Time-lining the Front Line
On September 23rd 2017 we shared our explorations of Railton Road with members of the public with a walking tour! We had a talk on the local history, inviting Robert Holden, one of the few cinema concierges to lead us to our first site, The cinema Grand and share with us. After Robert shared his 15 - 20 min visual presentation at 198 CAL we headed back onto Railton Road to listen to participants share interesting facts, and capture aspects of the various sites ending by the Brixton Pound Cafe.
Memory on a T-shirt
Memory on a t-shirt was a community engagement event, where we invited the community and general public to come and design and print their own t-shirt with help from the archive material we had collected from our visits to various archives, and personal contributions. After spending time with the archives we brainstormed different slogans that could be a possible design. We then searched for images to make collages out of. Some of the participants decided to use images from the internet to make their designs.
Living Radically - Film Screening and Discussion
The Living Radically event was a screening of a short film and documentary that ended in discussions on LGBTQIA / Squatting / Black Community Action and Resistance along Railton Road (Brixton/Herne Hill)
- The Homecoming: A Short Film About Ajamu X (17 min, 1995) by Topher Campbell (@tophx)
By the 1980s and 90s, Brixton had acquired a fearsome reputation as home to a rebellious black presence. This tough urban image also hid a thriving gay scene and arts movement, in which young photographer Ajamu Ikwe-Tyehimba was active. This energetic film traces Ajamu's jump from South London back to his hometown of Huddersfield, Yorkshire, for an exhibition of his work. Playing with and remixing images of black masculinity cross-cut with a "feminine gentleness", he attempts, as sociologist Stuart Hall describes, "to transcend both". Often explicit and very humorous, his approach is never dull, provoking controversy and shocked amusement in equal measure.
The film also boasts a visual feast of local landmarks that either no longer exist or have been altered beyond recognition - look out for the scenes under the arches of Brixton station. There's also a substantial line-up of interesting characters: apart from Stuart Hall, the film includes activist Michael Cadette (formerly of the Race Today collective established by Darcus Howe), leading black photographer David A. Bailey and a homophobic cameo from a very young and fresh-looking Terence Maynard (Coronation Street's Tony Stewart) (written by BFI)
- Brixton Fairies: Made Possible By Squatting (33 min, by Taha Hassan
A series of interviews with South London Gay Liberation Front members, who squatted the first Gay Community centre in London along with many houses on Railton Road in 1970s. The film is intended to highlight the indebtedness of the LGBTQ movement to squatting and direct action.
Artist Linett Kamala lead a fun filled workshop where we learnt calligraffiti ( a mixture of caligraphy and graffiti style writing)! Which was held in response to the government’s current Green Paper ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision’.
C.L.R James Reading Group with Akua Rugg
We invited SORRYYOUFEELUNCOMFORTABLE to lead an intimate reading group, reading 'Black Power', a speech delivered by C.L.R James, which ended with discussions with Akua Rugg,an educator and activist who was a former Race Today Collective contributor, and women's rights and housing activist within Brixton starting in the 70's, who shared with us her memories of being on Railton Road, bing in the Race Today Collective and C.L.R James.
Education and Activism
Taking inspiration from the work of Olive Morris, artist Linett Kamala explored characteristics of courage, resilience and determination through short performances followed by an artist talk about her practice and it's inspiration. Main themes of the talk were education, resilience, race and creating art, which you can watch below.
Winifred Attwel Hair & Chill
In honour of Winifred Atwell's historic afro-hair salon on Railton Road in the 1950's, We decided to transform 198 into an horonary hair salon for the closing weekend of the Voices Front Line Exhibition! As you can see, it was a really fun and inspiring day, where we also screened short films and had delicious catering. A truly beautiful way to end VFFL.