Voices from Oxford – a New Spring

While not surprising, one of the delightful aspects of returning to Oxford has been seeing the continued success of Voices from Oxford (VOX), which I helped found with Sung Hee Kim and Denis Noble in the early years of directing the OII. During the four years I was back in the USA, Sung Hee and Denis did not just keep VOX alive and well, but grew it in stature and impact within and beyond the University. VOX is independent of the University of Oxford, driven by the voluntary contributions of Denis and Sung Hee, and myself, but with the aim of bringing the ideas and work of faculty and students at Oxford to the wider world by way of accessible videos of key events, lectures, and interviews. While the idea began to take shape in 2003, VOX has accumulated approximately 1,000 productions available freely online.

In April, on the 19th, a group of 110 L’Oreal executives from Korea came through Oxford, and VOX worked with the organisers to visit Balliol College and hear from Professor Chris McKenna, a Reader in Business History and Strategy from the Saïd Business School, given at Rhodes House, focused on the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. Professor McKenna is involved with a project on the history of capitalism, and his lecture captured the centrality of growing scale, innovation, path dependencies, and the social construction of technology throughout the history of industrialisation.

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Voices from Oxford Covered in The Korea Times

The OII’s Voices from Oxford (VfO) initiative has received excellent coverage in The Korea Times in an article by Kang Shin-who, based on an interview with Dr Kim Sung-hee, Director of VfO and Professor Denis Noble, our VfO anchor and editor, who was in Korea to attend a conference in his role as President of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS). In the article, a Yonsei University Professor, Lee Jung-hoon, gave a gratifying assessment of the initiative, saying: “In one sweeping stroke, VfO has managed to wipe out those boundaries [between a university and the wider world] with a little help from online technology. Covering research and debates over a wide spectrum of interdisciplinary issues, it now helps to stage Oxford as the center of lively discussions. Denis Noble, anchor for the program, is superb with probing questions and clear-cut explanations. As an Oxford alum myself, I’m very excited about the prospect of Oxford becoming, at last, the global venue of cutting-edge educational discourse.”

This is exactly the role the VfO project seeks to facilitate. I’d encourage you to read the entire article at: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/special/2009/04/181_44054.html

Voices from Oxford: Research?

The Back Office at Voices from Oxford

Voices from Oxford is a program of webcasts, originating from the University of Oxford but aimed at the four corners of the world. These webcasts are designed to bring the ideas, research and activities of the people of Oxford to the wider world. You can review the Voices from Oxford Website, or see some samples of Webcasts available on YouTube by searching for voicesfromoxford on YouTube. For example, there is an introduction to the series, and one of our most interesting treatments, called a ‘New Man Comes to Oxford’.

The VfO team, of which I am a member, view this work as research – an effort to communicate research to a broader audience in a way than enables the audience to comment and contribute to the subject matter. In doing so, Voices from Oxford is confronting a tradition in the sciences and humanities that sees the job of the researcher to stop when the refereed journal article is written, and leave it to the press, media and word of mouth to enable findings to trickle-down to potential users. Our view is that it is right for researchers to take a more active role in communicating research directly to a broader public. If you have a view on this matter, we would welcome your comments on this blog.

An Old Reference

Dutton, W. (1994), ‘Trickle-Down Social Science: A Personal Perspective,’ Social Sciences, 22, 2.

Voices from Oxford