Our mission

The Old Fire Station is a centre for creativity in Oxford housing two organisations: the homelessness charity Crisis and Arts at the Old Fire Station (AOFS). We share our building. AOFS encourages people from all backgrounds to understand and shape the world in which we live through stories, creativity and the arts, and by connecting with others.


What we do

Produce and present across art forms

We want our reputation to be good quality art, in person and online, which is aimed at adults takes a risk, asks questions and entertains. We want our audiences to have fun and be open to new ideas and different people.

Help people to be creative

We want people to be able to write, sing, draw, devise, design, perform, move, make, imagine, play and create – physically and on line – individually or with others and to a high standard. Creativity includes artistic practice but also extends to technology and science and imaginative thinking. We want people to tell their own stories using the medium that works best for them.

Support artists

We want early to mid-career artists from all disciplines to have access to the advice, networks and promotion they need to develop their practice as creatives and as facilitators of other people’s creativity.

Include people facing tough times because of disadvantage

We share our building with the homelessness charity, Crisis. Through this partnership, we offer people who are homeless space to define themselves and choose their own labels by including them in the running of the centre. We also seek to include others who are socially isolated and disadvantaged. We do not focus on homelessness. We focus on what people who face disadvantage can offer.

Work with communities across Oxford

With Crisis, we offer a public space which is shared by very different people and helps to break down barriers and promote solidarity in Oxford. We will also work through partnerships beyond our building with different communities around Oxford.

What we consider in everything we do

Face the Climate Emergency

This means working with others to

· educate ourselves about the emergency,

· take practical steps to reduce carbon emissions,

· use our creativity to help our community face the challenges ahead.

Unlearn Discrimination

This means working with others to

· educate ourselves about racism and other forms of discrimination in cultural organisations (especially with regards to disability and class),

· take practical steps to become more representative of diverse communities,

· use our creativity to explore diverse culture and challenge ignorance or abuse.

Be human friendly

This means working with others to

· educate ourselves about healthy organisational culture and decision making

· take practical steps to develop honest supportive relationships within our team, with our volunteers, our partners and funders and with the public

· use our creativity to promote services founded on good quality relationships and learning.

It also means having fun!

Experiment and Listen

To make great art and to achieve change we have to experiment and play.

This means taking risks, being prepared to fail and being able to adapt and respond. It also means listening carefully to those with whom we work (especially to dissent), reflecting deeply on what we do and how we do it, and measuring impact primarily through storytelling.

Build financial resilience

This means ensuring that we are here for the long term by diversifying income streams, securing core and project funding, developing the business, minimising expenditure whilst delivering our mission and maintaining appropriate levels of reserves. It also means ensuring that those we work with are properly paid to help them become financially resilient.

How do we do it?

We do all this by focussing on: 

· good quality relationships

· listening and learning

· encouraging creativity and risk-taking

· offering a public space which is welcoming to all

· working collaboratively online, outside and elsewhere

Why is this needed?

Oxford is globally renowned for stunning heritage and outstanding research.

Oxford is also a place of disadvantage and inequality.

Oxford needs the Old Fire Station because it is about openness, inclusion, looking forward and different thinking.

The Old Fire Station acts as a bridge between sectors, organisations and people.

AOFS Theory of Change

We have developed a series of measures which help us describe whether and how we are achieving the impacts we are seeking.

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