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Local artists show that Thamesmead is London’s new creative quarter

More than 100 local artists headed to a sell-out event at The Nest at Cygnet Square in South Thamesmead to celebrate the launch of the Thamesmead Culture Guide & Directory on Saturday 26 February.

The brand new publication celebrates the neighbourhood’s proud and pioneering artistic community, and the neighbourhoods growing cultural prowess.

Published by Peabody – who is leading the long-term regeneration of the neighbourhood – the Thamesmead Culture Guide & Directory champions grassroots cultural activity and celebrates the town’s proud and pioneering creative community. It has been endorsed by two globally renowned artists who hail from the town: rapper, Enny, and artist and philosopher, Shantell Martin, who designed the cover art.  

The Thamesmead Guide & Directory is split into two parts. The Directory profiles 111 local creatives, groups, businesses, and events; while the guide captures the wealth of cultural activity in the  town over the past five years. The Guide also sets out what’s to come in 2022, and how local people can get involved.  

Download the Thamesmead Culture Guide. 

Ensuring that Thamesmead is a place with things for people to do all year round is at the heart of Peabody’s vision for Thamesmead to reach its potential as London’s new town. Peabody’s cultural team in Thamesmead  has worked with local creatives, groups, community leaders and partners to develop a diverse and energetic cultural programme for Thamesmead. Key achievements include: 

  • 78,000 people attending events and activities
  • Two new culture venues established
  • Four Thamesmead festivals run
  • 11 large-scale events run
  • 73 projects supported by the Thamesmead Community Fund 
  • 75 community broadcasts on the local radio station RTM.FM 
  • 1,500 pigeons with led lights flying above the Thames
  • Six resident decision-making groups formed
  • 162 local people featured as paid extras in film and TV shoots
  • 12 underpasses transformed with murals
  • 481 items added to the Thamesmead Community Archive 

Community involvement is key in shaping and delivering Thamesmead’s thriving cultural programme, and residents have organised groups that appeal to a variety of interests for people from all backgrounds. These include:  

  • The Abbey Arms Rock Pop Choir
  • CraftA, which runs sociable craft projects
  • Thamesmead Life Drawing, which hosts weekly sessions with live models
  • Dynamix street dance group led by professional choreographers.

Tatiana Oriana is the director of community organisation The R.O.M.E.L Foundation, which delivers arts and culture projects. She also hosts her on show on RTM.FM, and is a founding member of Thamesmead’s Black Culture Collective.  

“The Culture Guide & Directory is really important because it lets people know about the culture, landscape and textures of Thamesmead as well as the creativity and the talent. When I saw the finished product it blew me away, and I think it’s going to put Thamesmead on the map a lot more. Why not show off what we’ve got and let people know who we are?” 

Rima Patel is one half of Rima & McRae, an internationally renowned business which produces bespoke, handmade artwork and surfaces from its studio in Thamesmead. She believes her company reaps rich rewards from being part of the area's expanding and varied creative community. 

"In my experience, artists and creatives do not thrive alone; we benefit from generous exchanges in skills, resources and advice. We've been involved with some incredible projects in Thamesmead, most recently working with artist Dunya Kalantery and 120 local school children to create a permanent sculpture and poetry book for the new library. The breadth and diversity of this creative community is captured in the Thamesmead Culture Directory, and we are honoured to be part of it.” 

J D Swann is a bird expert and investigator whose art lies in the creation of walks and nature experiences. "Being in Thamesmead allows me to experience the joys of Southmere Lake, Crossness Nature Reserve, Lesnes Abbey Woods, The Tump 53 Nature Reserve and the Thames path. From the directory listings it looks like there’s a lot happening outside my bird hide. It’s great to see so much creative work hatching and taking flight.” 

Adriana Marques, Peabody’s Head of Cultural Strategy for Thamesmead, said: “Art and culture in Thamesmead is buzzing like never before, so it’s great to be able to showcase everything the area has to offer with the Culture Guide and Directory. It’s a real pleasure working in collaboration with so many talented and dedicated artists and community groups, who are part of a diverse and thriving cultural scene in this fantastic neighbourhood.  We hope that the Guide will inspire and excite our readers, and enable us to go from strength to strength. We have so much to offer and welcome everyone in the community to come along and get involved.”  

Upcoming calendar highlights for this year include the 2022 Thamesmead Festival, monthly Open City tours exploring Thamesmead’s film history, the development of Thamesmead’s Black Culture Collective and the return of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival with outdoor theatre performances set to take place in Thamesmead. 

To celebrate the launch of the Culture Guide and Directory, Peabody hosted a sold out event at the new NEST library in South Thamesmead on Saturday 26 February, where several artists from the directory performed live.   

The Thamesmead culture forum meets on the first Wednesday of every month. To get involved in any of Thamesmead’s cultural activities, email thamesmeadnow@peabody.org.uk

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