South Abingdon Arts & Culture Project

A regenerative arts project designed to unlock the skills and knowledge of local residents and community groups; to empower and connect with their landscape.

The South Abingdon Arts and Culture project has been designed with the intention of up-skilling local artists and providing wider creative opportunities for all: Supporting artists with how they work, build and maintain a sustainable and resilient practice.

Working in partnership with the council and local landlords, this project enables and celebrates local artists, community groups and schools: Laying the foundation and structure to support local talent. Using training and mentoring to offer the local community a platform to engage, respond and connect to their local landscape.


  • 1

    Training artists

    Creating a training programme for local artists to develop their skills set and knowledge to deliver community workshops

  • 2

    Residencies and mentoring

    This will be an opportunity for trainee artists to work as a resident artist within the local primaries and children’s centre to develop ideas and works for the public artworks, supported by free access to studio space at Makespace’s Abingdon hub, The Charter.

  • 3

    Exhibitions and public artwork

    Through workshops facilitated by professional local artists and artist trainees to create bespoke site specific works in Abingdon with community groups; with a focus on celebrating the rich and diverse heritage and history of Abingdon.

Phase One

March - July 2023

A total of 235 people attended 12 events across the first phase of the Abingdon Arts and Culture Project; including 1 piece of public art, 3 training sessions 5 workshops and 7 local trainee artists.

View the full Phase One learning journey

Phase Two

September - December 2023

243 participants across 20 workshops, involving 14 artists, including 10 Abingdon based artists. This brings the total numbers up to 478 participants involved in the programme.

View the full Phase Two learning journey

Project Curators

Dionne Freeman

Lead Project Curator

Dionne has worked in community arts and education for 20 years, focusing on accessibility and using the arts to enable new approaches, attitudes and transformative learning across a range of educational settings, community groups and ages. A major component of her work is building on partnership, and bringing together cultural organisations and people through creativity and education. Dionne has frequently worked with the Abingdon community, including Abingdon Bridge, South Abingdon Children's Centre, The Net and Damascus on the South Abingdon Gainsborough Green project. To find out more about Dionne's extensive experience, please get in touch:

Sarah Thorne


Sarah 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, and is especially interested in social sculpture.

Hannah Pye


Hannah is a professional photographer and Communications Manager at Makespace Oxford. She holds a degree in graphic design and has spent several years working across the creative and non-profit sectors. Her photography is rooted in social and environmental storytelling; highlighting examples of community, conservation and regeneration that effect change for both people and planet.

This project has been made possible with thanks to the Vale of White Horse District Council’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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