Fri 15 - Sun 17 Nov
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEKEND
FESTIVAL: Being Human – A Festival of Humanities, various locations, 14 – 23 Nov
This nationwide festival brings together universities, museums, galleries, communities and more with hundreds of events across the country geared towards increasing understanding of the relevant and importance of humanities. Highlights from Oxford include Uncomfortable Oxford Tours around the city that highlight unsettling events in Oxford’s history, Oxford Research Unwrapped, an evening of mini-talks, stalls and games for all ages which also includes a huge colour and sound installation (in collaboration with Oxford Light Festival, below) on the 3-storey Radcliffe humanities building.
EXHIBITION: Cool Britannia, Dantzig Gallery, Woodstock, until 29 Nov
How cool is this pop art piece currently on display at the brilliant Dantzig gallery in Woodstock? It’s part of the gallery’s Cool Britannia exhibition which celebrates post-war British art with works from big shot artists. It’s not often that we see major players from the art world in Oxfordshire but this collection featuring hand-signed works from big shot artists like Barber Hepworth, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin as well as groovy up-and-coming young guns like East-London based painter Tommy Fiendish. Go see! dantzig.uk
PANTO: Puss in Boots, The Theatre, Chipping Norton, 13 Nov – 12 Jan
Chippy Theatre always pulls it out the bag with its Christmas panto (oh yes it does!) and this year is putting on Puss in Boots reimagined in 1950s London. Looks like a goodie.
FESTIVAL: Oxford Light Festival, various locations, 15 – 17 Nov
This year’s annual light extravaganza will have the theme of Discovery to celebrate 50 years since the moon landing. Lots of free events across the city including light and sound installations, a festive market, music, dance, activities and lantern parade.
NEW EXHIBITION: ICON, Old Fire Station, Oxford, 16 Nov – 23 Dec
ICON at Old Fire Station will be exhibiting iconic photographs that have been recreated by Rory Carnegie and artists who have experienced homelessness. I’m absolutely loving this idea! There’ll also be a free Q&A on 15 Nov, plus on 30 Nov you can book in to have your own group portrait taken by artists who’ve worked on the project.
ART: Off The Wall Art Fair, Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury, 16 Nov – 7 Dec
If you’re looking to buy some art, head over to Off The Wall Art Fair at Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury. Now in it’s 10th year, the fair exhibits contemporary art, sculpture, jewellery, photography and more by 30 artists, at a range of prices.
CHRISTMAS: Christmas at Waddesdon, Waddesdon Manor, from 16 Nov
Love a festive display? Waddesdon is starting it’s Christmas season pretty early this year with the Manor decked out with festive accessories and a light trail around the Aviary combining light, sound colour and movement. There’ll also be two light shows performed on the facade of the Manor.
SKATE: Ice skating, Millets Farm, Abingdon, from 16 Nov
Millets Farm’s sweet covered ice rink returns for another year – all ages are covered with skates that strap onto shoes with twin blades for smaller children, plus push along seals (I think I might need one of those too).
CULTURE: One World Festival, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 16 – 17 Nov
All together now! This free festival celebrates all communities and faiths in Oxfordshire with a activities, performances, talks and crafts. Highlights include Bollywood dancing entertainment (Sat) and performances from Oxford Gospel Choir (Sun) and Senegalese musician Jali Fily Cissokho (Sun).
FESTIVAL: Oxford Think Festival, Blackwell’s Bookshop, Broad Street, 16 – 17 Nov
A partnership between Oxford University Press and Blackwell’s Oxford, this totally free event celebrates knowledge with a series of talks about the big issues and ideas of our time. The main festival runs across 16 – 17 Nov, with a closing World Philosophy Day event on 21 Nov. Events are free, but booking advised.
KIDS: Cushion Concert, Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, Oxford, 17 Nov
Created especially for younger children (there’s a session for under 5s at 10am & for 5+ at 11am) these musical events are hosted by real musicals and introduce little ones to different musical instruments. This week, the session will be all about brass, including the French horn, trumpet and flugel.
COMEDY: Josh Widdicombe, Aylesbury Waterside, 17 Nov
At Aylesbury Waterside there’s Josh Widdicome who’ll be supplying the laughs with his show Bit Much, which is tackling topics such as advent calendars and, um, pesto.
KIDS: The Nutcracker, Cornerstone, Didcot, 17 Nov
At Cornerstone, there’s a special little people version of The Nutcracker – a great way to get children involved with classical ballet.
