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UK Parliament artist to create art with Thamesmead residents

PICTURED: Scarlett Crawford (Photo credit: © UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor)

ARTIST SCARLETT Crawford has been appointed by the UK Parliament for a new project entitled First Waves: Exploring the impact of race relations legislation in the UK.

Over the course of her residency, she will hold workshops with six partner organisations across the country – including Peabody in Thamesmead - to create artworks with local people which explore and celebrate the 1965, 1968 and 1976 Race Relations Acts. The project is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Race Relations Act.

The artworks will be exhibited in Thamesmead later this year and then displayed in Parliament for an exhibition in 2019 which will look at the impact of race relations legislation and the stories of the people who fought for change. The Thamesmead artworks will then be returned permanently to the community that inspired them.

Parliament’s First Waves artist will be holding a series of workshops in Thamesmead in July 2018. The purpose of the sessions is to capture the voices of generations who have been directly impacted by the Race Relations Acts, but who may have had little opportunity to have their voices heard in Westminster. The workshops are open to all, however Peabody in Thamesmead would be particularly interested in hearing from participants who were living in the UK before and after the 1965, 1968 and 1976 Acts.

Crawford said: “I’m really excited to have been chosen to creatively explore the impact of race relations legislation across the country. Working in collaboration with local communities I hope to discover the unheard stories of those who were affected by the changes, to honour the contributions of those who led the way, and to inspire future generations of people from all backgrounds to engage with art and politics.”

Teresa Pearce, MP for Erith & Thamesmead commented: “I am so pleased that this exciting project is coming to Thamesmead. Residents have a lot of stories to tell and a rich and diverse history to celebrate.

"Thamesmead has seen many changes since those first families moved in 50 years ago and of course the traveller community was there even before Thamesmead was built. It is important to capture all of these voices in the artworks which local residents will create with Parliament’s First Waves artist, Scarlett Crawford.”

Adriana Marques, Head of Cultural Strategy for Peabody in Thamesmead, said: “As we celebrate Thamesmead’s 50th anniversary this year, it is vitally important that we take pride in our culturally rich and diverse community. We are thrilled to be working with the Houses of Parliament on this initiative and look forward to the new artworks that Scarlett will create together with residents, giving a new voice to race relations 50 years on.”

Participants of the workshops are not required to have any creative background, but should be open to exploring new ways to express themselves through a variety of media. An open day for residents is being held at Peabody in Thamesmead on Saturday 17 February 11am-4pm, where people can meet Scarlett Crawford and find out how to get involved in the First Waves project.

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