University College London
Anchor & Magnet is an artist’s project based in Brixton and led by artist/curator Barby Asante, artist/academic Katy Beinart and artist/creative producer Kate Theophilus.
Our name reflects a shared interest in place, identity, migration and belonging. Brixton is a place with a long-established and still evolving tradition of attracting migrant and peripheral communities: it is a magnet. It is also a place where incoming communities and individuals have established an often powerful sense of rootedness in relation to their locality, and have evolved identities informed by their new home: it has been an anchor.
Our work is social and collaborative. We create spaces for dialogue, reflection and exchange and invite others to be part of the process.
From October 2012- March 2013, we undertook a residency in and around Brixton Market, inviting local residents and market traders to contribute to a conversation about their memories of the area and their views on current changes. We used participatory art methods to do this work, including a dominoes game, newspaper, dinner, 1 day symposium, and a market stall. We also had an open space with a library for people to use.
Several students from UCL were involved as volunteers in running the project and events. There has also been an ongoing link with the UCL Geography MSc Migration Studies course through academic Clare Dwyer.
In October 2013 we hosted an event at Brixton’s town hall for the Academy of Urbanism, titled Learning from Neighbourhoods.
We are currently writing up our findings as part of a commission from Lambeth council which will be used in developing briefs and inviting responses for new heritage projects for Brixton.
Project Leaders: Katy Beinart (UCL), Barby Asante (UAL), Kate Theophlius
Students: Jessica Vilela Hansraj (Msc Global migration) Ana Macouzet Menendez (MSc Urban Studies) Francesca Guarascio (MSc Urban Studies) Kate de Syllas (MSc Urban Studies) Sam Barton (PhD Geography) Anna Ulrike Andersen (PhD Architecture)
Project Funders p1: Arts Council England, UCL public engagement fund, UCL environment institute
Project Funders p2: London Borough of Lambeth
How does regeneration affect urban areas with a migrant history/ migrant communities, and how are communities responding? / How do memory/heritage practices offer possible strategies for exploring what is happening in an area and how that area might be shaped in the future? / How do public art practices offer possible strategies in exploring and making visible the stories of the various communities and public who make up that area & how can they contribute to a dialogue around ownership of and belonging to a place? / How do we re-tell other’s stories in the process of urban change?