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Brixton Exchange 2: Biographies




Nick Beech is Lecturer in the History of London at the School of History, Queen Mary University of London. His research interests include the history of urban and architectural debates in the ‘New Left’ of the 1950s and 1960s. He worked for Stuart Hall from 2011–2014.


Michael McMillan is a London based writer, playwright, artist/curator and scholar of Vincentian migrant heritage. His work includes: The West Indian Front Room (2005-06), Recent work includes: No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960-1990 (2015-16), Doing Nothing is Not an Option (2015), Rockers, Soulheads & Lovers: Sound Systems Back in Da Day (2015-16). He has an Arts Doctorate from Middlesex University 2010, and is currently an Assoc. Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the London College of Fashion, UAL. 


Nabeel Hamdi ( qualified as an architect at the Architectural Association in London in 1968. He worked for the Greater London Council between 1969 and 1978, where his award-winning housing projects established his reputation in participatory design and planning. From 1981-1990 he was Associate Professor of Housing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was later awarded a Ford International Career Development Professorship. In 1997 Nabeel won the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour for his work on Community Action Planning. His publications include Housing Without Houses (1994), Small Change (2004), The Placemakers Guide to Building Community (2007) and the Specemakers Guilde to Big Change (2014). He is currently Professor Emeritus at Oxford Brookes University.


Nazneen Ahmed is currently Research Associate at UCL in the School of Geography, working on the AHRC Connected Communities project “Making Suburban Faith: Design, Material Culture and Popular Creativity in Suburban Faith Communities” in collaboration with Dr Claire Dwyer, UCL, and Dr David Gilbert, Royal Holloway. Prior to this, she was Research Assistant in the History department at Oxford, working on the Leverhulme funded Oxford Diasporas project "Religious Faith, Space and Diasporic Communities in the East End, 1880-present", focusing on Muslim settlement in East London. Her work as a community activist in East London has included working with the British Bangladeshi heritage organisation Swadhinata Trust, the women’s educational centre Jagonari, and the NGO Faith Regen, with whom she has collaborated on a range of community heritage projects.


Exchange Session Facilitators:


Barby Asante is a London based artist, curator and educator, concerned with the politics of place, identity and the legacies of colonialism. She is interested in archives, storytelling, ritual and unearthing what is hidden through collective actions that are dialogic and performative. She was also instrumental in founding Anchor and Magnet and remains an associate. 


Assembly SE8 is a multi-disciplinary studio tackling issues around waste, food, growing, society and play. Currently working from The Old Tidemill School, we are creating a community hub in Deptford.


Critical Practice is a cluster of artists, designers, curators, academics and other cultural producers. We have worked together and in solidarity to support critical practice within art, the field of culture and organisation.


public works is a critical design practice set up in 2004 that occupies the terrain in-between architecture, art, performance and activism. Visit


Katy Beinart trained as an architect, going on to work as an artist. Her work is often with communities and in public places and includes installations, sculptural works, performances, and participatory art works. She is interested in making cross-cultural links between material culture, migration, memory, and place. She has been working on projects in and about Brixton since 2010 and set up Anchor & Magnet with Barby Asante and Kate Theophilus in 2012.


Gianmaria Givanni is an urban designer, architect ,engineer and sound artist who has specialised in designing housing in London for the past 20 years. I currently run a multidisciplinary design consultancy, Studio Givanni, which aims to bring together a number of disciplines with the intention to advocate, inclusive and sustainable environments to all members of society.


Bureau Of Silly Ideas (BOSI) is an established public realm arts company based in Brixton, London. Founded in 2002, BOSI are renowned for making a song and dance out of road works, eccentric machinery, intervention, visual art and spectacle. Current work has strong links to urban regeneration. BOSI believes that that the best solutions, start with great ¿questions? and aim to engage people, so they question by injecting art, entertainment, humor and surprise in everyday places.  In 2012, we became one Arts Council England‘s National Portfolio Organisations. We also know a thing or two about pineapples and custard pies…


Ashvin de Vos and Daniel Fitzpatrick, Variant Office LLP: We are a small architecture and planning practice based in south London, set up by some friends who met in London while working mainly on play areas and other public space interventions. Driven by an interest in community led planning, history of spaces and radical / experimental design approaches, we have been involved in a range of projects from designing play areas to supporting community led ownership and design of housing.


Fan Sissoko is a social designer and researcher interested in how personal stories and empathy are linked to social change. She set up the Brixton People’s Kitchen, an organisation aiming to reduce food waste and bring strangers together to cook creative community feasts.



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