ABOUT US

Making space for sustainability, creativity and community in the UK’s least affordable city

We revive, repurpose and transform empty and underused spaces in Oxford to create affordable workspaces that nurture connection and support between social enterprises, creatives, makers and doers committed to positive change.

Our Story

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.

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 Deliver 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

Claire joined Makespace in early 2020 with a huge wealth of experience in supporting independent businesses and social enterprises. As Makespace’s Operations Coordinator, 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 Le Master

Operations Coordinator

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.

Emily Jarrett

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.

Emma Gordon

Buildings Manager

Georgie works alongside members of the buildings and communities teams to manage the fit out of many of our buildings in order to offer welcoming and creative spaces. She also coordinates many aspects of the day to day running of our buildings. With a background in live event and festival production management and a sideline in managing meanwhile spaces, Georgie is looking forward to working with the rest of the Makespace community to reanimate buildings across the county.

Georgie Bradley

Facilities Coordinator

James works to ensure that the buildings we occupy are safe, secure and efficient and that all our occupiers have what they need to be productive and successful.
Prior to joining Makespace in 2021, James held various roles in site and facility management in Oxford City Centre. James is excited to be part of a team breathing life back into Oxfordshire’s high streets and supporting local communities, especially after such a challenging year, and looks forward to applying his skills and experience to support Makespace Oxford’s mission.

James Bullock

Facilities Coordinator

Jo manages our existing residents, internal communications and programme of community events and activities. Previously a creative producer and curator, with a focus on Arts & Heritage building transformation, she brings many years’ experience 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

Community Coordinator

As Strategic Director, Penny ensures our team has the clarity, resource and support we need to deliver on our mission and values – enabling residents and potential residents to thrive in affordable working space, whilst being progressive, co-operative, ethical and agile. Penny is also an executive coach and was previously Deputy Chief Executive at Oxfam GB. Penny combines operational and strategic leadership experience with organisational development skills and a life-long commitment to social justice.

Penny Lawrence

Strategic Director

The Makespace Community

Transition by Design

Founding Partner
Architecture and strategic design with a purpose

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Aspire Oxford

Founding Partner 
Providing services and creating opportunities for the long-term unemployed

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Broken Spoke

Founding Partner
Fixing bikes with the people that ride them

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The Community Action Groups Project

Founding Partner
Community-led action on climate change

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Solidarity Economy Association

A co-op delivering research & education for developing a just & democratic alternative to capitalism

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Good Food Oxford

A network working together for healthy, fair, sustainable and tasty food.

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Oxford Weaving Studio

Textile design studio handweaving interior textiles and offering weaving workshops

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Paint Buzz

Eco-friendly paint for walls and furniture.

Website

Lisa Made It

Local illustrator, designer and maker

Website

Zelga Miller

Arist whose work combines a narrative rich with questions of memory, movement and transition.

Website

Bespoke Alterations Oxford

General alterations, wedding dress services, suit tailoring & repairs.

Website

Sabali Pots

Community pottery studio open for members and classes

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Share Oxford, a Library of Things

A community library of useful things for borrowing and re-use.

Website

EOF Hackspace

Member-run community workshop for makers and repairers

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Young Women's Music Project

Educational charity making music with women aged 14-21

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In-Spire Sounds

Charity providing recording studio facilities, production, and industry advice.

Website

Just Interiors

Creating bespoke soft furnishings, curtains and blinds.

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Woven Ink

An independent animation studio working with socially conscious organisations.

Website

Doughnut Economics Action Lab

Turning Doughnut Economics from a radical idea into transformative action.

Website

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