The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW) at Wolfson College was founded in 2011 by the then President of Wolfson College, the biographer Dame Hermione Lee. We are now entering our seventh year. In that time we have gained a local, national and international reputation as a unique hub of activities relating to many kinds of life-writing and as a significant, interdisciplinary cultural presence.
Oxford is an international hub for biographical activities. Oxford University Press publishes the Dictionary of National Biography, the most famous biographical publication in the world; as well as The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and The Grove Dictionary of Art, containing thousands of biographical entries on musicians and artists. The Ashmolean Museum is committed to biographical interpretations of its works of art. There are biographers at Oxford University working within many different fields and there are some distinguished non-academic biographers living and working in Oxford. The Centre was conceived as a central point for these many organisations and individuals, as well as to promote the study of interdisciplinary biography from postgraduate level onwards.
We promote a lively, cross-disciplinary dialogue on all aspects of life-writing through a busy weekly programme of events, including lunch talks, lectures, performances, panel discussions, conferences and seminars and full day workshops. Most of these are free of charge and open to all across the academic community and the general public, and attract a wide audience, from established academics to schoolchildren, who enjoy access to top level scholarly debate within an Oxford College.
We are committed to outreach, collaboration, and fostering research into life-writing through postdoctoral Research Fellowships, Postgraduate Scholarships, Visiting Scholarships and Visiting Doctoral Studentships. We support young academics at the start of their careers, and provide a central point for established practitioners for discussion and international collaboration, as well as allowing the general public open access to all our events, and offering opportunities for mentoring and outreach in the community.