THE MUSE: A Message from the Director

Published by A Bowron on

With the wonderful restoration work on the nine muses (originally lead statues, the work of Sir James Thornhill) on the top of Clarendon Building (architect: Nicholas Hawksmoor, a student of Christopher Wren) on Broad Street, it seems a most opportune moment for the festival of the city to celebrate this iconic building within Oxford, symbolically in its programming through the concept of a “muse”, or indeed, the nine muses, by inviting artists and creatives to be inspired to create something together. Therefore, for the first time, I am issuing a call for artistic proposals across all media (performative or visual; digital or live), as well as community events, and/or academic talks or discussions. The proposal should be based on the idea of a muse or inspiration, or linked to the nine muses: Clio (History), Euterpe (Music), Thalia (Comedy), Melpomeni (Tragedy), Terpsichore (Dance), Erato (Love and Poetry), Polymnia (Sacred hymns and poetry and mimic art), Ourania (Astronomy) and Calliope (Epic poetry and rhetoric). Anyone interested should send their proposal to by 29 December, 2023.

The proposal should also include a broken-down budget, including projected income, and/or match-funding, if any. There is no disadvantage to proposals asking for larger budgets (to a maximum of £3,000), although, understandably, there will be more possibilities for smaller projects. This is a broad call, but I would very much like to encourage local artists, speakers, and organisations. The project should be self-contained and self-administered – including the booking of the venue, particularly if this is a site-specific proposal. Projects without an assigned venue will still be considered, but the final programme will be that much richer if the projects take place in a variety of settings across Oxford. Dates for the event should be within the period: 27 June – 14 July, 2024. Please understand that, ultimately, the festival will only be able to agree to projects within limitations of the festival budget available. The festival will be behind the project with its marketing machine in full force. There will also be the use of the festival’s ticketing/booking system. 

I do hope that we receive many exciting projects to look at. It will not be possible to relay feedback if the project is not chosen, but I do hope that this will be the start of a new (or a continued) relationship, and an inspiration to many.

Dr Michelle Castelletti

Director, Oxford Festival of the Arts

Image: Detail of Statue of one of the nine muses adorning the roof of the Clarendon Building, University of Oxford

Photo Credit: J Marshall – Tribaleye Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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