Year-long project to explore heritage of Railton Road

Written by on January 9, 2017 in Community, Local History - 1 Comment
April1981: Police form a barricade across Railton Road outside the Atlantic, now the Dogstar. PICTURE: "1981 Brixton Riots" by Kim Aldis. Licensed under CC.

April1981: Police form a barricade across Railton Road outside the Atlantic, now the Dogstar.
PICTURE: “1981 Brixton Riots” by Kim Aldis. Licensed under CC.

Brixton’s 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning is starting a new project Voices From the Front Line, for 13–25-year-olds.

It will explore Brixton’s heritage and, in particular, the political and social history of Railton Road, where 198 is based.

198 CAL is also appealing for people with memories and images of Railton Road to take part.

“We intend to investigate this contested space that hosted the 1980s insurrection often referred to as the Brixton Riots, beyond, during and after the 1980s,” says 198.

“We are seeking to engage young people, students, graduates and community members to collaborate in this multimedia project.”

The project will draw upon a selection of 12 objects or archives that provide a direct link to the community heritage of Brixton.

Young people who take part will receive oral history, archival research and basic research methods training to conduct a series of oral histories inspired by items including:

A poem by Railton Road resident Linton Kwesi Johnson.

A piece of writing by the late CLR James, a Railton Road resident now honoured with a blue plaque.

A piece of artwork by Nigerian-born photographer Rotimi Fani-Kayode, another Railton Road resident with a blue plaque.

The First Child public sculpture by Raymond Watson commissioned by 198 CAL to the children killed in Soweto.

The Squatters Handbook produced by the Anarchist squatters of 128 Railton Road.

Once young people have studied these archives they will produce creative work such as an exhibition showcasing their process and the work they have done throughout the year.

This could include:

A display representing original archive material, perhaps in the format of photographs;

Young people’s own artistic interpretations of the original archive, perhaps through performance and visual representations and

Film footage of the oral history documentation which shares memories of Railton Road.

The year-long project is for young people aged 13 to 25. Participants can engage with the project as part of an enrichment programme, work experience or internship. It will also be suitable for those interested in multimedia, history, sociology, graphic design, photography, film, art and design, web design, creative media, performance, curatorial practice and archiving.

Anyone interested in getting students and young people involved should contact 198buki@gmail.com.

198 CAL is also inviting young artists or recent graduates to participate.

People with memories and/or photographs old and new of Railton Road that they would like to share should also get in touch. They will help to capture and preserve the history, spirit and social significance of the road.

About the Author

Alan Slingsby moved to Brixton just as the 1981 uprising began. His nearest pub was the Effra and nearest off licence the Frontline — long gone in an earlier wave of closures of treasured community establishments. Has edited newspapers for the National Union of Students and National Union of Teachers. Now makes a living designing magazines and books and anything else people will pay him for.

One Comment on "Year-long project to explore heritage of Railton Road"

  1. Bob January 10, 2017 at 11:59 am · Reply

    “The Squatters Handbook produced by the Anarchist squatters of 128 Railton Road.”

    I think the Squatters Handbook was probably produced by Advisory Service for Squatters who were based in Islington. The squatted anarchist centre was 121 Railton Rd (not 128). Brixton Squatters Aid operated from there for years in fact until its eviction in 1999. They produced the squatting magazine Crowbar for many years.

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