7. Practical arrangements and facilities

Please check locally for any changes imposed by the COVID-19 restrictions.

7.1 Opening Times

The main building at 51 Banbury Road is open from 9.00am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday in term time (also Saturday afternoons, library only); and from 9.00am to 12.45pm and from 2.15pm until 5.30pm in most of the vacations on Monday-Friday only (the building and library are entirely closed for some days in every vacation; see notices posted on the main library door for up-to-date information). The above timings are subject to variation at short notice, and library staff are not always available. In August most key School facilities (including the Tylor and Balfour Libraries) are open on a skeleton basis only, if at all (exact information will be posted). Students are granted access to School buildings at other times by arrangement (e.g. to use desk space allocated to students).

7.2 Libraries

The University’s library and museum collections constitute a research resource of world importance. The two main libraries for anthropology are the Tylor Library (51 Banbury Road) and the Balfour Library (Pitt Rivers Museum). Many other libraries in the University also include anthropology stock, such as the Bodleian Library (the main University library), the Social Sciences library, the Indian Institute (II), the Institute of Human Sciences (IHS) Library, the Radcliffe Science Library (RSL, part of the Bodleian), the Wellcome Institute, and individual college, departmental and faculty libraries. All the libraries in Oxford are linked through an electronic library and information system (OLIS), which includes an on-line catalogue and provides access to both remote and locally mounted datasets. Many libraries are ‘read only’ (i.e. do not permit borrowing, so materials have to be read in the library itself), including the Bodleian, IHS, II and RSL.

Where borrowing is permitted, care should be taken to follow the regulations and procedures laid down for doing so. Anyone who is found to have violated the regulations by removing books without properly recording the fact is liable to have library access withdrawn, either for a certain period or indefinitely. It is normally not permitted to borrow periodicals or other serials, nor pamphlets or unpublished materials. Any outstanding library fines normally have to be paid before one can take one’s degree.

The Tylor Library is located at 51 Banbury Road and you will want to familiarise yourself with this library early in your time here. Do make every effort to attend the library induction session offered at the start of the year. Generally, the library is open Monday – Friday 9.30am - 5.30pm and Saturday 1pm - 4pm.

The Social Sciences Library (SSL) is located in the Manor Road Building on Manor Road and is open Monday – Friday 9am - 10pm, Saturday 10am - 6pm, Sunday 12noon - 6pm. Note that out of term opening hours are different and you should check their website to find out about these.

The Radcliffe Science Library (RSL) is located on Parks Road, adjacent to the Natural History

Museum. It contains a good collection of relevant materials and a lot of very pleasant study space. Monday – Friday 8:30am - 10pm, Saturday 10am - 4pm, Sunday 11am - 5pm.

The Balfour Library is located in the Pitt Rivers Museum on Robinson Close and contains collections relating particularly to visual and material anthropology as well as museum ethnography. The Balfour library also houses the department’s video collection. Films are available to view at the library and may not be borrowed.

We also subscribe to an online database of ethnographic films and documentaries relating to anthropology which can be accessed at the following web address:


7.3 Museums

The Pitt Rivers Museum (PRM), located at the back of the University Museum of Natural History, is one of the two leading ethnographic museums in the UK and houses a marvellous collection of ethnographic artefacts as well as being of historical importance to the development of anthropology. All students will certainly want to make repeat visits to it over the course of their degree, and it provides an outstanding resource for VMMA students in particular. In addition to nearly half a million ethnographic objects, it also has an extensive photo archive of some 125,000 items from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and many other special holdings in the areas of material culture theory, museum history and praxis, and material culture in ethnographic contexts. The Pitt Rivers Museum Research Centre for study and other activities can be accessed either from the Museum itself or from South Parks Road.

Other major museums in Oxford of possible interest to anthropologists include the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, the Museum of the History of Science, the University Museum of Natural History and the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments.

7.4 Common Room

The School common room for students on the ground floor of 43 Banbury Road, with coffee and tea-making facilities in the kitchen nearby, is available during institute opening hours during term and by arrangement during some vacations.

7.5 Internal Mail

You will find staff mailboxes (pigeonholes) in the ground-floor lobby of 51 Banbury Road. Students are encouraged to have mail sent to them at their college and not to give correspondents the School address. University staff do not normally forward mail to students, so if you go away (e.g. on fieldwork), make sure significant individuals or organisations in the University have your contact details.

7.6 Noticeboards

The main SAME building at 51 Banbury Road has a number of notice boards in the main lobby and along the central corridor on the first floor. There are also notice boards in 43, 58, 61 and 64 Banbury Road. These advertise seminar series and occasional lectures both within and outside the School, future conferences, grants and awards, job opportunities etc. Official information is usually displayed in the lobby of 51 Banbury Road.

7.7 Computers and IT

The IT Officers for the School are responsible for the School’s computing facilities, including those available to students, which are accommodated in 43 Banbury Road). Most colleges also provide computing facilities. Graduate students also have access to the University Computing Service (including the Humanities Computing Unit, which can provide advice on specialist fonts).

All students have an allowance of free printing within the school, using the student printer located in the basement of 43 Banbury Road; not more than 1000 pages may be printed in a calendar month. Students with a desk in 64 Banbury Road may print to the printer in the common room in that building. For environmental reasons all members of the school are encouraged to avoid any unnecessary printing.

7.8 Desk space

Students may use the desk space in the Tylor Library for individual study. The Radcliffe Science Library and the Social Sciences Library also have plentiful areas for study; college libraries may also be a good place to work. There is limited desk space for students in 43 Banbury Road. Desks in the computer room are used on a ‘first-come first-served’ basis each day and should be cleared overnight. Desk space in the DPhil student room is allocated by the students themselves and is generally restricted to those who are writing up post-fieldwork; access is via swipe card. Lockers are available for temporary storage of books etc. A deposit will be levied for locker keys. There is also a common room and a kitchen in no. 43, with 24-hour access to all parts dedicated to students. Students of the DPhil in Migration Studies may be able to use desk space in the COMPAS building (58 Banbury Road) and should contact the director of the DPhil in Migration Studies should this be required.

7.9 First Aid/Safety

The School has a Statement of Safety that details its plans for dealing with fire, accident, incident, etc. Please familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures and evacuation points for the areas in which you will be working.

In case of sudden illness, accident or near miss during working hours, contact a First Aider or the Departmental Safety Office, Neil Clarke (General Office). A First Aid Box is available in all kitchens.

All plug-in electrical equipment used in the School must have passed an electrical safety test. This is a legal requirement. This INCLUDES privately-owned items.

All accidents and near misses must be reported in the Accident Book, held in the General Office.

7.10 Fire alarm testing

We test the fire alarms in all our buildings weekly. If the alarm sounds for a short period there is no need to evacuate the building. If the alarm becomes continuous you should make your way safely and promptly to the nearest exit and wait in the designated area (usually at the front of each building).

7.11 Risk management

Life in the School is generally considered to be low risk office-working. The risk increases for those who work alone from time to time. If you intend to work out-of-hours regularly please contact Neil Clarke to discuss risk assessment and mitigation.

Our more risk-significant activities involve fieldwork. Therefore see our Travel webpages (https://www.anthro.ox.ac.uk/safety-fieldwork-and-ethics) for advice and information.

7.12 Personal belongings in the department and university

You are advised that personal property is not covered by university or departmental insurance policies. You are asked to ensure that any personal property brought to work is well secured and preferably covered by an extension to your home contents insurance policy.