All posts by jamesoxplore

About jamesoxplore

James is the Widening Access and Participation Assistant for the University of Oxford's Oxplore site

Micro-intern Develops Future Big Question

We continue to benefit from the Micro-internship programme offered through Career Services here at the University of Oxford.

This term we had Mick join us from Balliol College. During his time with us, he began the outline and recorded two interviews for a future big question (‘Is the internet bad?’), participated in a recording of the Sounds of South Asia live concert with the Faculty of Music, and much more.


Thoughts from the student…

Oxplore sees our intern as a precious resource to the work that we do and here is Mick’s reflections on his time with us.

Working as part of the Oxplore team in the past week has been an absolute dream. How cool is it to do something both intellectually interesting and socially meaningful? Very. My big question was “is the internet bad?” With this as anchor, I got to run with all my curiosities about the structure of the internet, its contributions to global progress but also inequalities, the deep ethical questions about psychological hacking, and the empathy-driven power of human-centred design. I believe my actual work tasks included: researching, writing, liaising with and interviewing academics – but my recall isn’t too clear because all of it was just a blur of fun to me. I believe that Oxplore is doing innovative work. It shows young minds the kind of work being done at a university, but also hopefully instils in them the self-belief that they are capable of higher-order curiosity-driven conceptual thinking as well. It also makes multidisciplinary learning of a complex issue the norm! . – Mick



Micro-interns are mega productive!

Oxplore continues to expand our student voice through the University of Oxford’s Micro-internship Programme. In December, we hosted three students (Gabrielle, Shona, and Daanial) from differing disciplines who came together to create web and social media content that will soon be available online.

Meet the micro-interns in this animation created by Gabrielle.

Gabrielle was our Video Development Assistant and visited a number of colleges and departments during her time with us. She filmed items for an upcoming Oxplore marketing campaign, student videos for our Instagram, and developed a number of animations.

Shona and Daanial were our Content Development Assistants for the week. They worked diligently on our upcoming January big question (Would you pay everyone the same?) finding resources and articles for it and even recording two video interviews with Oxford University academics.

Thoughts from the students…

Oxplore sees these interns as an invaluable resource and here are their reflections on their time with us.

I have had a very enjoyable week working as a micro intern at Oxplore. The best bits include interviewing academics and discussing the topic of ‘Would you pay everyone the same?’. These discussions have definitely redefined how I view certain topics, and it is clear to see how Oxplore will spark discussions across the country. The internship has allowed me to develop skills in video creation and editing, and it is clear to see the benefits that the content I created will have for students looking at the website. It was wonderful also, knowing that the output, discussions, and tasks I was undertaking were all in aid of a wider goal of widening access and participation. The internship is something I have certainly valued doing, and the experiences and opportunities gained here have been unparalleled. I believe that Oxplore makes a genuine impact and am grateful to have been a part of developing the Big Questions and being part of the team. – Daanial


This micro-internship has been an immensely rewarding experience for me and has enabled me to develop many new skills that will help me in future communications, marketing and/or outreach positions. It was exciting to have so much freedom over our project and to receive such a positive response from academics at the university when contacted for an interview about their research. The two interviews we conducted with academic staff were a definite highlight for me, as I gained first-hand insight into cutting-edge research and opinion and learned more about other faculties in the university. Using video and audio editing software has been fascinating and enriched my understanding of the process of content creation. Filming for an Oxplore YouTube video with so much creative license over our storyboard and content felt liberating and satisfying as I feel we were able to incorporate lots of our own personality into the clips. I’ve engaged with lots of new people this week, who I hope to continue conversations with over projects lined up as part of my role as President of Oxford First-Gen for this year. It’s also been immeasurably helpful to better understand the inner workings of central university Widening Participation efforts. I definitely think I’ve gained a lot personally from this week, but it’s also fantastic to feel that our efforts will have a positive impact on improving access for prospective applicants in future. – Shona


I have had a fantastic time combining my passion for filmmaking with my dedication to access and outreach while producing fun and accessible videos for Oxplore’s ‘Big Questions’ during my micro-internship. The opportunity to interview students and academics at Oxford, as well as the chance to use professional quality video equipment, has helped me to develop production and editing skills that I will hopefully use in my future career in TV and Film production. Hearing the opinions of amazing individuals at Oxford on questions such as ‘Should We Eat Animals?’ and ‘Could We End Poverty?’ has shown me the benefits of lateral thinking – we can learn so much about the world by approaching topics from diverse academic (and personal) stand-points. A particular highlight of the week for me was learning how to use animation software to create videos which fit the Oxplore house style. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to explore big academic questions in new and engaging ways and I hope you will be just as fascinated with our approach to the big question launching in January – ‘Would You Pay Everyone the Same?’ – Gabrielle


Oxford Big Question Challenge – for UG and Taught PG Students


***Entries have now closed for the Oxplore Big Question Challenge –

Those who entered will be contacted shortly if they have won top prize or have been selected as one of the runners-up.***

At Oxplore, we strive to inspire 11-to-18-year-olds to think and explore beyond their school curriculum, and we need your help! This competition is open to all current Oxford undergraduate and taught postgraduate students from any discipline.

