As part of inSite, the first major public art regenerative programme in East Oxford, The Outside Space was a participatory arts project that aimed to connect refugees and asylum seekers with the local community using the creative arts.
Professional artist Ann Rapstoff led a series of activities to bring groups together, including a video with the English Community School (ESOL), which celebrated their personal journeys and experiences of being in Oxford.
A welcoming courtyard sanctuary was created at the Asylum Welcome Building, including a herb garden and large mural. The project culminated with a temporary work, ‘WISH’, which took place at the Cowley Road Carnival in 2002. Two hundred colourful balloons were launched, bearing the hopes and wishes of carnival goers. One balloon made it all the way to the island of Terschilling, (off the Netherlands) which carried one young girl’s wish for world peace.
The project was one of five art commissions for the inSite public arts programme, which contributed to long term environmental improvement and regeneration of the area, and was part of the wider national Regeneration Initiative managed locally by East Oxford Action.