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City of Oxford College hosts Olive Gibbs Centenary Exhibition throughout December

Activate Learning will host a unique exhibition celebrating the life of Olive Gibbs at City of Oxford College throughout December.

The exhibition will honour the centenary of the birth of Olive Gibbs, a prolific and well-respected figure in Oxford’s history at the city centre campus on Oxpens Road.

Olive Gibbs was a prominent 20th century Labour politician, local councillor, chair of the College of Further Education and anti-nuclear and peace campaigner.

The exhibition is free and will welcome visitors from Tuesday 4 to Friday 21 of December. It will be open on weekdays from 9am to 4:30pm in the city centre campus reception area.

Chris Hyde, Director of Curriculum for Creative Arts at Activate Learning, said: “We are delighted to host this exhibition about Olive Gibbs. It is very important that our students learn how to be curious with knowledge and use it when inspiring others.”

The exhibition will commemorate her extraordinary life, legacy and work, detailing her time as Lord Mayor of Oxford, the first female Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council, an Honorary Freeman of Oxford and London and founding member and National Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

Liz Woolley, exhibition founder and local historian, said: “I’m delighted that the exhibition is concluding its year-long tour of Oxford at the City of Oxford College.

“Olive believed passionately in educational opportunities for people of all talents and abilities and was an energetic chair of the College of Further Education as it was then, which had been built in the mid-1960s, partly on the former recreation ground where Olive and her friends had played as children.”

Liz added: “Her son Simon has described the college as Olive’s ‘great love’ and when in 1993, she was made a life-time member of the Students Union, she considered this as great an honour as any of the others which she had received.

“She set up the Olive Gibbs Trust which still gives grants for City of Oxford College students to study or work abroad, as she had done herself when she went to France at the age of 16.”

Olive Gibbs was at the forefront of many local and national campaigns. In Oxford, she strove for the protection of urban landscape and the defence of social causes.

These local campaigns included the prevention of an inner relief road being built across Christ Church Meadow, supporting the demolition of the infamous Cutteslowe walls and the saving of homes in Jericho from mass clearance.

In 1986, she was awarded Oxford Brookes University’s first-ever honorary degree. A blue plaque honouring Olive Gibbs and her work was unveiled at her childhood home at Christ Church Old Buildings, Osney Lane, Oxford on 11 April 2015.

If you would like to book your visit to the Olive Gibbs Centenary exhibition, please visit the City of Oxford College city centre reception or contact us on 0800 612 6008.

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