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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 111 - Extracting and emphasising character

111 - Five Arts Cities In Oxford

A small highly graphic guide book to Oxford’s hidden gems, produced as part of a year’s multi-media event, identifies and pinpoints residents insights into the integral elements making up the character of their city for all to discover.

Consultation with local people revealed the particular places that were felt integral to the character of the Oxford they knew from the perspective of their day-to-day lives in the city. The places were divided into the following headings: ‘five places to stop and stare’, ‘five cafés with character’, ‘five places for quiet reflection’, ‘five ways to charm the children’, ‘five cultural interludes’, ‘five things we couldn’t live without’, ‘five first dates’ and ‘five good reasons to look upwards’.The brochure was dispatched free of charge and acted to introduce something of the real character and nature of Oxford life to visitors and residents alike, crystallising another reality of the city’s character and adding another layer to its identity.

Five Arts Cities, a joint venture between Arts Council England and Five TV to encourage participation and engagement with the arts, focussed its attention on Oxford through a year-long multi-media event. Oxford was the third city to be recipient of this focus of attention, with Liverpool and Newcastle/Gateshead addressed in former years. Over the year, Five TV broadcast a series of programmes on Oxford’s particular contribution to the arts scene and these were supported by various events such as exhibitions, artists talks and education. A website also provided details of events.

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UDC2 Section - Sowing the Seedg the Seed  

Five Arts Cities, helped to promote Oxford’s arts scene through the production of a guide book, exhibitions, education and a website – www.

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