Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, ‘I, Cowley’ was a creative heritage project run by Fusion Arts in partnership with the Ark T Centre, Oxfordshire History Services and the Museum of Oxford. Over 2010 and 2011, we produced a contemporary archive of images and stories about the Cowley area of Oxford over the past 100 years with contributions from members of the local community.
Culminating in a rich assortment of participatory arts activities, highlights from the project include setting up artist residencies at the Templars Square Shopping Centre, and Our Lady’s and Church Cowley Primary schools, as well as the creation of Oral History accounts on film and through audio recordings. These accounts comprised a collection of over 60 photographic portraits of Cowley residents with an object that holds special meaning, and were later previewed in a large outdoor projection screening onto the side of the Hockmore Tower Flats. The screening featured both the old and newly-created archives of photographs of the people and space of Cowley, to celebrate the history and spirit of the community.
For future engagement with the area and its heritage, the project ‘I, Cowley’ was documented and developed on DVD to be used as a resource and interactive stimulus, and is available across city libraries, including Westgate, Temple Cowley and Blackbird Leys, and the Oxfordshire History Centre. The DVD features 10 oral histories, vox-pops, and photographic portraits of Cowley residents.