Goldsmiths, University of London’s home borough of Lewisham is celebrating being named London Borough of Culture 2021, and looking ahead to a year of creative initiatives and events.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced the title win on Tuesday 11 February, awarding Lewisham £1.25m to fund an arts programme designed to celebrate diversity and bring Londoners together.
Goldsmiths, which is based in New Cross, was a key partner in the successful bid and proposed a series of activities to commemorate historically significant events in the borough’s recent past.
Submitted under the name ‘Cultural Activism’, Lewisham’s bid focused on inspiring local people to act on the climate crisis, while also recognising the borough’s youth, diversity, and the need to tackle inequality.
Aspects of the winning bid included the Goldsmiths Department of History’s recent and planned work to memorialise Lewisham’s past while looking ahead to the future of the rapidly changing borough. From the unveiling of a striking new mural marking the 1977 ‘Battle of Lewisham’ to forthcoming plans to mark the 40th anniversary of the New Cross Fire and Black People’s Day of Action, and form a local history museum, Goldsmiths is playing a vital role in revealing the borough’s under-examined stories.
During the Borough of Culture year, Goldsmiths researchers, heritage organisations and creative practitioners will work with local residents to continue re-examining the recent past. New insights will be shared through pop-up exhibitions, creative interventions and the use of new digital technologies, including augmented and virtual reality.
Goldsmiths will play a vital role in a new initiative, Creative Futures, showcasing inclusive careers in creative industries through a national conference and ensuring that every year 7 student has a ‘Creative Futures’ intervention before GCSE choices are made. The intervention aims to address the lack of diversity within the creative industries and create a national call to action to address it.
Lewisham aims to build inclusivity with dozens of major events throughout 2021, including an artist-led tribute to The Rock Against Racism movement, a large-scale dance performance, and a climate change carnival.
Professor Frances Corner, Warden of Goldsmiths, said: “This win is great news for our home borough and builds on the invaluable contribution that our staff, students, and alumni make to the cultural and creative life of Lewisham.
“Over the last few years we’ve already brought a new cinema, Curzon Goldsmiths, and a world-class public art gallery, Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, to New Cross. But we plan to do more with the opening of our new Enterprise Hub next year which will support local entrepreneurs, our students and alumni, looking to set up a creative business or social enterprise.
"Lewisham becoming London Borough of Culture gives us the opportunity to deepen our relationship with our local partners. We look forward to working together to see what can be done to tackle challenges such as the climate crisis, addressing inequality, and making the creative industries more diverse.”
The Borough of Culture was launched in 2017 and is part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to support the arts. The competition sees London’s 32 boroughs bid for more than £1m of funding to stage a programme of cultural events and initiatives. Previous winners are Waltham Forest and Brent. Lewisham will hold the title in 2021 and Croydon in 2023.
Find out more at https://iamlewisham.uk/