ABOUT US

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.

Our Story

At Makespace Oxford, we are passionate about space.

We believe that some of the greatest challenges of our time – social, environmental and otherwise – are linked to the physical spaces we occupy. How our public spaces are designed, how we use them, and who can and can’t access them have huge impacts on our lives and communities.

By challenging the way we use space in our urban centres, we believe we can help to shape a more sustainable and inclusive world where everyone benefits.

Back in 2018, we started to notice a few trends: there were increasing numbers of empty spaces across Oxford. At the same time, less than half of the city’s businesses had a registered space to work from. By putting two problems together to create a solution — the issue of empty and underused buildings, and the lack of affordable space — we turned this into an opportunity.

We take underused spaces across Oxfordshire and revive them into temporary affordable spaces for purpose-led individuals and organisations delivering positive impacts to our local communities. Through these spaces, we aim to foster a diverse, mutually-supportive community that facilitates connection, skill sharing and collaboration, allowing residents to accelerate their growth and become more impactful more quickly. 

“With each space we reanimate, we are planting seeds of possibility for a different tomorrow.”

– Dr Dianne Regisford, Communities Advocate, Makespace Oxford

While the use of these spaces may be temporary, our vision is long-term: our work is a catalyst to develop towns and cities that are community owned, people centred and climate safe – now and for future generations. Through the tool of meanwhile space, we’re creating the change we want to see, one empty building at a time. 

Equity, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

At Makespace Oxford, we aim to be a diverse and inclusive organisation that is accessible, welcoming, and truly representative of the region of Oxfordshire. We have zero tolerance on behaviours that threaten equality and inclusion and are committed to celebrating and championing diversity, equality, and inclusion within our workplace, amongst our residents ,and in our communities.

Over the past year, we have reviewed and thought critically about all aspects of our work. Within our 2021-22 planning, we are focusing on five key areas: race & ethnicity, social inequality, gender and sexuality, accessibility and climate emergency. 

Read our full EDI Statement

In the short video below, our Co-founder Andy Edwards shares some background on Makespace Oxford, and discusses how Equality, Diversity & Inclusion is integral to our work and mission.

Woman works on Computer at desk by window
Person sits at desk in artist studio space

Our Team

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.

Alex Lui

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.

Andy Edwards

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 LeMaster

Operations Manager

 

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.

 

Claire

Aristotle House-keeper

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.

Dionne Freeman

Community Coordinator

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

Communities Advocate


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

Community Coordinator

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.

Hannah Pye

Communications and Marketing Manager

Jason joined Makespace in 2022 to ensure the smooth and safe running of Makespace buildings across Oxfordshire. As facilities coordinator, he ensures that every one of our buildings is developed and operating to the highest standard; managing maintenance, inductions, repairs, fire, health & safety policies… and much, much more! Jason has many years experience in problem solving, facilities, equipment and health and safety, and is excited to be a part of this purpose-driven team.

Jason Harvey

Facilities Coordinator

Jo manages our residents, internal comms 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.

Jo Whitford

Communities Manager

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.

Nor Greenhalgh

Community Coordinator

Raymond comes from a performing arts background and has trained internationally in contemporary dance, musical theatre and street dance. His background in the performing arts world led him to build his own dance school before pursuing an interest in the start-up and social impact world. He is excited to be joining the Makespace Oxford family to help to empower different communities and share the amazing stories of our Makespace residents.

Raymond Pelekamoyo

Communications and Marketing Manager

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.

Ruth Cadiot

Operations Director

Sarah joined the Makespace Oxford team in 2022, working with the residents to support their projects, build community and help Makespace Oxford buildings thrive. She has worked in community development in Oxford for the last 10 years, establishing community led social enterprises focused on education, community markets and sustainable economics. She brings a passion and enthusiasm for innovative and participatory ways of working.

Sarah Thorne

Community Coordinator

Our Board

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.

Ashufta Alam

Board Member

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.

Bart Ashton

Board Director & Treasurer

 

Nigel is a researcher and a co-founder of Oxford Community Action, a Multi-Ethnic community-based network which is part of the Owned by Oxford Initiative.

Nigel has many years experience working in the areas of community development, equalities, public engagement, homelessness, and mental health within the NHS, 3rd Sector and Local Authorities.

 

Nigel Carter

Board Member

Paul is the Chief Executive Officer of the charity and social enterprise Aspire Oxfordshire and a Director of its trading company, Aspire Enterprise Services.

Alongside his role as a Director of Makespace Oxford, he is also a co-founder of the Oxfordshire Homeless Movement, a co-founder of Flo’s and a Director of the Oxfordshire Social Entrepreneurship Partnership. Prior to joining Aspire, Paul was a British Diplomat and previously volunteered at Asylum Welcome in Oxford and as a Generalist Adviser for Citizens Advice. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy.

Paul Roberts

Board Director

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 Sabali Pots, 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.

Selin Nugent

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

Board Director

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