Johannah Aynsley

It is with huge sadness that we share the news that Johannah Aynsley, director of Cowley Road Works 2016-2018, died yesterday (15 June) after her fight against cancer.

Johannah was truly inspiring with tremendous vision, drive, enthusiasm, and energy as she headed up two of the biggest Cowley Road Carnivals in its history in 2016 and 2017. Who can forget the mechanical elephant or the escape of giant Colossus from South Park to take part in the procession? Johannah expanded the festival, increased programming by 50% and attendance to over 50,000.

Before joining CRW, Johannah had worked on the project to redevelop the Guildhall in Abingdon-on-Thames and was previously CEO of a pioneering youth lifestyle hub in Manchester and Creative Director/ Head of The Liverpool Film Academy.

Tragically, Johannah was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2018 and fought bravely with optimism, tenacity, courage and so much love.

Taken much, much too soon, we send our love and prayers to her daughter Willow and her family.

Johannah Aynsley

Cowley Road Works is Changing

Cowley Road Works (CRW), the charity behind the city’s Cowley Road Carnival, is beginning a period of change. The organisation has decided to take a break from delivering a Carnival in 2022 to take time to consider the future.

For over two decades, CRW has produced Oxford’s iconic Cowley Road Carnival (including the last two years of virtual and micro-carnival activity) and delivered a thriving programme of community projects and participation. After 20 amazing years of activity and engaging with the many and varied community groups and artists, technicians and volunteers that have made it happen, the organisation now wants to take time to evaluate past successes and consider the future.

Cathy King, acting Chair of the Board of Trustees for CRW explains: “Carnival started as a regeneration project for East Oxford and has succeeded amazingly in bringing our diverse communities together through celebration of this diversity for 20 years. We feel that the time is right to take time this year to reflect on past successes and our vision for Carnival. We will be taking the next few months to consider the future.”

If you are interested in getting in contributing to the process, please get in contact at

Voices of Carnival

Sif Lærke-Hall, developed an oral history project for the Meum of Oxford, based on the experiences and memories of people living, working, playing, and going to school on the vibrant and diverse Cowley Road.

There are many stories to tell from the local community, including members of our team, trustees and participants of the Carnival.You can listen to the voices of Cowley Road on the museum’s digital exhibition on the interactive Jukebox. at  the museum in the Town Hall. Or use this link to the exhibition or scan this QR code with your mobile phone to visit the Voices of Cowley Road exhibition online.

ARK T at Carnival
Museum of Oxford

The full live stream hosted by Pax Nindi

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