Image: Clapham Park resident, Djaliatu, painting photographs produced by the Photography Club. By Marcia Chandra.
Clapham Park Creative Co-op is a collaborative storytelling and neighbourhood project exploring the past, present and future of the Clapham Park area just south of Brixton. Artists and residents work together to tell the story of the neighbourhood in creative ways. The project is led by Counterpoints Arts with funding from Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing, and is the core of our ‘neighbourhoods’ strand of work.
Counterpoints Arts has been working with Metropolitan since 2016. The Everyday on Canalside project in Hoxton, East London (2014-2016), explored how everyday creative interventions amongst neighbours — through gardening, storytelling, community crafts and conversation — can inspire stronger, more engaged communities. Art becomes a space for deeper reflection on community change and shared histories, adding meaning to place. At its heart, these are community research projects shaped by participatory and creative methods including as many voices as possible.
The Clapham Park neighbourhood has been undergoing one of the largest estate regenerations in London. And over the past year, with events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the strengthening of the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been an unprecedented opportunity to look at the neighbourhood with new understandings. Exploring what it means to be connected locally, to neighbours and networks, with histories whose diversities in culture and experience weave resilience into the everyday.
Since 2018, through a series of workshops and public events, residents have worked with storytelling, photography, embroidery and archives, developing an evolving collection of stories exploring the past and present of Clapham Park as well as the local networks and skills that ‘hold’ it as a place. This year, we are looking at what these collective histories can offer the future in a series of exciting commissions:
— Rapper Awate work with young people to reimagine archives through hip hop
— Photographer Marcia Chandra continues to develop the People of Clapham Park archive including celebrating Local Lockdown Heroes and creatives
— A neighbourhood-wide August Art Month will celebrate local creatives whose inspirations have and continue to hold the community through challenging times
— We will also be hosting a Learning Lab in August for local artists, neighbourhood projects and community facilitators/leaders exploring the importance of art and creativity for neighbourhood resilience