Who gets to write history? At our museum, it is the people of Oxford who get to shape which stories are told and how they are presented. Our voices, individual and collective, are key to telling the story of Oxford and its people.

We are a museum about the people of Oxford, led by the people of Oxford.

Building on over 10 years of experience in community heritage projects, we want to tell community stories in a way which is relevant, fosters a sense of pride and belonging, and boosts our collective wellbeing.

In this work, we are guided by the following set of principles:

  • Our aim is to showcase local social history, in its broadest sense. We show how people of Oxford used to live in the past, draw links to how we live now, and provide inspiration for thinking about how we may live in the future.
  • We serve and represent a wide range of communities. We create space for plural perspectives and multiple, intersecting identities.
  • We build on the strength of our existing collections and connections; and we fill existing gaps in our collections and build new connections.

What do we mean by ‘community’?

When we say ‘community’, we mean a group of people united by a characteristic or interest they have in common. We work with Oxford-based communities of place, communities of interest, cultural communities, and other groups which share a characteristic which is important to them and their sense of identity. We place particular importance on our work with communities protected under the Equalities act, and others whose voices have been marginalised in mainstream historical narratives and in our collections.

We believe these histories should be recorded, preserved and celebrated, and that is the guiding principle of all of our community heritage work.

This work supports the Oxford City Council’s strategic aims and priorities, particularly the Thriving Communities Strategy.

Watch the video above to see some examples of our community partnership work.

Or you can click here to see some highlights of previous projects.

So how does it work? See the infographic and animation below to understand how community partners (groups or individuals) can work with us on local heritage projects.

An infographic describing the process of submitting applications for community collaborations with MOX

In short, If you have an idea for working with us on a community heritage exhibition, get in touch! If you have a well developed idea for a community exhibition, you can fill out the form below. If you need support developing your idea, please get in touch via email at museum@oxford.gov.uk.

MOX Community Partnership application form

What we offer

The Museum can offer the following support to community partners:

  • Preparing a project plan including a timeline, required resources and budgets
  • Writing joint funding bids (all of our projects are externally funded) or providing bid writing support to your group
  • Curatorial support
  • Museum skills support (recording oral histories, archiving skills, object collecting and cataloguing skills, community engagement)
  • Venue hire for events at special community rates
  • Project management support throughout

Confirmed community engagement and exhibitions plan 2024-26:

July-September 2024: Celebrating St Giles Fair 400th anniversary

October-December 2024: Community Centres: Florence Park and Cutteslowe

January-March 2025: The Two Ronnies

April-December 2025: MOX 50th Birthday: embedding community voices

Jan-Mar 2026: no plans yet!

April-September 2026: Oxford’s music heritage

We welcome both proposals which align with these themes and ones which address other areas of Oxford’s heritage.

Our values

In our community work, we strive to be:

  • Collaborative and equitable – we share decision making power and resources equitably, creating space for exchanging expertise and providing opportunities for learning and employment for local people of all backgrounds. We value our community partners’ work and are careful to provide both volunteering and paid opportunities which do not contribute to creating barriers to participation.
  • Accessible and inclusive – We value our differences. We do not tolerate any displays of homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, racism, xenophobia, islamophobia, antisemitism, or any other form of prejudice or discrimination against others.
  • Transparent and trustworthy – We are open about our decision making processes. We always consider their wider impact on our communities and our environment, and actively work towards ensuring this impact is positive and never harmful. We seek out examples of best practice to base our work on.
  • Nurturing and supportive – Within our museum community – staff, volunteers, partners and visitors – we are respectful of our personal needs and prioritise our wellbeing which is the essential foundation for doing great work.
  • Anti-racist – We actively work towards dismantling the legacies of racism and colonialism through continually educating ourselves; ensuring our educational, curatorial and engagement activities acknowledge those legacies; and creating space and opportunities for the histories of communities of colour to be highlighted and celebrated as part of Oxford’s history in ways which are meaningful and lasting.

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