Ark T is a small but vital life force in Cowley, I am wholly dedicated to the team and the community and want to see the centre grow into a sustainable hub for creativity and positive change, built on its unique reputation and incredible history.

Director of the Ark T Centre ~ Emmy O’Shaughnessy


Creativity changes lives


The Ark T Centre is an open and inclusive creative community, where People, Art, and Powerful ideas come together to develop and lead:

  • Imaginative and direct actions which respond to local problems
  • Life changing projects which raise aspirations, self-efficacy and relationship skills
  • Innovative Public Art which celebrates difference, strengthens communities and transforms perceptions


Our mission is to use the transformative powers of community and creativity to change lives

Our Creative programmes are playful, ambitious, thrive on imagination and risk-taking and place fun, laughter and positive relationships at the centre of the participant’s experience.
We believe it’s never too late to have a happy childhood.
Magical Learning Spaces are created to spark imagination and creative flow. We believe that a renewed love for learning through creativity can prompt deep changes in people.
Working with people who are going through tough times, experiencing prejudice, isolation, exclusion, and who may feel voiceless or invisible, we welcome and accept everybody, knowing that creativity is a skill that can build resilience, empathy and in time, fuel hope for a purposeful future.
We have a professional music studio, messy play outdoor space, café, dance and drama studio and art workshop space and are currently funded by Children In Need, Youth Music and the European Social Fund, delivering high quality therapeutic arts interventions.
Our team is highly consists of highly skilled practitioner who champion the potential of every individual and idea.


Our Projects

Our projects encourage people to live their lives courageously, test new ideas and explore different opportunities outside their comfort zone.

Our creative projects are ambitious, fun, and therapeutic.
We use the arts as a tool to destress, promote curiosity and develop problem solving skills.
Acknowledging progress and celebration achievement is key to building self-esteem. Through our projects, essential life skills are developed, vulnerabilities are transformed into strengths, supporting progress into education, training, volunteering and employment.

To the best of our ability we will use our resources and passion to support not only individuals but institutions such as local schools, care homes and statutory services.
We achieve out mission and aims through living our truths:

  • We improve mental health and emotional resilience
  • We nurture positive relationships and life skills
  • We are non-judgemental and never give up on anyone
  • We tackle stigma and challenge oppression and discrimination of minority groups at every level
  • We increase peace and respect within communities through building bridges of tolerance and celebration of differences
  • We strengthen families through shared creative opportunities to play, have fun and grow together
  • We champion the rights of every person to live safe, happy and purposeful lives

Our current projects include:

My Normal: Funded by Youth Music, this project aims to increase music making opportunities for LGBTQ and Disabled young people aged 12-25. This project is funded until January 2018.

Creativity Camps: Funded by Children In Need, this programme provides therapeutic and creative activities for children who are facing multiple disadvantages. A wide range of art forms are used to increase emotional wellbeing, self-esteem and confidence in learning. The project is funded until January 2018.

Our Voice is Our Power / Community Reporter Training: Funded by the European Social Fund and works with adults who have been long term unemployed to produce a large scale community newspaper. The community reporter training equips participants with literacy skills, communication skills and aims to build self-confidence and raise aspirations.

ROAR: Oxford’s only Youth Arts Disability Festival, and funded by The Big Lottery, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire Community Foundation, the festival brings together partner organisations to promote and celebrate the creativity of young people with disabilities.



Resources for the community

There’s a recording studio for young musicians, rehearsal space for theatre and dance, a performance and concert area and studios for a group of resident artists. Camerados Living Room is the new Café, at the heart of the Centre, provides space for people to meet each other and enjoy delicious home cooked food, or just relax with a cup of coffee.


Playspace @ Ark-T is a fun outdoor play area, open to all.

Studio space is given to a group of resident artists and in return for their studio space the artists help to develop the vision of the Centre, enabling others to explore the Arts and their own creative skills.


Opening times

These are the normal opening hours but times may sometimes vary depending on staff availability.

Monday  10:00 to 16:00

Tuesday  10:00 to 16:00

Wednesday  10:00 to 16:00

Thursday 10:00 to 16:00

Friday 10:00 to 16:00

Saturday  09:00 to 12:00 Camerados cafe only

Sunday Closed



Dr Andrew Gant – Chairman
Lisa Sparks – Treasurer
Rosalind Loten
Jackie Sheppard
Giles Davies
Beth Allison-Glenny
Sharon Evans



Key Policies





Privacy Notice – how we protect your personal data


Our Partners

We are proudly supported by: Oxford City Council, European Social Fund, Children In Need, Youth Music and Oxfordshire Community Foundation and a wide range of other organisations.

More information


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Volunteering at Ark-T Centre




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