About

History Walked Differently

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Our Story

Uncomfortable Oxford was founded in 2018 by doctoral history students, with the aim of raising questions about the ‘uncomfortable’ legacies of inequality and imperialism in the city and university. It is a certified Social Enterprise, meaning all profits generated by its activities are reinvested in the local community and in activities that uphold its social mission.

MISSION STATEMENT

Our mission is to collaboratively challenge Britain’s role in creating the uncomfortable histories and legacies of privilege, power, inequalities, imperialism, and discrimination around the world. We provide opportunities for research-informed public dialogue that question established narratives and break down institutional barriers in order to advocate for justice and accountability. 

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WHY CHOOSE AN UNCOMFORTABLE TOUR?

Choosing an Uncomfortable Oxford Tour offers a unique and thought-provoking experience that challenges your perspective, promotes empathy, and fosters a deeper understanding of important social issues. While traditional tours often focus on the highlights and beauty of the city, our uncomfortable tours aim to shed light on the lesser-known aspects of its history, bringing attention to uncomfortable truths, social injustices, or historical events that are often overlooked or forgotten.

Our Goals

Awareness and Education

Our tours provide an opportunity to confront the uncomfortable chapters of history and connect them to current societal issues. By immersing yourself in the uncomfortable aspects of a place, you will gain a deeper understanding of its complexities, challenges, and the experiences of marginalised communities. These tours aim to educate participants, fostering empathy, compassion, and a commitment to social change.

Breaking Stereotypes and Biases

Our tours challenge preconceived notions and stereotypes by offering a more nuanced and balanced perspective on people in the past and present. They encourage participants to question their assumptions, confront biases, and consider alternative viewpoints. By exploring uncomfortable truths, these tours promote critical thinking and help combat ignorance and prejudice.

Empowering Marginalised Voices

Our tours centre on the stories and experiences of marginalised communities, giving them a platform to be heard and understood. These stories aim to amplify voices that have been historically silenced and excluded from mainstream narratives. By engaging with these perspectives, participants can gain a greater appreciation for diverse experiences and contribute to a more inclusive society.

Spurring Dialogue and Action

Our tours are designed to spark meaningful conversations and inspire action. We ask questions that encourage discussions about social justice, inequality, and human rights. These moments provide an opportunity to reflect on the past, confront present-day challenges, and consider the ways in which individuals can contribute to positive change.

Personal Growth and Empathy

Our tours encourage participants to step outside their comfort zones, confront difficult emotions, and develop a deeper sense of empathy and understanding. By immersing yourself in uncomfortable narratives, you have an opportunity to broaden your worldview and become a more compassionate and empathetic global citizen.

For those seeking a transformative and eye-opening experience, an Uncomfortable Oxford tour can provide a unique perspective on a destination and contribute to personal and societal growth.

Meet THE TEAM

Administration

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Paula Larsson

Operational Director

Paula is Operational Director at Uncomfortable Oxford. Her academic research focuses on the history of vaccination and anti-vaccination movements in Canada.

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Olivia Durand

Research & Development Director

Olivia is Research & Development Director at Uncomfortable Oxford. Her academic work focuses on the comparative study of modern empires, especially the history of Russian imperialism and settler colonialism in Ukraine.

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Waqas Mirza

Communications Director

Waqas is Communications Director at Uncomfortable Oxford. His research at the University of Oxford focuses on Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, and Hip Hop Studies.

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Marilena Netty

Operations Coordinator

As Operations Coordinator, Marilena focuses on building relationships with across the different cities and supporting the Guiding Team. She holds degrees in French & History and the History of Art.

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Kati Lacey

Illustrator and Designer

Kati is a local Oxford illustrator and designer specialising in history-related and cultural projects. She creates illustrated maps and posters, editorial illustrations and book covers.

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Louis Morris

Blog Editor

Louis is the Blog Manager and a Senior Guide at Uncomfortable Oxford. He completed his DPhil at Pembroke College, Oxford, researching foreign identities among soldiers in the Early Modern Holy Roman Empire.

