The Big Book is an impressive tome, standing as it does 2.2 metres high, somberly clad in an old-fashioned binding, on which the only lettering is the word ‘Imagine’, in gold on the spine.

Its size is deliberately symbolic of the huge role books play in the accumulation of human knowledge.

The symbolism was reinforced by its site: the Clarendon Quad of the Bodleian Library, the academic heart of the University and close to the 11 million books and journals in the Bodleian’s collection.

Artist Diana Bell made the piece to show how by using imagination individually and collectively mankind has been able to extend and take forward scientific knowledge and creativity, and use this to explore, care for, and less happily, exploit the world around it.

In line with this principle of shared experience, Bell was keen for the public to interact with the piece. So The Big Book’s front cover opens to reveal enormous blank canvas pages on which each is invited to write his or her own contribution. And, in order to do this, actually to step inside the book, becoming for a moment a part of the sculpture. Bell’s intention is to provide a piece of light-hearted fun as well as a strong message about the opportunity each individual has to contribute to the overall sum of knowledge and experience — an opportunity that has already been enjoyed by a wide range of adults and children.

For those who missed out on that opportunity there is another from September 17-20, when The Big Book will be in Bonn Square, with its front cover open each day from 10am to 6 pm. The sculpture’s move from a gown to a town address, sets it adjacent to another repository of knowledge, the Oxford Central Library. And in Bonn Square the piece joins the witty bronze book-based sculptures and street furniture that Bell created in 2008 to celebrate the Oxford-Bonn link.