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Working alongside other members of the Oxford Windrush Group, Fusion Arts helped support the delivery of the Oxford Windrush Festival (19th - 24th June) around Windrush Day 2021 on the 22nd June. The festival took the form of a week of exciting events including theatrical performances, talks, workshops, and exhibitions that were all about celebrating Oxford's Windrush community, recognising their contribution and paying respects to their hardships.
For Oxford Windrush Festival 2021 the events were developed around the theme of belonging, a feeling that has been particularly destabilised amongst Britain's Afrikan Caribbean communities in the wake of the 2019 Windrush Scandal.
The festival week kicked off with a family-friendly discovery day within an empty shop unit in Templars Square Shopping Centre in Cowley. The event involved craft and dance workshops, storytelling, African studies classes, African music performances, a variety of exhibitions and much more. In collaboration with the Gardens, Museums and Libraries of the University of Oxford (GLAM) and Oxford Brookes University, participants were able to discover and engage with interesting objects and specimens from their collections.
An impactful and meaningful multi-media live performance at the Sheldonian Theatre. The show was put together by Euton Daley and the Unlock the Chains collective based at the Old Fire Station in Oxford,
Still Breathing voices collectively felt fears, frustrations, fatigue, and anger at yet another black life being taken by a system that is meant to be there to protect. Through a fusion of dance, music, song and spoken word, this performance explored a sense of hopelessness, deja vu, resilience and a renewed spirit of hope in the struggles for equality, justice and freedom.
This project is supported by Oxford Playhouse, The North Wall Arts Centre, Dancin’ Oxford and TORCH. Read more: Still Breathing's press release.
Belonging is an innovative combined arts project that explores people, place, and identity. During OffBeat Festival 2021, it collected people’s stories and thoughts around the theme of 'belonging' – what does it mean to belong? How do we know when we belong? These ideas were then used to produce art that was collated into a tapestry and writing. This art will be used as inspiration for a new piece of performance and both works are to be further developed in 2022!
At Templars Square in Cowley is a pop-up exhibition with a difference! In 2018, ACKHI and BK.LUWO created a reconstruction of a typical West Indian front living room from the 1960s at the Museum of Oxford to mark the 70th anniversary of the docking of the SS Empire Windrush. This exhibition has proved extremely popular and is now in its third year of running, having moved locations to our temporary space at 58 Between Towns Road, Cowley! After reopening its doors following lockdown, the living room was open throughout the festival week. People could drop in to in to learn about the experiences of the Oxford Windrush Generation, find out what people wore on their journey to England and explore a 1960s Afrikan Caribbean living room.
You can browse images from Oxford Windrush Festival 2021 below, or keep up in the loop about 2022 festival developments here.
Fusion Arts work with artists, groups and communities from across Oxfordshire and beyond to support a variety of imaginative and socially engaged projects.
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