Project Notes (II)

Friday 31st July: Wandering around Brixton

It’s been such an insane week. I cannot get over how much of a positive reaction the project has gotten, how supportive and encouraging everyone is, and that there are people that want to give their free time to helping me make this happen. It’s really overwhelming.

There’s been a call out for people to come on walkabouts, happening all across August, as well as a film maker, and I’m now welcoming image submissions for the exhibition! The project is getting the green light from different places, it’s so exciting seeing things taking shape!

So, there are a few dates to keep in mind, you can find more about the walkabouts and when they’re happening on the page here. Otherwise, I’ll be running a workshop in September:

INTERACTIVE WORKSHOP: Friday 4 September, 2-5pm
Front Basement Meeting Room, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
Part of the quantitative aspect of this research will be to categorise the street art and messages discovered on the walkabouts into themes against the urban environment in which they arise, and analyse why. This will involve an understanding of the social, political, environmental and economic context. I’d like to invite others to help in this analysis to reduce the bias of interpreting the pieces solely on her interpretation influenced by her life experiences.
To take part in the coffee fuelled, post-it note interactive workshop, get in touch directly at: clairetunnacliffe@yahoo.fr

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Today, I went for a solo walkabout in Brixton. Coming out of the station I made my way down Electric Lane. It’s mid-day on a Friday, and the sun is starting to warm up, a little. There’s a lot to look at, stalls, cloth and vendors calling at passerbys, the smell of popcorn. Coming out onto Popes Road, on the corner sits Brixton Pop, which opened its doors on the 29th of May.

Pop Brixton is a project to support local jobs, training and enterprise. 

Pop Brixton is a pioneering new space created with the local community in mind to showcase the best and most exciting independent start-ups and businesses from Brixton and Lambeth, where they can share space, skills and ideas.

Pop Brixton will house the next generation of local food and drinks entrepreneurs, retail outlets, workspaces for local business and artists, tech enterprises and a community event space, to be enjoyed by all. We are providing an affordable space for start-ups and small businesses, with 10 units available at 20-50% of market rate.

Maybe it’s because of the time of day that I’m there, and maybe because the energy of the street outside is slightly more vibrant that morning, but I don’t stay long, heading back out to explore what’s around. There wasn’t a lot of people in the space, but I do have time to find these guys:

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Just past this, I came across several pieces by local artist Dope:

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While waking around, I notice two themes emerging from the streets of Brixton. One, is the Save The Arches Petition, a campaign to stop network rail evicting 30 local independent businesses who are the heart of our community & have been working in Brixton for over 40 years.

The businesses found in the arches on Atlantic Road, Brixton Station Road and Railton Rd in Brixton and Herne Hill are part of the fabric of the area. In Brixton, each one has been notified that they have 6 months to vacate their units to make way for the regeneration of the area.

It is vitally important that these businesses stay in Brixton, and are not thrown out of where some have been trading for over 30 years.

This petition calls on landlords Network Rail to immediately halt the planned evictions, pending a full consultation with all local businesses and the residents who use them

We also call on Lambeth Council to use everything in their power to prevent these evictions and fully support the residents.

With Lambeth Council proposing a ‘facelift’ of the area, the tenants are at risk of a 300% rent increases, driving out the business and effectively excluding a local community that has been around for decades.

Street artists have come together to support the campaign and the traders currently at risk of eviction from the iconic railway arches, painting the shutters of local businesses.

The campaign to get street artists involved has been led by local artist PINS, himself a well known figure on the street art scene. Initially contacted by one of the businesses to paint a mural on one of the shutters, PINS then offered to help raise awareness of the situation by getting some other friends from the street art scene involved. 

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It has even seemed to inspire others to grab a pen or chalk and have their say.

The other theme is Love. It seemed that in the face of shift and change and anger at having a community being taken away, there was also a reinforcement of community.

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And finally, a few that caught my eye. That made me stop and think and take an image. For all of them I initially walked past, and then came back.

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This coming Friday 7th of August I will be back in Brixton from 2 pm to have another walk around and anyone is welcome to join. I am finalising a film maker to come and document the experience too. It’s a really casual affair, so just be ready to walk for an hour or two before we sit and chat about the experience, and bring a camera if you like! I’ve got my trusted Pentax with me…

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