Makespace Oxford stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Makespace Oxford stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

We have taken time to reflect, take to the streets in solidarity, and consider how any collective statement might offer a meaningful declaration of our commitment towards the deep work and sustained action needed to carry us forwards.

Racial injustice has strong roots in the colonial system of the UK, indeed in our home city of Oxford. Cecil Rhodes still towers over our High Street, yet to fall. It is real, here, unacceptable and must be continuously challenged. 

Who owns and who has access to the city are fundamental questions in the pursuit of racial justice and core to our work at Makespace Oxford.

Right now Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic British men and women are dying of COVID-19 in disproportionately high numbers. We read with alarm that the findings of recent research conducted by the Ubele Initiative suggest “9 out of 10 BAME micro and small organisations are set to close if the [COVID-19] crisis continues beyond 3 months following the lockdown”.

In this moment – and in the long term – Makespace Oxford commits to:

  • Examine our institutional role in perpetuating structural racism and challenge ourselves to learn, do better and to act. This will include a sustained process of self and collective education, including reading, training and workshops which the team and board is undertaking and we will make available to our residents, centreing the issues of racial injustice and our relationship to white supremacy.

  • Listen and respond to Black voices in our community, specifically in relation to the need for safe and accessible spaces in which to work, create and organise. We are creating a dedicated action plan to centre these needs and Black voices more explicitly in our work.

  • We will speak out as an organisation against the edifying of the UK’s colonial past and in support of movements such as Rhodes Must Fall. We will stand in solidarity with Oxford’s wider Black community, against racial injustice and oppression, amplifying their voices. This will include supporting the team to take paid time off to attend anti-racist meetings, actions, workshops and trainings.

  • At a time when Black micro and small organisations are under threat, Makespace Oxford stands ready to support them through the offer of low-cost office, studio and community spaces that would otherwise lie empty. We are proactively building partnerships and collaborations with Black-led organisation and will double-down on these efforts. If you are a Black-run community group, social business, charity, artist or maker in need of space, we would love to hear from you.

  • Create a solidarity fund to make free space available for anti-racist organisations to conduct meetings, workshops, education programmes and organising activities within our buildings.

We will hold ourselves accountable to progressing these commitments through monthly reporting as a standing item at our board meetings. We invite our wider community to challenge us and hold us accountable in the pursuit of these commitments and in creating a more fair and just city.