For this meeting we decided to merge the Bermondsey and Rotherhite meetings and focus on all things cultural! We heard from local artists and organisations doing great things in the area… and further afield!
Lucy Bradshaw – London Bubble
Alex Evans – Artist in Residence at Tower Bridge/London Bubble
Michael Daniels – WORG/Local Resident
David Rodrigues – GLV/Local Resident
Denis McMillan – Poise Tennis Coaching
Eleanor Thorn – TunedIn.London/Local Resident
Alison Clayburn – Creative Writing in Rotherhithe/Local Resident
Devon Goodrich – Time and Talents
Robert Jamieson – Community Southwark
Nathan Lewis – Community Southwark
We kicked by hearing about some of the initiatives going on in the area – spearheaded by attendees:
LB have been embedded in the local community since it formed in the 1980s. They turn their hand to an awful lot including running a number of participatory theatre groups in Rotherhithe (Tea Break Theatre, Adult Drama Group, and Bubble Youth Theatre to name a few). These weekly sessions give the opportunity for a wide range of people to make theatre together, assisted by experienced theatre practitioners and other specialists.
The main event comes in the form of the various performance projects that the company has put on in recent years. ‘Hiroshima’ and ‘Grandchildren of the Blitz’ stand out as oral history performances rooted in interviews with survivors.
They are currently working on a new project focusing on Primary Schools and people’s lived experience of the UK’s education system. To find out more, and to get involved, contact Lucy.
The role and purpose of SE16-WORG is to act as a coordinating group to:
update and circulate the Rotherhithe Map in the local area
promote permanent and long term sites and activities via the map, www.se16.com, public notice boards and member websites.
help promote other factual tourist and visitor literature and material for the Rotherhithe
They have a very snazzy map which you can view here.
WORG are heavily involved in planning for the Mayflower 2020 celebrations and are always looking for new ideas and input.
Michael Daniels, who co-ordinates WORG, also runs a local history which meets on the last Wednesday of each month at Time and Talents. Get in touch if you want to find out more.
The brainchild of local resident Alison Clayburn, CWR is a series of workshops and events encouraging general writing and writing for self-discovery.
Alison is building a community, from both local writers and those who come from further afield. If writing both for personal development and to produce and share vibrant poems and stories is your 'thing' get in touch!
Time & Talents runs targeted projects working with people with high levels of need such as isolated elderly people and disabled groups. They also run activities for the wider community. An impressive menu can be found on their website but highlights include:
The Rotherhithe Shed – if you want something made or fixed then pop down! The Shed aims to bring together older folks to put their practical skills to good use – fixing, making, whittling, drilling, sawing and generally tinkering – and is run in partnership with London Bubble.
Pub Club for Men 55+ - Friendly groups, no nonsense, just a good way to get out more and meet people. And a sneaky free half for first timers. Not bad.
My favourite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExfQUONO4sw
To find out more visit the T&T website.
Who knew that this was a thing? Well, it wasn’t until recently. Alex is the first Artist in Residence at the iconic Tower Bridge. Using the Bridge as artistic stimuli and exploring the themes of appearance and disguise, Alex has had his initial 3 month residency extended until October. He has been working to create a series of artworks in response to an internationally recognised symbol of London and incredible feat of Victorian engineering.
He explained that he was keen to allow his work to respond to the different connotations of the landmark and that there has been a big push recently to use the bridge as a cultural event space.
Future plans include an Urbanist walk from Rotherhithe to the studio.
After three years setting up and running the music programme at the Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe, London, the regular series of World and Folk music concerts has evolved to become Tuned In London. It is put together and run by Eleanor Thorn and most concerts are currently held at the beautifully and entirely unique hidden gem that is Sands Films, Rotherhithe.
Recent shows have included an album launch by Icelandic Singer/Songwirter Ösp and a barnstorming set by Moonka’s Caravan.
What’s even better is that the venue is based right by the Mayflower pub! Eleanor’s main concern is touched upon in the section below.
Let’s cut to the chase here. The major issue that nearly all attendees were keen to discuss was the big hole left in Rotherhithe’s information cycle by the cessation of the SE16 and Iliveinse16 websites.
Efforts are made by the comprehensive WISE16 (cheers Pedro) and WORG but it was felt that there is a dearth of places to promote events and share information.
So what can be done to make sure that local community groups and initiatives can support each other? This was a difficult question to answer and it was intimated that some local institutions have been reluctant to promote events. The idea was explored that we (as in Southwark CAN) could create a joint mailing list with WISE16 and the group was informed that we were happy to promote events on our event map. Not only are we happy, we are actively seeking submissions! Furthermore our very own Nathan is going to endeavour to meet Pedro to see if we can do something about it!
What is certain, though, is that there is a clear demand for a sustainable promotion tool - a shared resource that everybody can tap into.
Other (slight) concerns
Both London Bubble and Time and Talents have been established in the Rotherhithe community for decades (T&T have been based in the borough for over a century) yet there is still a ‘divide’ between those in the local area who are aware of them and those who are completely oblivious. Could both do more to ‘open out’? As one attendee put it… is this because neither have a ‘shop front?’ Or a reason for someone to walk in off the street?
London Bubble have had open days in the past and plan to host one this summer so that may help.
If you want information about any of the organisations highlighted in these notes then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org.