On the 12th of October, Oxford House held a special opening exhibition called fans for diversity, with free entry and free drinks and snacks provided it was no surprise then that Oxford House was as busy as I had ever seen it. The exhibition started at 6.00pm and finished at 9.00pm and the event was fully packed from very early on in the evening. With little room to move, various different conversations could be heard overlapping each other in a room and venue that seemed a perfect fit for an event such as this and helped add to the ambience of the evening.
The exhibition was put on by Kick It Out who are a campaigning organisation that work with professional footballers, football clubs and communities to tackle discrimination in every shape and form. At the heart of Kick It Out’s campaign is diversity, transparency and inclusiveness, not just in football but in the community too and this marries perfectly with the ethos here at Oxford House making it feel like an even more special, and even more natural exhibition.
The exhibition itself consisted of a series of photographs that had been expertly shot by Liam Aylott of fans during Euro 2016 football tournament. The photographs depicted fans of all nationalities, ages and genders showing varying emotions but all portraying the same intense passion whilst watching their teams. The photos were hung side by side on the wall of the gallery in Oxford House and this was an excellent way to display the pictures as it meant people attending the event got a chance to look at every single photo on their way down to the hall where the drinks and snacks were. In fact, there were so many brilliant photos that had been shot by Liam, the gallery space was not enough and a few more pictures were hung up on the walls of the hall.
The night has a huge success, with approximately 100 to 150 people wondering around the gallery and the hall perhaps even more at times. All the guests were fascinated by the photos, looking at each one in meticulous detail. Overall, it was a great night for Kick It Out, for Liam Aylott, for Oxford House and for all those who attended in general.
-By Thufayel Ahmed