Making space for sustainability, creativity and community
We revive, repurpose and transform empty and underused spaces in Oxfordshire to create affordable workspaces that nurture connection and support between social enterprises, creatives, makers and doers committed to positive change.
Truly affordable space in Oxford is non-existent. In 2015, a small group of community-led and socially-driven organisations, struggling to find the space in which to fix, build, work and make an impact, came together to try a new approach. They formed Makespace Oxford as a Community Interest Company, to find innovative ways of bringing empty and underused buildings back into community use.
In 2018 Makespace Oxford opened in a North Oxford building owned by Wadham College and awaiting redevelopment in Aristotle Lane. Forty social enterprises, workers cooperatives, small charities and creative individuals are now working from Aristotle Lane. It functions as a ‘meanwhile space’: a temporary flexible lease to offer maximum benefit to its residents while keeping rent affordable.
In 2020, Makespace Oxford opened a new space in the city centre, right next to the train station, on Park End Street. This space, dubbed Makespace Central, serves as another flexible workspace and allow Makespace to support a new group of change-makers, with plans to develop a large community hub in the adjacent space in late 2021.
The project is a catalyst, a question and a demand to make space for sustainability, creativity and community. It’s also a network of vibrant hubs for community action, places where new partnerships begin and ideas come to life.
In early 2021, Makespace Oxford launched the Meanwhile in Oxfordshire programme, an Oxfordshire County Council funded programme, with a remit to open up to 50 new meanwhile (temporary use) spaces across all 5 districts over the next year. The programme has already had lots of interest from local community groups, charities, non-profits, retail businesses and cafes.
The Makespace Community
Transition by Design
Founding Partner Architecture and strategic design with a purpose
Alex works with our local communities to match individuals and organisations with spaces that will help them to thrive.With a background in cultural production and theatre, his previous work saw him touring the UK and Australia with drag queens, teaching theatre in schools and universities, and delivering large scale participation projects. As Communities Delivery Manager, Alex is excited by the prospect of empowering communities of Oxfordshire to transform spaces and drive social change.
Communities Delivery Manager
Andy is a passionate social entrepreneur who has led a number of successful purpose-driven community businesses. He is co-founder of Makespace Oxford and Programme Lead for the ‘Meanwhile in Oxfordshire’ programme, as well as co-founder, designer and architect at Transition by Design. He believes strongly in the power of space to create more inclusive and resilient local communities, and is committed to transforming, repurposing and reviving underused spaces in Oxfordshire.
Co-founder, Programme Lead & Director
Claire joined Makespace Oxford in early 2020 with a wealth of experience in supporting independent businesses and social enterprises. As Makespace Oxford’s Operations Manager, she takes care of all our systems and processes, and streamlines project resources so that we can be as efficient and effective as possible. Claire is passionate about supporting local socially conscious organisations and businesses across Oxfordshire.
Claire has been with Makespace Oxford since its inception. She is an exceptional member of the team, dedicated to keeping our central buildings in tip-top shape. Leaving no stone unturned, Claire ensures that our spaces are always spick-and-span for our residents and the wider community.
Dionne has worked in community arts and education for 20 years. Her work over the last 10 years has focused on accessibility and using the arts to enable new approaches, attitudes and transformative learning. With experience of working in a range of educational settings, community groups and ages Dionne is excited to be joining the team as a Community Development Coordinator to use her experience to enable and empower others.
Dianne joined us in 2021 to help deliver the Owned by Oxford Community Wealth Building programme. She is a Social Sculpture practitioner, Cultural Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Advocate, Poet, Author & ARTivist. She’s invested in regenerative ARTivism for belonging, advocacy and placemaking with a focus on African heritage diaspora communities, and has a deep commitment to increasing the participation of communities less seen and less heard in the local economy.
