Thamesmead, with a diverse population of 47,000 people, has the largest West African population in the UK.
Supported by Peabody, the BCC is made up of local residents with ambitions to create a bridge between individuals, community groups and organisations. Its members are keen to share products, services, advice and information about African and Caribbean culture, history and heritage. They also hope to positively influence the cultural and creative sector within the area through information sharing, education, entertainment and enterprise.
We supported local residents to launch the collective in 2020, recognising the critical role Thamesmead’s Black community has had in shaping the cultural, social and economic life of the town throughout its history.
The chosen projects for this year’s commission are:
Our Song, Our Story - Youth Artist Development
An immersive music production and artist development programme open to musicians, singers and rappers from Thamesmead aged 12-18 from African and Caribbean backgrounds. Delivered by Everyone’s A Singer CIC in collaboration with The Collective Makers.
This eight-week course gives successful applicants the opportunity to write original songs, record music, perform and create a music video. They’ll develop a wide range of skills related to music production and visual arts, songwriting and vocal technique. They’ll also develop their voice through vocal training sessions and perform in front of a live audience.
The programme will launch on 6 January 2024.
Black Excellence Pop-up Fest
A series of pop-up festivals which give emerging entrepreneurs and new Black businesses the opportunity to showcase their services and sell their products. Delivered by Hazel Chawapiwa of 2inspire Academy CIC, Tricia Blake of Diva Choice and Natalie Royer of NLPR Agency.
The Black Excellence Pop-up Fest will showcase businesses owned by Black creatives and entrepreneurs while celebrating their culture, food and music. It is designed to support emerging entrepreneurs and new black businesses by giving them a space to advertise their services and sell their products. Each event will feature an entertainment segment which will include performances from singers, poets and dancers.
The first event takes place at the Nest on Saturday 7 October from 12pm – 5pm.
DADS SPACE: BRED IN THAMESMEAD
A curated event offering support for dads and dads-to-be alongside wider activities for the local community. Delivered by the Javan Coker Foundation.
There will be 10 sessions of DAD’S SPACE held in Thamesmead. Dads and dads-to-be will get to share their experiences of fatherhood and get support from their peers, as well as professionals. Alongside this there will be entrepreneurial, educational and cultural activities scheduled throughout each event. These include arts and crafts, musical performances, a small business expo and health checks.
The first weekend expo takes place at the TJCF Centre in Abbey Wood from Saturday 30 September to Sunday 1 October.
Carmel Britto, chair of the Black Culture Collective, said: “This year we were proud to commission three projects which collectively embody exactly what the BCC stands for. Projects that will engage and excite the local community whilst celebrating African and Caribbean arts, heritage and culture. The projects will engage diverse audiences, create platforms for local Black entrepreneurs and support the portfolio development of up and coming artists and creatives. We’re excited for their delivery, and we’re looking forward to sharing them with our community.”
Adriana Marques, Head of Thamesmead Cultural Strategy at Peabody, said: “The Black Culture Collective commission has supported some fantastic projects since its inception, and this year is no different. Once again the panel has chosen a diverse set of initiatives which all have the Thamesmead community at their heart. Each is a celebration of Black culture that everybody gets to experience in one way or another. We’d like to say a massive thank you to the Black Culture Collective for their dedication to providing quality cultural experiences for Thamesmead’s African and Caribbean communities.”
The BCC forms part of Peabody’s wider cultural programme in Thamesmead, which aims to offer people things to do and places to go all year round. It is listed in the Thamesmead Culture Guide and Directory, which showcases the broad range of the creatives, activities and businesses in the area.