The Oxford Centre for Life Writing at Wolfson College

Who are we?

We convene a multidisciplinary international community of scholars, students, and life-writers. We are a Research Centre based at Wolfson College and affiliated with the Faculty of English at Oxford University.

What do we do?

Our researchers span disciplines such as literature, music, education, archaeology, and history, working across the medical humanities to study lives in medicine, on the oceanic humanities, postcolonial, and polar studies to study southern lives; with BBC Radio 3 on the lives of women composers; and with Ocean Ambassadors to take life-writing beyond words.

What is life-writing?

Life-writing includes every possible way of telling a life-story, from biography and autobiography, through letters and memoir, to bio-fiction, blogs, and social media such as Tweets and Instagram stories. Writers and researchers are increasingly recognizing how much of writing is life-writing, including poetry and fiction. Through life-writing we can find out more about each other and we also understand ourselves better in relation to the past. At the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing we explore and talk about the many different forms through which lives can be written, performed, recited and even sung.



How you can get involved:

As well as being a leading centre for research, OCLW aims to bring its work into the community wherever possible. Most of our events, talks and podcasts are free, and we work with disadvantaged social groups, schools and with children with learning difficulties to use life-writing to aid communication, tell stories, educate and build confidence. We believe research and creativity should be available to everyone, whatever their social background. 

The Centre is entirely reliant on the support of its friends and donors to enable its work, and we are hugely grateful to the network of supporters who help it to continue. If you'd like to become part of our vibrant community, please join our Friends Scheme. We also offer writing groups and mentoring to anyone working on their own life-writing projects, at any stage.