Dr. Dianne Regisford
Emily joined Makespace in 2021 to help us spread the word about our work. She is a communications professional with over six years of experience in the arts, culture and non-for-profit sectors. Emily believes strongly in the power of storytelling and connection to help organisations achieve their goals, and loves to think creatively and strategically about how to do this. She’s thrilled to be part of the Makespace team and is passionate about the power of space to support growth, equality and community.
Communications & Marketing Manager
Emma leads our building management team, ensuring that spaces we acquire are refurbished and brought into community use as efficiently as possible. She joined Makespace in 2018 with a background in design, construction and architecture, and has extensive experience in facilities management for social enterprises. In her time at Makespace, Emma has witnessed first hand how space can unlock great ideas and is proud to be part of the solution for the brilliant organisations we support.
Fabio joined the team in July 2022, supporting our residents in their spaces and helping them thrive. Having worked in the refugee sector for the past ten years – with a focus on social inclusion community projects – and having specialised in Advice and Guidance, Fabio is very keen to use his skills to make sure every resident receives tailored support throughout their journey at Makespace.
Fabio Di Donato
Hannah joined the team in 2022 and is responsible for storytelling at Makespace Oxford. She is a creative thinker with a passion for social enterprise; bringing with her several years experience in visual arts and non-profit communications. As a professional photographer, she is dedicated to documenting purpose-driven enterprises and individuals. She is excited to be a part of the Makespace Oxford community and making an impact in her hometown.
Communications and Marketing Manager
Jo manages our residents, internal communications and community programmes. Previously a creative producer and curator, with a focus on Arts & Heritage building transformation, she is experienced in collaborating across sectors and spaces. Passionate about work that ignites action and improves well-being, Jo is excited by Makespace’s mission to breathe new life into underused space – maximising potential and strengthening the connection between people and the places they share.
Nor Greenhalgh joined the Makespace Oxford team in 2022, working with our residents to support their projects and help Makespace Oxford buildings to thrive. Nor brings a wealth of experience from facilitation and mental health roles, and a passion for holistic placemaking. Alongside this work she is a freelance artist, working to bring joy to everyday places with site-specific visual art.
Ruth joined the team in April 2022 and is responsible for organisational development, business planning and financing strategy at Makespace. She brings over 20 years’ experience managing charities within the arts of sector and as a freelance general manager working with emerging businesses. Ruth is excited by the diversity of organisations connected by Makespace and making a difference through our mission and values.
Ashufta is a civil servant focusing on helping the poorest communities and regions in developing countries promote sustainable development. She grew up in East Oxford and is excited, through Makespace Oxford, to support action that enables equal access to spaces and opportunities for all groups that make up our diverse local community. She trained as an infrastructure specialist and is also UK Chartered Environmentalist.
Bart is a member of our Board, and an experienced leader and manger working in a range of organisations. He is one of Makespace Oxford’s Directors and also our Treasurer, with an overview of our financial plans. His areas of expertise are people and team management, but he has also managed estates refurbishment and construction projects. Bart is most interested in helping people and communities find and develop new ways of working together.
Selin Nugent is an anthropologist working at the intersection of digital ethics, sustainable communities, and cultural heritage. Alongside her role on the board of Makespace, she is Assistant Director of the Institute for Ethical AI at Oxford Brookes University and Director-at-Large for the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus. She is has been an enthusiastic member of the Makespace community for many years as a potter with the Sabali Pots Community Studio, and is excited for the opportunity to support the mission to enhance inclusivity and accessibility to space and expand positive social impact on Oxford as a board member.
Zahra is the award-winning co-founder and director of YWMP – an intersectional feminist charity that offers access to free workshops, resources, and mentoring to women and non-binary people. Zahra has been a workshop facilitator in Oxfordshire for 18 years, delivering music technology, drumming, and songwriting sessions to young people and vulnerable adults in many different settings. Zahra’s goal is to build meaningful connections between different communities in Oxford so that support can be distributed mindfully to those who need it most.
Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani
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