Photograph by Chris Stonehouse
We Make a Difference
Building Bridges Between Communities
Our focus is on building bridges between communities facing divides and narrowing the gap between pockets of disadvantage and privilege in Oxford. The annual Cowley Road Carnival has the power to foster inclusion and engage those who face hardship in the most challenging areas.
We spearhead projects with some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the community. Our recent and current work is with cultural and disability groups, schools and youth services, women affected by FGM, young people with learning disabilities, children in the care system and child refugees in Oxford.
Training Skills & Development
Carnival arts workshops and training opportunities support creativity, skills development and build self-esteem for participants. Our workshops are designed so that participants gain:
Access to creativity, artistic skills and materials. Young people are supported and encouraged by arts professionals.
Communication skills improved by encouraging young people to express their ideas in debate around the theme, design and creative process.
Team-working is developed as the group comes together making a large willow, music or dance piece.
Social skills are developed through presenting ideas, debate and discussion during workshops.
Research skills as the young people research the theme and history of carnival.
Improved mathematical skills. through practical application in a real life project, supporting classroom education.
Confidence building and self esteem through having contributions valued.
Community cohesion, mixing people and groups is part of the process.
Typically attended by around 50,000 people, including a third of the city’s population, the Cowley Road Carnival pulsates with rhythm, colour, performance, dance, art, creativity and most of all, full on joie de vivre as the East Oxford community comes together in celebration on the first Sunday in July.
The day brings together all the disparate groups and individuals from the many different ethnicities, heritage, and roots in one huge inclusive day packed with things to do,, to watch and to enjoy.
Carnival sees the culmination of much of our year’s work in the community and it acts as a catalyst for our creative output. Each year we set a theme as the springboard for our creative output. We are currently working on the aspects of ‘Mother Earth’ and we have already seen several projects come to fruition.