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Previews and Reviews of Objects in the Ashmolean

Previews and Reviews of Objects in the Ashmolean 08/07/2017

  Rebekah King says:

Previews and Reviews of Objects in the Ashmolean

Previews and Reviews of Objects in the Ashmolean 07/07/2017

An art and Poetry Resource by Diana Moore

There is an incredibly enthusiastic review by poet, artist and editor Jalina Mhyana:

I bought this art and poetry book in the gift shop of the Ashmolean Museum and have lingered over its pages many times since - not only because it's witty or because the pages are lush and the artistry and layout are gorgeous - but mainly because I'm infatuated with this little book.

It's rare to find a poetry book that appeals to 10-year olds as well as adults. The humor and sense of fun won't be lost on anyone.

"Objects in the Ashmolean" occupies a special place on my shelf. As a poet and artist myself, I flip through the pages and think, "I ought to try that in my next book of poems! Ooh, and that too! What an innovative idea - oh, how funny! And that layout....!" I basically want to copy the entire book, from the words to the layout to the imagery.

The poems, narratives, and hilarious one-act plays will make you chuckle. For instance, there's a particularly witty exchange between Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon!

This is nothing like an ordinary book of poems, which - and as a poet I can say this - are too often predictable and tiresome. Moore's book pairs artwork from the famous Ashmolean museum with her poems, creating a clever and surprising interplay across the page.

The book is intended for all ages. I imagine it would be an incredible resource for teachers, libraries, and home educators, as there are thoughtful prompts and questions to explore, as well as suggestions for singing the poems aloud.

This slim volume contains multitudes; it's a terrific launchpad for teaching history, religion (though it's not at all religious - but much Renaissance artwork was), music, and poetry.

Aside from the short and chuckle-inducing one-act play between Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, there's a mermaid who sings the blues ("I've Got the Silver-Finned Blues"), a "menu" poem that offers ancient Green cuisine replete with "Mid-Winter Warmers" and "Kiddie Menu" - so clever!

Moore's little asides and suggestions are brilliant. For example, a poem paired with a religious painting by Lelio Orsi - which depicts St Michael subduing Satan - can be sung to the tune of Offenbach's "Infernal Galop," more popularly known as the can-can!

These are just a few examples of Moore's playfulness. It's refreshing to find a book of poetry that doesn't take itself too seriously. If this book were a person, they'd be a great date: full of surprises, witty quips, and casual references to myth and literature thrown in for good measure.

Objects in the Ashmolean

Objects in the Ashmolean 26/03/2017

Objects in the Ashmolean is an illustrated art and poetry resource, based on a small selection of objects from the vast collections held at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

This is a fun and creative learning resource for stimulating creative writing, performance work, reading and discussion. The book will take you on a journey from Renaissance Italy to the Far East; you can time travel between ancient artefacts and works of modern art. Each poem begins with a short introduction letting you know some of the fascinating history of the object that inspired it. Age guide is from around 10 years to adult, with some poems suitable for younger primary children and others aimed at age 12 years and above.

Many of the poems are well suited to live performance; each one has been performed at the Ashmolean in its relevant gallery. You’ll find pieces in here that can be set to music or acted out. There is drama, humour, song and one poem that can be used as a prompt for mindfulness and meditation. The object is for you to enjoy the objects, have a go at performing the poems - either as hinted at in the book, or in your own ways. Then you might like to try out some new ideas of your own. Content includes: a scripted poem about Henry VIII and His Six Wives, a menu poem served on a Roman fish plate, a song lyric inspired by a ship in a storm and a mermaid… a flamingo calypso, and more…

This book is a follow on to 'A Visitor to the Forest', a poem designed for performance, which is suitable for many voices, and inspired by Paolo Uccello's masterpiece: 'The Hunt in the Forest' which is on display in the Ashmolean Museum.

17th June update:  Objects in the Ashmolean is available in the Ashmolean Museum shop, Blackwell's in Oxford, and independent book stores, e.g. The Book House in Thame and Summertown. Also available via Amazon.

March 2017

March 2017 24/03/2017

Pleased to announce that my third book is now available.  It is an art and poetry resource based on objects in the Ashmolean.  Titled: Objects in the Ashmolean, An Art & Poetry Resource

CARU Arts re Search Conference 2016

CARU Arts re Search Conference 2016 04/12/2016

I am currently working on my third book which is to be an art and poetry resource in which I use art and objects as a way of engaging, inspiring and facilitating creative writing and performance work.  For this occasion, I presented scripted poems, poem/lyrics, thoughtful poems, and a musical  poem based on a Still Life painting.  Each piece relates to art and objects that are housed in the Ashmolean museum.  The audience were invited to join in with the words and there was a good supply of volunteers happy to be put on the spot and join in.  The poems that I presented demonstrated the many ways in which art and poetry can be written, linked and performed.  Content was found to be good for creative writing and performance work in many places and spaces and for both children and adults. The book is due to be published in 2017.  More news coming soon.

