What is Uncomfortable Oxford?

Collaboration | Discourse | Engagement


Uncomfortable Oxford was founded in 2018 by two students, with the aim of raising questions about the 'uncomfortable' legacies of inequality and imperialism in the city and the university.

We ultimately ask: How can we engage collectively with these histories in the public space?

Who do we want to engage with this project?

  1. Academics - At the University of Oxford but also beyond it - all universities in the city, and universities abroad

  2. Local Oxfordians - the people who live and work in this city, as well as the many schools here and around Oxfordshire

  3. Tourists - Oxford gets 9 million a year, we want them to learn more about the city and its uncomfortable history when they do

  4. Institutes - The many institutes around the city are great locations for public engagement and we can help enrich their programs and content through the project.

Meet The Directors

Paula Larsson

Founding Director

Paula is co-founder of Uncomfortable Oxford. She is a DPhil Candidate in the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford, UK. Her research focuses on the history of eugenics in Canada, with a particular focus on the intersections of ethnicity and policy in the past century.

Olivia Durand

Founding Director

Olivia Durand is Co-founder of Uncomfortable Oxford. She is a DPhil Candidate in the Centre for Global and Imperial History at the University of Oxford, UK. Her research focuses on the history of the port cities of New Orleans and Odessa in the nineteenth century, with a particular focus on their relationship with settlement and immigration.

Waqas Mirza

Executive Secretary & Communications Manager

Waqas Mirza advises the directors and is in charge of communications, outreach, marketing and public relations at Uncomfortable Oxford. He is a DPhil candidate in French and English Literature at the University of Oxford. His research focuses on the representation of the mind in the arts, bilingualism, poetry and Hip Hop.

Other Key Team Members

Mission Statement

Uncomfortable Oxford aims to find ways of engaging with the uncomfortable issues

in the city of Oxford, to promote awareness, dialogue, and public interest.

It values diversity, collaboration, and breaking down the institutional and academic barriers.

It’s ultimate goal is to change how the public engages with the city of Oxford

through awareness of its uncomfortable legacies in the built environment.

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