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Matt Hassel

Bookings Manager

Matt Hassall is the Bookings & Marketing Manager at Uncomfortable Oxford. He recently completed a PhD in History at the University of Cambridge, and now holds a post at the University of Liverpool, writing a radical history of wealth redistribution in the late Roman world.

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Paul Stephens

Finance Manager

Paul Stephens is the Finance Manager and a DPhil candidate in English Literature at the University of Oxford. His research explores the poetry and prose of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) through the disciplinary lens of economic philosophy.

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Devika

Community Engagement Manager

Devika’s current work is with the Bodleian libraries, focusing on equity, history and collection practices. She holds a masters from the University of Edinburgh and an MPhil from Oxford School of Global and Area Studies.

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Hera-Jay Brown

Equity & Policy Manager

Hera Jay is the Equity & Policy Manager at Uncomfortable Oxford. She recently graduated from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar with an M.Phil. in Development Studies. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Sanctuarium, a US-based non-profit supporting asylum seekers.

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Daniel

Researcher

Dan is a research volunteer for Uncomfortable Oxford. He is the creator of the Set in Stone Project and has recently authored a book on the history of the British-Malayan Headhunting Scandal.

Our Guides

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Amita

Ami is a DPhil researcher at the University of Oxford, working on liberalism and empire in Britain in the twentieth century.

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Devika

Devika has held multiple roles in the field of equity, diversity and inclusivity in Higher Education. Her current research with the Bodleian libraries focuses on equity, history and collection practices. She holds a masters from the University of Edinburgh and an MPhil from Oxford School of Global and Area Studies.

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Louis

Louis is the Blog Manager and a Senior Guide at Uncomfortable Oxford. He completed his DPhil at Pembroke College, Oxford, researching foreign identities among soldiers in the Early Modern Holy Roman Empire.

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Milan

Milan has recently graduated from an MPhil in History (Modern European History 1850-present) at the University of Oxford. His master’s research focused on Serbia in the First World War, analysing endurance and morale among the troops.

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Claire

Claire is currently reading for her DPhil at the University of Oxford, examining the decolonial potential of community-university engagement at South African higher education institutions.

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Jonathan

Jonathan is a Lecturer and Director of Studies in Classics and the History of Art, at SCIO: Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford. He holds a DPhil in classics from Oxford, and his research interests currently centre on pagan religious cults in Roman Palestine.

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Charlotte

Charlotte Hand is a doctoral candidate in nineteenth-century American literature. Her research focuses on sentimentalism in the context of regional and temporal politics.

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Georgia

Georgia (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in Education at the University of Oxford researching activist movements by women of colour students at Oxford.

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Anja

Anja is a Senior Guide, Guide Evaluator and member of the R&D team at Uncomfortable Oxford. She is currently studying history at the University of Oxford, focusing on cultural history of socialist East Germany.

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Julie

Julie is a Senior Guide at Uncomfortable Oxford. She is currently doing her Dphil at the University of Oxford focusing on the personal histories of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.

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Scott

Scott is a Tour Guide at Uncomfortable Oxford. He has recently finished his Dphil in History at the University of Oxford, specialising in the study of inter-religious diplomacy during the Crusades.

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Lorika

Lorika is a Tour Guide at Uncomfortable Oxford. She is currently doing her Dphil in Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, specialising in experimental medicine approaches for anxiety treatment and brain imaging.

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Jose

Josefina is an MPhil student in Development Studies. Her current research focuses on how popular referenda affect the links between extractivism, women and development in rural Ecuador.

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Kelsey

Kelsey is an MSc student in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance. Her research focuses on spatial politics in relation to nomadic cultures and lifestyles, and she is also interested in the need for, and power of, spaces of discomfort in processes of decolonisation. 

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Oliver

Oliver is a student at Brasenose College, reading for a BA in History. He is also currently a Research Assistant on the Quill Project at Pembroke College, a digital humanities project which is archiving and mapping the Northern Irish Peace Process.