The Customer

The Oxford Festival of the Arts organises a “festival fortnight”.Now in its eighth year, the festival fortnight offers hundreds of events across the city in a broad programme of performances, workshops and talks covering music, theatre, art, film and literature, all celebrating Oxford’s diverse community.

For the 2016 festival we were briefed to create an impactful outdoor structure to house a striking photographic exhibition called ‘Women Create Change’.

The photographs celebrate Oxfordshire’s pioneering women in a portrait series commissioned from documentary photographer Alison Baskerville. Taking its starting point from photographs of the contribution of women to the war effort 100 years ago and their changing social role, Baskerville’s images explore today’s female social change makers in all walks of life.

Colour Studios provided us with the ideal product in our search for a long-lasting display option that could be safely installed without bolting into the ground. As our budget and the photography commission developed they were able to offer a variety of solutions and quotes to match our needs.

Anais at Oxford Festival of the arts


For our first meeting we met Arts Festival Projects and Participation Manager Anais Higgins on-site to get an understanding of her ambitions for the project and the space available. We were able to show her our portfolio of previous projects. Once we had understood her ambitions we could all visualise what was required. We produced some creative design ideas and presented them using our 3D pre-build design software.

The photographic exhibition frames needed to be free standing, designed to fit the photography, reusable and needed to be sturdy and hardy enough to withstand the British elements for a 3 month exterior public art installation in Oxford city centre.

Finding the right solution

We built the display from natural hardwood and linked it together structurally to ensure stability. The hardwood had a coloured stain applied to create an attractive and weather protected finish. Each structure carried a double sided high quality print mounted to an aluminium panel. We also fitted weighted bases to every leg to provide the stability for use in an open city centre location. The whole structure can be re-used for future exhibitions and the printed images replaced by producing new images and slotting the new aluminium panels into the frames.

The individual frames are linked together to create a stable “Z” shape. The flexibility of the system allows other shapes to be created as well. Between events the frames can be separated to facilitate easy storage.

The final design was highly practical, looked stylish, showed off the photography beautifully and can be re-used many times at future Festival of Arts events.

This was a great project to work on. We were very happy with the final look of the exhibition presented in our wooden displays within the Oxford city centre environment.

Adam Carwardine - Managing Director of Colour Studios

Services Colour Studios provided

We provided the services for a complete project cycle to successfully deliver this solution. It started with meeting the client to define the requirements. We proposed our wooden display solution adapted to achieve the presentation and budget goals of the Festival. Then a site visit was carried out to assess the suitability of the installation site, floor surfaces and vehicular access. A 3D visual of the display and detailed quotation was presented.

Following agreement with all parties, including the festival organisers and Oxford City Council , an order for the project was confirmed. Colour Studios carried out the production to build the wooden display. We printed and produced the photographic images and mounted them to the aluminium inserts. The display was pre-built at our premises. Having completed the health and safety analysis, including stability calculations for wind conditions we booked the installation date. A successful installation was carried out by our team on Tuesday 31st May 2016. The final element is the planned removal after the festival on 31st August 2016.