[pictured: Carmel Britto, Mary Martins, Tatiana Oriana]
The BCC is made up of local residents with ambitions to create a bridge between individuals, community groups and organisations.
Thamesmead, with a population of 45,000 people, has the largest West African population in the UK. The BCC is keen to share products, services, advice and information about African and Caribbean culture, history and heritage. Its members also hope to positively influence the cultural and creative sector within the area through information sharing, education, entertainment and enterprise.
Peabody 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:
Made in Thamesmead
An animated documentary directed by Mary Martins; a documentary animator, researcher and artist filmmaker who has lived in Thamesmead since 2016.
Made in Thamesmead will combine live action footage with 2D animation to explore the history, migration and settlement of the Black African and Caribbean community in Thamesmead. Local residents will have an opportunity to participate in the creation of the animation through a series of workshops. Once complete, the documentary will be screened nationally in early 2023, before being stored in the Thamesmead Community Archive where it will be made available for the public to view.
Black History RE: Creative
A comprehensive programme for young people aged 3-18 which aims to educate those from all backgrounds about Black history. Created by Tatiana Oriana, Director of The R.O.M.E.L Foundation.
This series of workshops will present factual information on Black history not taught in schools, using various art forms including crafts, drama, dance, singing, music, photography, food, hair styling, creative writing and film. Tatiana hopes to enlighten young Black people who want to learn more about their ethnic lineage, as well as educate those from other ethnic backgrounds about Black history and people from the diaspora who live in their community.
The programme will run over a six-month period from October 2022 to March 2023 with sessions taking place at the Moorings Sociable Club.
LPF Kiddies Club: Access to art
Offers children aged 9-14 the opportunity to learn about, celebrate and explore African and Caribbean arts, culture and history. Developed by Carmel Britto, Education Director at LPF Kiddies Club.
Access to art aims to introduce children to African and Caribbean artists, art forms, histories and cultures. They’ll get to immerse themselves in a variety of learning experiences, as well as create their own art pieces, participate in performances, and go on day trips to visit exhibitions and places of interest outside of their local area. Local, Black-led community organisations, artists and youth workers will also form part of the co-production and delivery of this project. Summer holiday sessions ran throughout August and will be followed by a programme of events during October half term. These will run from Monday to Thursday, concluding with a Black History Month event on the 29 October at the Nest community centre.
The Black Culture Collective panel said: “We all want to see more activities that are created and delivered by Black people locally which is why we’re so pleased with the quality of projects we’re supporting this year. Not only will they offer fun events, activities and creative workshops, they’ll also incorporate learning and educational opportunities which we hope the community will benefit from. We need to leave the next generation of people of African and Caribbean heritage with a legacy of belonging in Thamesmead. These projects will help us reach that goal.”
Adriana Marques, Head of Thamesmead Cultural Strategy at Peabody, said: “This year’s Black Culture Collective commission is supporting yet another brilliant set of activities that celebrate and uplift Black culture in Thamesmead. We hope that they will help to give local people a better sense of their history and provide much-needed opportunities for people to celebrate their heritage. A huge congratulations to the women behind the three chosen projects! We look forward to the community being able to experience them later in the year.”
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.