University Press.

Spy Oxfordshire, Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, until 17 Dec

Spy Oxfordshire

We may have to wait until 2021 for No Time To Die (*sob*) but you can still get your James Bond fix at Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, which is running a brand new Spy Oxfordshire exhibition. Not only will you be able to get up close and personal with props from the 007 films and Ian Fleming’s own belongings, there will also be gadgets used by real-life spies during WW2. 

HRH Princess Beatrice Wedding Dress, Windsor Castle, Berks, until 22 Nov

princess-beatrice-WEDDING GOWN ON display

Not strictly local (it’s a hop and skip over the Berks border) but this exhibition makes the list as it’s a must see! No fuss, no pomp or ceremony, on the 17 Jul 2020 Princess Beatrice quietly married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor wearing her ‘something borrowed’ vintage Norman Hartnell borrowed from Granny. It helps she’s the Queen (her majesty wore the dress to the premiere of Lawrence Arabia at the Oden Leicester Square in 1962). Now we get to see this masterclass in craftsmanship up close now that it is on display at Windsor Castle – it’s a short hop and skip over the Berks border, but totally worth the trip.

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