The Brixton Exchange 2 was a day of workshops and exchanges, using creative approaches to discuss Brixton’s community heritage – what it is, how do we hold on to it, and what can we learn from others. The aim was to explore what's happening in Brixton in the context of current changes in London and across the world.
This event followed on from Anchor & Magnet's first Brixton Exchange in 2013, which brought together over 100 local residents, community activists, artists, academics and others to discuss questions of urban regeneration and community ownership in Brixton and elsewhere.
The past 3 years have seen incredibly rapid change in Brixton and the beginning of major initiatives which will bring further changes. Community activism has also been on the rise. As a 5-year council heritage project begins, we want to ask: what (and who) is being lost, what to hold on to and how, what is the experience of other community/activist groups past and present, and how these stories should be represented and shared more widely? How does heritage become the inheritance of future generations and how can it serve present and future communities?
Taking heritage as the starting point, The day set out to explore different kinds of memory and memorializing; sharing of stories, the meeting of ‘old’ and ‘new’ Brixton; contested notions of heritage starting from the context of central Brixton; the commodification of ideas of heritage’ as a tool to brand Brixton, while parts of the community are edged out; the politics of preservation and impermanence, objects and the idea of the community museum.
Speakers and facilitators included artists, historians, architects, activists and academics, who created spaces for dialogue. Workshops and exchanges included mapping contested spaces in Brixton, decolonising heritage, using objects to tell and record personal memories, a food treasure hunt & cooking, and more.
All photos by Katarzyna Perlak.
Speakers & Facilitators:
Michael McMillan, Artist & Curator, creator of The West Indian Front Room project http://www.thefrontroom.org.uk
Nabeel Hamdi, Emeritus Professor of Housing and Urban Development, Oxford Brookes University
Barby Asante, artist, on thinking about internal colonialism and the possibility of decolonising heritage
Ashvin de Vos and Daniel Fitzpatrick, Variant Office architects, on mapping tales of contested spaces
Fan Sissoko, designer and cook, on what Brixton tastes like and how its changing https://whatfanlearns.wordpress.com
Katy Beinart, artist, making traces of objects for the Brixton Museum http://www.katybeinart.co.uk
Gianmaria Givanni, architect, on social housing and community memory
This event was funded by Arts Council England