A DJ project delivered in partnership with East Oxford Hub. We ran a short DJing project with young people at Barton Youth and Community centre.


During the summer of 2014 Oxford Contemporary Music ran a series of music workshops at East Oxford Early Intervention Hub in partnership with the Parasol Project.

During this time we made contact with Community Hub Support Worker James Ottley who asked if we could run some music projects for young people he worked with at the Early Intervention Hub. We said yes and brought in artist Danny Wheeler from our pool of Music Leader’s to work on a DJ project called Scratch, and that’s how our partnership was born.


We began this project with a taster session to discover if the young people in Barton had an appetite for DJ workshops. After a bit of a slow start the boys warmed to the session and got involved and the taster session was a success.

We returned a fortnight later to begin a 5 week project but this time the girls completely rushed the set and got more involved in the project than the boys did.

Danny was able to take the young people through the world of Djing basing each session around topics such as, mixing, scratching, cutting and adding effects while using the decks.

The Story

The project aimed to develop the young people to a level where they could DJ at the Barton Winter Wonderland Festival in December. Unfortunately for reasons beyond our control we had to end the project early due to staff  shortages with our project partners.

However the level of commitment the young people had shown during the sessions has highlighted to us and our project partners that there is a need for projects like this to happen for young people in Oxford.

Impact on Participants

The activity I took part in was Scratch DJ Project.

What I did was mix music and go in time with another track.

The activity wasn’t what I expected as it was quite easy.

The part I enjoyed most was mixing because the music sounded really good and also because I love singing music is my passion.

Please see further quotes

Lessons learnt and next steps.

Lessons learnt

This project has given us a great insight into running projects outside of a school setting.

Without the partnership of The Early Intervention Hub and James Ottley it would have been extremely difficult for us to retain the attendance of the young people involved in the project.

Over time we noticed attendance numbers did decrease but what that meant was it left us with the participants that were most dedicated to the project. 

We identified that the majority of young people that attend youth club do so as a leisure activity and not to do a course. They do the formal stuff at school and college and this is a place to unwind, therefore we had to adopt an informal approach to delivering our sessions.

Going forward projects in these settings should be delivered as follows:

  • During the holiday period where youth centres are open on a daily basis, this will allow the project to be more concentrated and delivered over a shorter space of time.
  • Projects should include a chance for the young people to work in a professional space i.e include trips to studios to raise aspirations as part of the project.
  • Include a contingency plan to implement in case of any changes with partnership organisations. 
  • An informal and participant led approach to project delivery.

Next Steps

OCM will now make a funding application for the Positive Future Holiday Activity Grant to Oxford  City to further extend this work.

If successful the funding bid will allow us to continue our new partnership with The Early Intervention Hub and  deliver a programme of music projects during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2015.

Using the learning from our taster session, pilot project and this project log, we will create a new model of working for our workshops and working with our project partners.

Please feel free to download the case study for this project below and share it with your colleagues.