Propose your ideas for a new ‘Big Question’ for Oxplore with some recommended reading resources. The ideal Big Question will fascinate young people whilst being broad enough to accommodate different arguments and disciplines (you can see examples at

The best idea will not only win you £75 to spend at Westgate Oxford, but also the opportunity to see it produced and included on the Oxplore site. With five runners-up prizes of a £25 voucher each, there’s nothing to lose.

Entries will close on Sunday 28th October at 11:59pm – Sunday of 4th week.


Continue reading Oxford Big Question Challenge – for UG and Taught PG Students

Interns continue to make a difference!

Oxplore has been expanding our student voice through more ideas and content generated by our fantastic interns! The University of Oxford Careers Service programmes means we were able to recently host three micro interns (Georgina, Serena, and Laura) for one week and had another intern (Mia) for four weeks. Each of them contributed greatly to our ongoing development.

Our three micro interns were quickly organising, producing, and then filming a discussion about a Big Question by their fifth and final day with us. They did an incredible job and you can watch the clip on ‘Is falling in love bad for you?’ here.

Not only did they complete a superb video, but they also enhanced our content with additional resources. Georgina, Serena, and Laura created reading lists for the questions ‘Does Race Matter?’, ‘Should You Ever Fall for a Chat-up Line?’, and ‘Should You Have To Be British To Live in Britain?’

Laura also planned our forthcoming undergraduate competition (watch this space in Michaelmas) while Serena and Georgina collaborated on plans for a new Big Question for the site.

Finally, we’ve been fortunate to have Mia as our intern for a number of weeks this summer. She’s helped with drafting a future blog post for NACE, contributed a reading list for the question ‘Does Fake News Matter?’, and she shot, edited, and created the social media plan for a video that gives you a tour of both Balliol College and the Mathematical Institute, while answering the question, ‘Does Truth Exist?’ with Maths student Jamie.

Thoughts from the students…

We were extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to work with these students and here are some of the reflections that they shared with us about their experiences with Oxplore.

As someone with a passion for access and outreach being able to use my creative skills to develop work for the Oxplore website has been really rewarding. I liked the variety of tasks I was able to undertake, working both in the Undergraduate Admissions Office as well as going to the Music Faculty to speak to Professors. Developing the mini-podcast was a particular highlight for me and I have learnt a lot about sound editing, something I wasn’t familiar with before at all. Interviewing academics for the podcast has made me more interested in communications, journalism and excited about the possibilities of digital outreach. – Georgina


Being entrusted with developing the competition really excited me, as I felt that I learned how to create and shape everyone’s ideas into something new and usable. It was encouraging to feel that I had been trusted to make decisions, from the prizes to the graphics. The week flew by, as it developed from marketing ideas and possible prizes into a fully mapped out plan that is (nearly!) ready to go. I have learned so many new things about marketing this week, from writing an extensive print brief, dissemination plan and Gantt chart – and I’ve had a lot of fun getting to learn how to use the photo editing software for the first time. The skills I have used will very soon come into use as I manage the marketing for an Oxford Playhouse musical in January and hopefully in my future career in marketing or outreach work. – Laura


I have had a wonderful week working as a micro-intern for Oxplore and feel proud to have contributed and created content for such an engaging and interesting website. Oxplore may be aimed at 11-18 year olds, but in both browsing the website’s previous questions and creating resources for our new one, ‘Does Music Matter?’ I feel like I have learnt a lot and will definitely be returning to the website to explore it more. The five days flew by – it’s hard to believe that we fit so much into five days, starting with brainstorming and planning and then finding and creating most of the content needed, including videos, articles, quizzes and podcasts. Recording and editing audio files is something that I hadn’t done since GCSE so it was great to work with audio-editing programmes again and regain some of the skills. It was also great to get to know more about the access and outreach department in case I decide to pursue more outreach work in the future. – Serena


What this internship has taught me above all is the value of online access; its potential to reach young people differently to in-person outreach, but no less powerfully; and the ways we can go about trying to build meaningful content. The Oxplore team came up with a brilliant itinerary for me in which I was able to explore loads of different aspects of a digital outreach job: from writing content, to storyboarding, to filming and editing, and more. I’ve been so grateful that the team have provided me with huge amounts of support, but have also challenged me to develop new skills – for example, the planning and execution of a video for the Oxplore YouTube and site was something completely new to me, but has turned out really well. The control I’ve been able to have over my ideas has given me the confidence to have more of them: I’ve learnt that digital outreach requires a lot of creative thinking, and the team’s trust in me to produce content has made this feel less like an internship and more like being an equal partner in an exciting project. – Mia