01993 810 210

SOFO staff


Ursula Corcoran
Museum Director

I joined SOFO in June 2012 as its first Museum Director. Having lived and worked in the USA followed by gaining an MA (Distinction) at Goldsmiths in Performance, I have managed a variety of capital arts complexes including the creation of Rhodes Arts Complex and Museum in Bishop's Stortford. Retraining as a lecturer while my children were young, I have a keen interest in making SOFO as accessible as possible to all potential users, whether as visitors or student curators! I hope the museum reflects the energy which the original team put into it and continues to attract stories from across the county.

Brianna Openshaw BA (Hons)
Front of House Assistant
I emigrated from Connecticut in the US in 2000 when I was 10 years old. I've been working at RAF Brize Norton as AirTanker cabin crew for the past three years which has taken me to remote places like the Falkland Islands and Ascension Island. My passion for Imperial Russian History led me to a BA Joint Hons degree in History and American Studies at York St John University, and furthermore to this job. When I'm not flying I love cooking, running and seeing friends.

Sue Cross
Museum Administrator
I joined the museum in January 2013. I got involved in the project through my husband Mike Cross, one of our most dedicated volunteers. I am responsible for the day to day running of the museum and pretty much organise everything.

Rana Ibrahim
Front of House Assistant
Salam! I am Rana, I have just joined SOFO working with front house staff. Archaeology is my first degree from Baghdad University, then I gained my MA Museum Studies degree from Newcastle University; During my museum career, I had the opportunity to work with objects and people together as paid and voluntary work until I had the chance to join Oxford University Museums and Collections as Education and Outreach trainee. After that I have been doing my educational programs in the school sector, my specialism is Arabic and Islamic collections. I like designing educational, fun activities and games for schools and family events.

Stephen Barker MA
Centenary Projects Manager
I am an independent Heritage Advisor currently working for Oxfordshire Museum Services, the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum and Oxford-Brookes University amongst others. I have curated and design exhibitions including several First World War Centenary projects. In 2012 I ran the national Europeana/Oxford University IT Great War Collections Day in Banbury. Until 2011, I worked at Banbury Museum and was a trustee of the Battlefields Trust, working on HLF projects. In 2009, I had published 'Lancashire's Forgotten Heroes' - a history of the 8th East Lancs in the Great War. I completed an MA (Distinction) in Museum Studies at Leicester University in 2011. Stephen is also a member of SOFO's Academic Advisory Board.

Duncan Parsons
Front of House and Marketing Supervisor
I've lived in Oxfordshire all my life - aside from a few years away studying my degree in Modern and Contemporary History at Bangor University, North Wales. A keen interest in history brought me to work in museums after graduating, joining SOFO as Front of House and Marketing Supervisor after previous work at the Museum of Oxford. In my spare time I can be found taking part in medieval re-enactments across the UK with the Thomas Stanley Retinue and practicing Historical European Martial Arts with the School of Medieval European Fencing.

Priya Atwal BA MSt DPhil
I am a History researcher, drawn to working at SOFO due to its incredible archives of material relating to the involvement of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in India during the British Raj era. I have been awarded a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, to enable me to pursue collaborative work with SOFO for a year. I will be researching the stories of British and Indian soldiers who fought together in the First World War, tapping into the SOFO archives and others; in order to design new educational resources that can enhance SOFO's work with local schools, as well as its ability to engage with British Asian audiences. This project builds on an earlier one that I have been working on with SOFO and Oxford University's History Faculty, to design an exciting new mini-exhibition called 'The Indian Army in the First World War: an Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire perspective', which will be on display at Woodstock in April 2018.

Peggy Ainsworth
Collections Manager
I am a Museum Studies graduate and was previously an intern at SOFO before becoming Collections Manager. I have volunteered in a number of museums in the past and have also done freelance work as a producer of audio-visual material for heritage institutions. I am particularly interested in difficult histories and how these are interpreted and then presented to the visiting public. I enjoy working with collections and finding out the stories that these objects can tell.

Nic Vanderpeet
Learning and Outreach Officer
I joined SOFO in 2019. I have more than 20 years working in education as both a secondary schoool Humanities teacher and in museum learning. In 2009 I left the classroom to be part of the Learning Department of the Imperial War Museums (IWM). While at IWM I helped with the development of SOFO as a member of the Advisory Panel. Beyond working at SOFO I am a keen birdwatcher and cricket player and umpire.

Laura Sellers
Exhibitions Assistant
Originally from Nottingham, I am a recent History graduate from the University of Oxford, continuing to live in Oxford for a year before studying for an MA in History of Art. I have a strong interest in history, heritage and museums and am especially enthusiastic about histories of art and culture. I've volunteered at several museums and art galleries before coming to SOFO and would love to pursue a career in collections and curatorial work in the future.

Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum
Park Street
Oxfordshire OX20 1SN

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