CARU  Arts re Search Conference 2016

CARU Arts re Search Conference 2016 19/11/2016

I met Claire Frampton at the CARU Arts re Search Conference.  Claire works as a gallery attendant at the Ashmolean Museum. She is currently working on a PhD proposal with a working title of: 'Exploring the potential of creative drama as a learning tool in museums and heritage'.  She very kindly offered to write a review and reflections on my book: A Visitor to the Forest - a scripted performance poem, which is inspired by Paolo Uccello's The Hunt in the Forest. (See text below)


Reflections on reading A Visitor to the Forest by Diana Moore (2014)

I first met Diana Moore at the CARU (Creative Arts Research Unit) conference at Oxford Brookes in December 2016. I made a presentation ‘Exploring the potential of creative drama as a learning tool in museums and heritage’, she made a presentation ‘Art and Poetry for Performance’ which included performance of some of her poems related to museum objects with a slide show. She leant me a copy of her book and I offered to review it and write reflections.

I was interested to review it in relation to my Research Project/ PhD Proposal Working Title: Exploring the potential of creative drama as a learning tool in museums and heritage. Examining current projects and academia, proposing, running and evaluating projects in museums.

In the introduction to the book she describes how she developed the idea for the book while she looked into the painting rather than walking past it. As a gallery attendant I have witnessed many tours, schools education sessions and activities related to that painting, involving family trails and craft I was interested about Moore’s unique ideas about engaging with the painting. I believe there is more potential for music and drama in museum education programmes, Moore’s book encourages performance of her script in relation to the painting. With my project about the potential for creative performance in museums one of the research issues is what are the benefits of learning about heritage through drama in a context where museum programmes also offer music and arts and crafts in their programmes? Considering what I had witnessed (I had been a gallery attendant for 5 years) I believed Moore’s project offered something new.

With Diana’s book I can see it is designed so that people can use the script to engage with elements of the painting in a unique way, performers can make their own interpretations. I was interested in the way Moore encourages performances with music from well known tunes such as a Mozart Horn Concerto.

I liked the way the book was edited with some creativity in the presentation of words for instance in one illustration with words going round in a spiral. Parts of the painting are presented in the book editing sections so people engage in a new way. I liked the way the book was designed so people can make notes, perhaps about their own performance of the poems.

After this I am interested to know more about Moore’s work, especially relating to theatre in heritage.


Thank you Claire. 

Photo above shows Claire Frampton at Oxford Brookes for a 'Singing through the ages' event.  She is wearing a mortar board and holding a clock which was used in her presentation at the CARU Arts re Search conference also at Oxford Brookes.


 I have been selected to speak at CARU ǀ Arts re Search Conference at Oxford Brookes University on 4th December.  I will be presenting / performing  on the topic of Art & Poetry for Performance.

CARU ǀ  Arts re Search Conference
Date:  4th December 2016
Location: Chakrabati Lecture Theatre, Gipsy Lane, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford
Here is a link, further information and full list of speakers available soon. 



POETRY EVENT with Diana Moore

"We had a lovely afternoon yesterday with our special guest Diana Moore, performing her fantastic art related poetry"  (from Bridge House Care Home Facebook Page)

Poetry Sessions ~ Feedback ~ Lady Nuffield Home

Poetry Sessions ~ Feedback ~ Lady Nuffield Home 24/02/2016

A session that is increasing in popularity is my art-based poetry sessions.  Intelligent, Interactive, Accessible, Educational.  Here is feedback from a visit to The Lady Nuffield Home:

'I like your poetry'  said Joan.  ...'very different to the usual visits..'

Please ask her back'  Susan reminded the activities manager

'We've not had anything like this before' ..  'unique, interesting, original'  .. 'an engaging and enjoyable session' ..  'When residents ask you back it is the best example of feedback'    David Rudge, Activities Manager

Art-based Poetry Feedback ~ Two Bream and a Ray

Art-based Poetry Feedback ~ Two Bream and a Ray 22/11/2015

I've created a poetic menu based on a Roman Fish Dish in the Ashmolean Museum (see image to the right).

"To say you have a unique and original style is an under statement.
  It's so appealing in it's layout and the light touch and humour belie the
  knowledge and information contained underneath."

        Tony Vincent Isaacs,  Musician and Poet

Cows at Cookham by Sir Stanley Spencer

Cows at Cookham by Sir Stanley Spencer 24/10/2015

A poem/lyric/script by Diana Moore, inspired by Stanley Spencer's painting of Cows at Cookham, Modern Art Gallery, Level 3, Ashmolean Museum.