Ongoing must-see exhibitions include The Young Turner: Ambitions in Architecture and the Art of Perspective, on display at Banbury Museum which is a collection of JMW Turner’s work from the 1780s to the 1810s, on loan from The Ashmolean, The Tate and private collections (until 12 Jan); George Stubbs: ‘all done from Nature’ , at MK Gallery, the first first overview of the British artist’s work in the UK for over 30 years (until 26 Jan).
In central Oxford you can see a Kiki Smith show ‘I Am Wanderer’ (until 19 Jan), at Modern Art Oxford, which promises to take visitors on a mythological and folkloric journey in her huge tapestries to her exquisitely-fashioned gold shells; the Ashmolean’s current display, Last Supper in Pompeii, with 400+ exhibits from the ancient Roman site buried by the enormous eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD (until 12 Jan); First Animals, an interesting exploration of the first life on earth at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (until 24 Feb).
INTERIORS: Country Living Christmas Fair, Business Design Centre, London, 13 – 17 Nov
It’s Christmaaaaas! Well, not just yet, but head London’s Business Design Centre this month and you’ll find heaps of festive stalls from hundreds of British designers, makers, food artisans and crafters. As well as shopping there’ll also be live workshops and talks, plus Prue Leith will be chatting to Country Living’s Editor about all things food at Christmas time on Wed 13.
EVENT: Funk and Soul Christmas Party, Ashmolean Museum Rooftop Restaurant, Oxford, 4 Dec
Party at the museum, anyone? This festive evening, held at the Ashmolean’s gorgeous rooftop restaurant, kicks off with spiced rum punch cocktails, gourmet soul food stalls, homemade cocktails followed by brilliant funk and soul tunes blasted until late.
ART & EXHIBITIONS
Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane work is the subject of a new V&A exhibition (until 8 March). Tilda Swinton (below), Björk and, er, Sir David Attenborough are among his subjects and he’s also created 10 new works for the show.
Meanwhile this autumn’s big-hitter is William Blake at Tate Britain, below, (until 2 Feb 2020). The visionary painter and poet’s work will be imaginatively displayed – some of it blown up to enormous scale using digital technology, other works in an immersive room that recreates the space in which Blake first showed his art in 1809.
Elsewhere Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican (4 Oct – 19 Jan) is probably the nearest I’ll get to clubbing this autumn. It’s such a cool concept – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s, including the Berlin cabaret scene in Weimar Germany and Harlem’s jazz clubs and lifesize recreations of some of the hotspots.
Then there’s a major retrospective of 88-year-old Bridget Riley‘s life’s work at the Hayward Gallery (23 Oct – 26 Jan), taking in her famous monochrome, makes-your-eyes-go-funny Op Art paintings from the 1960s among its 70 year career span.
And finally, playing “spot the Angel Of The North” as we drive up the A1 to Newcastle is a family ritual in our house (Geordie in-laws, you see), so I’ve got a soft spot for Antony Gormley’s striking sculpture. His new show at the Royal Academy (until 3 Dec) is billed as his most ambitious in a decade and involves six tonnes of steel mesh, eight km of coiled tubing and a gallery flooded with clay and sea water.
GONE THIS WEEKEND…
CULTURE: Late Night Diversity, Pitt Rivers Museum & Museum of Natural History, Oxford, 15 Nov
The two central Oxford museums are teaming up to celebrate diversity in the natural world with a series of talks, tours, research, poetry, stalls, activities, dance and music (FYI there’s also a bar). The evening will also be the national launch of LGBT History Month 2020 with a Diversity themes light and sound show projected onto the front of the museums.
THEATRE: The Lovely Bones, Oxford Playhouse, 11 – 16 Nov
In central Oxford there’s a stage reimagining of Alice Sebold’s best-selling coming-of-age novel The Lovely Bones, at Oxford Playhouse. If you’ve read the book or seen the film (starring Saoirse Ronan) you’ll know it’s a massive tear jerker, so don’t forget to pack tissues.
OPERA: Glyndebourne Opera, Milton Keynes, 12 – 16 Nov
MUSIC: Professor Green, O2 Academy, Oxford, 16 Nov
Professor Green is getting the UK up to date with his Matters of the Heart tour and is playing in Oxford this week. Honestly, not really my scene, but you’ll definitely gain some cool creds from teens by knowing who he is.
AUCTION: Chiltern Open Air Museum auction, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Bucks, 16 Nov
Held at Chalfont St Peter Community Centre, there’ll be a variety of items available to bid on, with proceeds going toward maintaining the museum’s historic site.