In 2020 a group of local residents started the Black Culture Collective (BCC), an informal group set up with ambitions to become a bridge between individuals, community groups and organisations who wish to share their products, services, advice and information about African and Caribbean culture, history and heritage relating to the wider community. The BCC hopes to increase active engagement, challenge and address issues of representation, and positively influence the cultural and creative sector within the local area through information sharing, education, entertainment and enterprise.
The BCC is collaborating with Peabody’s Culture Team in Thamesmead to deliver this new commissioning fund and increase representation within Thamesmead’s cultural programme, in order to improve the relevancy and accessibility of cultural activities to local residents from a diverse array of backgrounds.
BCC and Peabody invited ambitious and creative proposals to celebrate Thamesmead’s diverse cultures through an open call with a budget of £30k and we are proud to announce the five winning projects as selected by the BCC panel, largely made up of local residents.
Artist, Holly Graham is working with TACO! (Thamesmead Arts and Culture Office) and the Thamesmead Community Archive, to research anti-racist community-led action in Thamesmead in the early 1990s. This period saw a rise in racial tensions in the area but there is currently minimal documentation reflecting these rifts and the important community responses that counteracted them.
In 1991 a racist gang of young white men murdered a young Black boy, Rolan Adams. He was 15. This event took place within a climate of fear and tension provoked by the BNP. The murder received little media attention at the time. However there was a community-led response throughout this period that included a 1,500-strong, six-mile march to the BNP’s offices in Welling, Bexley.
With this project Holly hopes to address this gap in story-telling; speaking with local residents to collect information and material about how the racism and division within Thamesmead at the time was responded to by members of the local community. Through a series of interviews and the collection of materials, she hopes to document the anti-racist social action taken by local people and groups.
Caribbean Rhythms and Rhymes - 4 Circles by the R.O.M.E.L. Foundation
A series of four weekly events running throughout the month of October celebrating Black History Month 2021.
The R.O.M.E.L. Foundation is delivering a series of four exciting family friendly events throughout Black History Month. These immersive theatre experiences will celebrate and explore the rich and diverse culture and traditions of the Caribbean through storytelling, singing, dub poetry and music. There will be a small Caribbean market with food and artwork on sale at each event where visitors will be able to sample traditional foods just as you would if you were invited into a Caribbean person’s home.
It Takes a Town
A new film by Comfort Adeneye
It Takes a Town is a screenplay adaptation of the West African anecdote ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. Set in the thick of the 2009 recession and using the unique mix of concrete and tranquillity in Thamesmead, the audience follows Kwesi (14) and Mike (46) as their paths cross during an unlikely Sunday encounter. The story encapsulates community, cross-generational communication, labour and faith alongside the joys and wonders that may arise from each.
During a chance encounter in the neighbourhood, the two stages of Kwesi and Mike’s lives meet and the audience is transported through themes of extended family in African culture, the contribution of youth to the community, oral traditions, and wisdom of the ages.
The 10-minute film will be shot in Thamesmead and the majority of the cast and crew will be from the area.
LPF Kiddies Club Access to Art Project
The LPF Kiddies Club ‘Access to Art project’ offers children the fantastic opportunity to learn about, celebrate and explore African and Caribbean arts, culture and history by enabling participants to engage in a wide range of art-based workshops, events and day trips to galleries and museums.
Local children will work with professional Black artists during both the summer and October school holidays to explore the art and heritage of the wide range of African and Caribbean cultures represented by the residents of Thamesmead. Inspired by their day trip and research, the young people will create a range of art pieces and participate in a variety of visual and performing arts workshops.
The project will end in October with a Black History Month celebration open to the community as a whole, and will feature an array of Black-led performing artists, community participation activities and art-based workshops for children.
During Black History Month LPF Kiddies will host a Black History Month celebration for all of the community to showcase the children’s work, participatory activities and art-based workshops, and an amazing array of Black-led performances.
Black in Full Colour exhibition at Woolwich Works
The Collective Makers present: Black in Full Colour exhibition – An exploration and celebration of the untold stories of Black culture worldwide.
The Collective Makers have partnered up with Woolwich Works, Arthub and Clothes for Causes to present the work of some of the best emerging black visual artists in Thamesmead. The aim is to promote, inspire and mentor emerging artists from ethnically diverse backgrounds and to create opportunities with cultural organisations and institutions.
The exhibition will run from 30 September to 1 November and will take place at Woolwich Works, as part of the iconic venue’s opening series of events and Black History Month programme.
It is open to emerging artists, aged 16+, from any black background living in Thamesmead and the surrounding local areas. As part of the exhibition The Collective Makers will create a collaborative piece and an outdoor installation which will be donated to a community building once the exhibition is over.
Submissions are welcome from both individuals or collections. The deadline for submissions is 1 September.