The theme for October's readings was (a) Modern Art, and (b) based on 19th century French poet Stephane Mallarmés Meaning: Interplay & Interconnections.  I was attracted to Cows at Cookham in the Modern Art gallery which fitted one part of the remit, but I didn't know much about Mallarmé... yet...  How could I interplay and interconnect...?  What made him tick...?  Well... I discover that he influenced Claude Debussy who composed a piece called  L'après-midi d'un faune... (afternoon of the faun) based on one of Mallarmés poems.  Music, music... I do enjoy music... I listen to Debussy... I connect Debussy and the cows... have you ever heard a cow moo Debussy...? My thoughts develop into a poetic script for two voices.

If you would like to hear the poem or if you would like me to visit your school or establishment to share my art-based poetry workshops, please do get in touch.  

Further information on Stephane Mallarmé at  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/stephane-mallarme

Words, Wit (and Flamingos?)

Words, Wit (and Flamingos?) 07/07/2015

The Adult Dyslexia Centre proudly presents:  Words, Wit (and Flamingos?)  5th July 2015.

I've had a wonderful time at the Adult Dyslexia Centre in Maidenhead, working with the group to develop their writing skills into performance pieces and leading on to a production at The Studio Theatre at Nordern Farm.  Here is what Debbie, the Centre Manager has to say:

   'Diana was recommended to us by a Centre tutor who had heard some of her performance pieces and felt that she would work well with our group. Our performance 'Words, Wit ( and Flamingos)' was put together with tremendous panache and professionalism in only 4 weeks. It consisted of 32 short items of humorous writings (mostly written by the members) with performance and dance. What an achievement - to enable a group of dyslexic adults who have difficulties with words, sequencing and memory to feel confident performing in a theatre to an audience who thoroughly enjoyed the show.  Thank you, Diana, for all your, patience, perseverance and belief that we could 'produce the goods'.  

Debbie Farnfield, 

Adult Dyslexia Centre Manager

Playground on Fire at the Old Fire Station

Playground on Fire at the Old Fire Station 18/06/2015

I am delighted to be a part of the Playground on Fire events. I shall be in the Gallery on Saturday 27th June from 3 - 4 p.m. Joining me will be: actor Jon Crowley and soprano Anna Shackleton. Together we will be presenting 'A VISITOR TO THE FOREST'.  There will be singing and acting/improvising of extracts from this arts-based performance poem inspired by Paolo Uccello's The Hunt in the Forest.  Audience participation is invited.  All welcome.  

A Visitor to the Forest is available from Blackwells and the Ashmolean Museum shop, also online via Amazon.co.uk

Events and Workshops April, May, June, July 2015 31/03/2015

Here are a few of the workshops and events that I have booked for spring and summer.

Ashmolean Museum ~ poetry workshop for adults with learning difficulties based on 'The Hunt in the Forest'
Residential Care Home ~ poetry readings, performance and discussion
Adult Dyslexia Centre ~ comedy, poetry, writing and performance workshop leading to a theatre production
Stagecoach Theatre Arts School ~ Poetry performance workshops with mini musical/acting performances for each age group ranging from age 6 to 18 years

April 2015  Feedback following my visit to Chiltern Grange Care Home:  "Thank you very much to the lovely Diana Moore for carrying out an 'Introduction to Creative Writing and Poetry' session for our residents.  An informative, interesting session filled with lots of humour!  Your poems were brilliant, we look forward to seeing you again soon." Corinne Smith, Activities Manager 

Coles Bookstore in Bicester 07/03/2015

Thanks to Caroline at Coles Bookstore in Bicester for her continued support in stocking my latest book A Visitor to the Forest which is an art based poem designed for performance and suitable for ages 7 to adult.   Here is a link to Coles - it is a lovely independent book shop in Crown Walk, Bicester.  wym-1432049712180


Testimonial 17/02/2015

 I met Diana Moore through the readings in the Ashmolean museum. Her poems have a lovely sense of fun and wordplay, and she has a wonderful instinct for making texts which will appeal to children in performance. This little book contains one such poem, inspired by a famous painting by Uccello.  Dr Giles Watson, University of Western Australia


Testimonial 19/01/2015

In 2012 I had the pleasure of reading with Diana Moore as part of the Ashmolean Museum's 'Poetry and Pictures' program, and since then, I've been witness to her meticulous craftsmanship and professional approach. Diana's poetry is imaginative and playful; a welcome reprieve from the monotone readings one comes to expect. Diana brings a musical element to the poems, whispering, chanting, and singing. I'm always surprised and delighted by Diana's theatricality, playfulness, and humour. She is a natural performer, whether in schools, special needs groups, museums, or on the BBC. Her books can be found in Blackwell's and Waterstones. Her latest book, a poetic response to Uccello's Hunt in the Forest, will be available in the Ashmolean Museum shop this year.                        

                                                   Jalina Mhyana (www.jalina.co.uk)

                                                   Director, Ekphrasis / Poetry in the Museum

A Fishy Coat Tale, A Visitor to the Forest, and Objects in the Ashmolean - all available from bookstores, and via Amazon
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