Science Fiction Artefacts at the Weston Library

On Friday 18th October, 19 students from Year Seven and Eight took part in the Rumble Museum's second Future Season event.
The group arrived at the Weston Library at 1.30pm and were greeted by Rosie Sharkey and Rodger Caseby from the Bodleian Library. They were shown upstairs to the beautiful Bahari conference room where they started to think about how to start writing a story set in a futuristic world.
They were able to explore Victorian ideas about what the future would be like from a publication called "The Future Times" from the Bodleian's archives. It contained all sorts of interesting ideas, ranging from imagining there would be whale fighting in the Thames and strawberries as big as apples, to imagining that photographs might be able to be instantly communicated across the globe to others, and that everyone might have personal telephones. Some of these ideas never came to fruition, whereas others were eerily accurate predictions!
After some discussion, the group were then taken down the main lobby area where they were able to circulate among a broad range of researchers running stalls themed on different aspects of the future. The students were able to write a letter to their future selves which would be posted to them in three years, explore ideas about the memory, see a striking exhibition of 'then and now' photos of friends, decide what they felt was the most frightening threat to humanity and plot this on a chart, amongst many other things.
After exploring ideas with the researchers, they then returned to their writing, and incorporated one of the themes they had been exploring in the lobby into their short story idea. The students will be finishing their short stories in school and these will presented for visitors to read at the forthcoming Iris Festival of the Future at Cheney School on 25th March.

We are very grateful to Rosie, Rogder, and all the researchers for a really exciting and thought-provoking afternoon, and the opportunity to have a glimpse into the future!