Great facilities on campus

As well as all the core facilities you’d expect on a 21st-century university campus, Oxford Brookes is home to some unique resources. From special collections and archives for academic research, to stand-out facilities for specific subject areas and our own exhibition space.

Specialist resources

As you would expect, whichever subject you study, you’ll have access to excellent specialist facilities, from well-equipped laboratories and engineering workshops, to cutting edge healthcare facilities, performance and exhibition spaces. Here are a few highlights:

  • A new cognitive robotics lab - home to four interactive robots: Artie, a life-sized, multilingual, fully interactive Robothespian; Baxter, a humanoid robot with cameras on the end of each arm so he can recognise, pick up and manipulate objects; and the Nao twin robots who are 23 inches tall but capable of walking, recognising faces and voices, and detecting objects.
  • Babylab - used by psychology researchers to carry out research into how babies learn language. Facilities include an eyetracker - a special camera that uses infra-red light to create a reflection on the baby’s eye, which measures the length of time they focus on images.
  • A purpose-built engineering centre including specialist workshops, an automotive engineering lab with a four-post test rig, and a state-of-the-art lab including four engine test cells, and a suite of software for statistical and data analysis.
  • A sports lab accredited by BASES (the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences).
  • A life-sized family of manikins and simulation suites form part of specialist healthcare facilities.
  • An exhibition space, the Glass Tank, used to showcase the work of students and staff across a range of disciplines, as well as professional artists.
  • Cutting-edge digital media facilities including a green screen room, motion capture studio and TV studio from which our award-winning student television station BrookesTV is broadcasted.
  • The refurbished biology laboratories house the University’s bio-imaging unit, advanced confocal, light and electron microscopes, and lots of other specialist equipment in modern purpose-built research labs.
  • An in-house mooting court (mock court room) providing the School of Law and Social Sciences with a place for students to develop their advocacy skills. Our law students recently won the prestigious ESU Essex Court National Mooting Competition 2016 for the third time in five years.

Special collections: bringing a subject to life

Oxford Brookes' central library on Headington Campus is home to some fascinating special collections – a huge range of archive materials to enrich your learning, spanning publishing, arts, architecture, medical sciences, food and drink.

In this digital age, handling books, letters and other archived materials powerfully brings a subject to life, says librarian Chris Fowler.

Our special collections include:

  • Booker Prize Archive
  • Andre Deutsch Collection
  • Early Children’s Book Collection
  • Medical Sciences Archive
  • Jane Grigson Collection
  • Fuller Collection.

The Oxford Brookes Library

Booker Prize Archive: a history of publishing

Chris, who specialises in art, publishing and film studies, looks after all related special collections including the Booker Prize Archive. Consisting of hundreds of letters, administrative details, publicity material, photographs and short and long lists, along with literary works from the likes of Doris Lessing, William Golding, Salman Rushdie and Hilary Mantel, the material goes back to 1968 when the prize was set up. The archive illuminates many issues, like the history of 20th century publishing, the move from hardback to paperback, and how shortlisted books reflect changing debates in society - making it of interest to academics across many subjects including English Literature and Sociology, as well as students, journalists and other researchers.

Getting hands on

As part of a teaching session on getting the best out of the archives, students browse a collection, identify a research theme and then share their findings with the wider group. “Going hands-on is a great way of highlighting the scope of these collections and the added insights that primary sources can bring to their research”, explains Chris. “They become experts at what they are looking at. And there’s always that possibility that they will discover something that no one has found before.”

A unique perspective

Mark Jones, who is studying for a master’s in Book History agrees. He sees the special collections at Oxford Brookes as an essential means of reconnecting with the rich history of book publishing. “The opportunity to immerse myself in an archive and leaf through countless boxes of letters, papers and correspondence can’t be duplicated in a digital, online world”, he insists. Mark has relished sifting through the Booker Prize Archive and the Andre Deutsch Collection: “A personally exciting find was a first edition copy of Cormac McCarthy’s debut novel The Orchard Keeper”, he enthuses. “As a great admirer of McCarthy’s work, it was a delight to find a copy of this text sitting on a shelf.” Most importantly of all, Mark passionately believes everyone will discover something new, or be able to interpret the material differently: “It’s this unique and personal perspective which makes the special collections a precious and priceless addition to Brookes’ international academic reputation”.

Students working in the library

As a postgraduate student, you will have access to a library network spread across all campuses housing around half a million books, an extensive collection of online resources, as well as DVDs, journals and databases. There are spaces for silent study, bookable group rooms, PCs, free laptop hire, and full Wifi coverage. Academic liaison librarians can help you access resources for your course, and you can manage your library account from your phone. 

“The opportunity to leaf through countless boxes of letters, papers and correspondence can’t be duplicated in a digital, online world.”

Mark Jones, MA in Book History and Publishing Culture