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Forgotten Stories Of Oxford  

02 Jan 24 | People

Oxford is a place of history and academic prominence. It attracts visitors from all over the world with its famous dreaming spires, and connections with iconic fiction and ground-breaking research. This footing on the international stage means that the voices of the residents often get drowned out amidst the bustling footsteps of tourists and students. Many local people feel that “Town” is not a place for them and report feeling like outsiders in their own city.  

One symptom of that you may have noticed if you’ve ever been into Oxford city centre, is the amount of walking tours on offer. There are tours of the Colleges, tours of the University guided by Alumni, Alice in Wonderland tours, Harry Potter tours, Inspector Morse tours, anything a TOURist could want… is there a tour for the people who call this historic city home? What is there in Town for the people who work to keep the city’s retail, tourist and academic economies moving?  

Armed with these questions, and motivated by his own experiences of working and hanging out in the city centre throughout his life, multimedia artist Rawz, has created Forgotten Stories Of Oxford; a new collection of Spoken Word poetry which also forms a unique tour of Oxford city centre. Drawing inspiration from 11 carefully chosen locations, this project portrays stories connected to the lives of people who have walked Oxford’s historic streets, often taking the audience off the well beaten tourist trail, and offering a perspective overlooked in conventional tours. Through this work Rawz encourages individuals to discover an alternative perspective of the city, unveiling a dimension often concealed beneath the refined image Oxford has projected to the world for centuries.  

Forgotten Stories of Oxford is not only for lifelong Oxford residents, it is for anyone intrigued by the prospect of uncovering a different dimension of this world renowned city. By extending this invitation, Rawz aims to rekindle a sense of connection and belonging among Oxford’s diverse population and promote a new view of the city, highlighting that Oxford is more than a University, it is a city with a rich tradition of rebels, change makers, and hardworking people; unsung heroes from all walks of life. 

The project was revealed in September 2023 with a month-long public exhibition at The Old Fire Station in Oxford city centre featuring a collection of objects, images, and videos linked to the narratives. While the exhibition has now drawn to a close, the “Forgotten Stories of Oxford” remain and audience members can embark on this journey at their own pace, stepping into Oxford’s rich history in variety of ways: 

Rawz offers Bespoke In-Person Tours, providing a tailored experience for participants. These tours are available in durations of 1 hour, 1.5 hours, or 2 hours and offer a personalised journey through locations chosen by the participants themselves. During these tours, Rawz performs the connected poetry, shares insights into the stories that inspired the pieces, and engages with questions from the audience. Reach out to Rawz via social media to arrange a tour guided by the poet himself. 

For a self-guided experience, there are several options; visit The Old Fire Station and pick up a free limited edition printed map (while stocks last). “The Hidden Spire” is one of the locations on the tour and provides the perfect starting point for self-guided travellers. For a more flexible exploration, a free PDF map is accessible online, allowing the audience to visit the locations in any order at their own convenience.  

Online platforms such as Google Earth and Story Maps also host the tour, enabling virtual participants to immerse themselves in the hidden narratives of Oxford from anywhere in the world.  

Participants anywhere can also access recordings of Rawz performing the poems online, these can augment physical tours or form a key part of your online experience. Some of the poems are accompanied by beautiful short films recorded in the associated locations, enhancing the power of Rawz’ words with stunning visuals. 

To experience this extraordinary exploration, interested individuals can access all necessary information, including maps and online links, at Forgotten Stories Of Oxford’s official Link Tree:
https://linktr.ee/forgottenstoriesoxford.  

Embrace the opportunity to uncover through these eloquent Spoken Word narratives the heart-warming, inspiring, moving and often overlooked tales that make Oxford the vibrant tapestry of stories and people it truly is.

ABOUT RAWZ 

Rawz is a Multidisciplinary Artist from Oxford. His practice centres around words and music and is rooted in social justice and the exploration and understanding of our interconnected worlds. Rawz’ story is one of extreme contrast and determination against the odds, themes that he often explores in all aspects of his work. From leaving school with no GCSEs, to becoming Resident Sound Artist at St John’s College Oxford, one of the world’s most prestigious learning institutions, Rawz’ journey stands as testament to his resilient character, and strong work ethic.  

Starting out as an MC and Poet and growing up in one of the UK’s most under-served areas, Greater Leys in Oxford, he first discovered lyric writing in his early teens, finding it an essential way to channel his emotions and organise his thoughts. Since then, Rawz has performed his craft all over Europe, collaborated with musicians from all over the world, and shared stages with some of his childhood heroes.  

As his practice as a Poet and Musician developed, Rawz began to explore other means of expression; experimenting with a range of mediums including collage, sculpture, videography, photography and more, bringing these skills together with his poetry and music to create projects which combine a range of media.  

Through Art, Rawz shares his exploration of interconnection and interdependence. His responses often promote outer change and advancement through inner reflection, and positive action. 

To connect with Rawz on social media use the following links, he would love to hear about your experiences of the tour and what stories you uncovered! 

Facebook:www.facebook.com/realrawz  
Instagram:www.instagram.com/rawz_official  
Twitter:www.twitter.com/realrawz ≠≠

02 Jan 24

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