Tag Archives: art

Art opening and poetry night at the Cafe this Friday!

The Brixton Pound Cafe will be opening late this Friday for an evening of cultural immersion! 

Featuring an exclusive pop-up show from Liu Huiting, contemporary artist on the rise, followed by provocation and wit in equal parts with the performance poetry of Laura Taylor and friends.

It all kicks off at 6pm – get there by 7 for an artist talk and to guarantee a seat at the poetry slam.

As ever, fine local drinks and eats available from the Brixton Pound Cafe – and since it’s a Friday night we’ll add the best of local beer & wine…

Hope to see you there!

“Only the Memory Remains” – is running for one week only, a pop up exhibition from Liu Huiting, a contemporary Chinese artist on the rise after a much lauded MA Show at chelsea this year:

“Kaleidoscope – On Tour!” – one of an exclusive few stops on a book tour of Laura Taylor

A passionate challenge to authority and the ‘politricks’ of power from one of the UK’s most incisive performance poets.

With Very Special Guest Joy France: “Witty and wise and with a natural talent for rhythm and rhyme, La France has that ‘je ne sais quoi'”

Brixton public art: Lucy Casson ‘Foxes and Cherries’

‘Foxes and Cherries’ by Lucy Casson  is a sculpture over Electric Avenue, Brixton. It is featured on the B£20 note. This is a guest blog post written by Lucy about what inspired her to make the piece of public art.

foxcherryaziz   B£20 square
Foxes and Cherries on Electric Avenue and as featured on the B£20 

Halfway along Electric Avenue ‘Foxes and Cherries’  is situated high up on a roof. I wanted to make something inspired by the fruit market – cherries are such wonderful fruit, and that year the cherry tree in my garden in Brixton had a bumper crop of cherries, so it had to be cherries; and for me the foxes that live among us represented the cheeky side of Brixton as they dive in and out of sight.

‘Foxes and Cherries’ in the making

As well as making art works for public places I create smaller works for gallery exhibition.
I have created a world of ‘beings.’ They are cartoon like, part animal, part human. These characters become part of narratives and scenarios gleaned from observations of everyday accuracies, surreal encounters or imagined stories.

Tin Plate Beings
cherries 2  small1  small2
Cherries                                           Fire                                                The Inspectors

animal looking  red ball and spoon
 Animal Looking                                                         Red Ball and Spoon

For the past two and a half years I have been the lead artist for the newly opened New Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool, creating a number of large sculptures, graphics, curtain/glass design, etc. I am currently working on a small sculpture for Brockwell Park.

Works from the New Alder Hey children’s hospital
  alderyheybirds  bird 100 closeBronze Fox                                     Roost – A Hundred Birds              Bird Close Up

Head over to Lucy’s website for of her work: www.lucycasson.co.uk. To discover other public art featured on B£ notes, click here

Oh! You pretty thing: our unique David Bowie print raises money for community projects in Brixton

UPDATE: The prints are now available for sale at bit.ly/bowieprint and at the B£ Cafe at 77 Atlantic Road.

We’re delighted to announce the sale of a unique piece of Brixton history: the Brixton Pound has published an A3 print featuring the iconic Bowie B£10 note to raise money for the Brixton Fund.

The edition of 300 – of which 250 will eventually be offered for sale – went into production in December 2015, with David Bowie’s full approval (check out the news story on the official website). The very first print, numbered #001, is being auctioned to raise money for the Brixton Fund, our community grant scheme.

The auction is live on online auction house Paddle8, as part of their Legendary sale.


Both sides of the note are displayed, featuring David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust guise from the cover of Aladdin Sane, as well as a detail from the Nuclear Dawn mural on Brixton’s Coldharbour Lane. The A3 print is produced on the same diamond-patterned security paper as the circulation notes, and features several of their original features such as orange fluorescent ink and die-cut metallic & holographic foiling.

The print is titled ( –2016 ) in pencil, numbered in both black and metallic ink, and blind-stamped by the designers. The print will also be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Brixton Pound.

2f5f14e7-4d4b-4d3f-82ff-4e24aaecbb3f     84b8b6de-4e1b-4f08-906f-57f0cdf04e46

B£ note designer Charlie of This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll said:

“The print looks absolutely stunning. The fluorescent ink leaps off the page and the foiling has been die-cut to incredible detail. It really has been produced to an incredibly high standard.”

“We’re quite emotional about it. The Aladdin Sane cover image has always been melancholy, but to see it now in conjunction with the ascending dove from Nuclear Dawn is incredibly poignant. We got Bowie’s permission to use the image for this print in December. It’s as if it’s his parting gift to Brixton.”

Don’t miss this opportunity to bid for a unique item of Brixton (and Bowie) memorabilia.

The auction will be live until March 31st, and after that the remaining limited edition run will be made available for sale. All proceeds will go directly into the Brixton Fund, a grant scheme managed by the Brixton Pound to support community initiatives in the area.

UPDATE: The prints are now available for sale at bit.ly/bowieprint and at the B£ Cafe at 77 Atlantic Road.

#BrixtonBonus – Featured group of the month: Media Community Network Limited

Every month the Brixton Bonus provides revenue for the Brixton Fund, our new micro-grants scheme in Brixton for projects looking to create employment, challenge injustice and create community benefit.

Media Community Network Limited, a charity that lets young people speak through film about the issues they face, is the sort of group that would be eligible to apply for funds. Click here to donate to MCNL.

According to founder Laverne Hunt, Media Community Network Limited gives a voice to those who would not otherwise be heard, attracting groups in schools or communities by the excitement of using film as a tool for learning. Using documentary film projects, they aim to engage young people of all types, helping them to explore matters that are of concern to them in a constructive way. Each project facilitates dialogue between peer groups who would be unlikely otherwise to talk openly to each other. The exposure generates an overall positive influence due to the shared nature of the film product – leading to increased self-esteem and improved ‘citizenship’ within a school or community and dispelling prejudices. Comedy adds humour and sets the tone of engagement for both the audience and participants. Valuable skills are acquired: communication, working as part of a team, carrying out research, executing instructions, understanding different people, cultures, viewpoints, making a difference in the community through personal contribution.

B£ caught up with Laverne to hear more about MCNL and the work they do.

“I set MCLN up 10 years ago. I have degrees in sociology and psychology & media, and after graduation completed a Raindance infamous Producer’s Course.  I was inspired by Steven Goodman’s articles on teaching youth media literacy and the ability to change challenged children’s lives through film  – so much so I flew to the EVC head office in New York and did his summer course for teachers. I had two small children at the time and if it wasn’t for the support of my parents none of this would have been possible. Films just bring people together by default. So I took up the challenge to trial this unique model using documentary and comedy – I set it up as a charity, put an ad in The Times, and it went from there…”

“In our programmes, young people contribute from the beginning. We want to empower, not objectify them, so we don’t want to use them as examples or film subjects – they are the filmmakers. We do encourage them to use comedy. Documentaries are so often very serious, and seem to only be directed at “documentary people”, they’re not exciting for people outside of that circle. We also don’t want to make films that are stacked against anyone, but rather ones that bring people together. They are usually short, researched films about issues that matter to the young people involved in the filmmaking.”

One of the films we did was with a special needs school in Kent. The school got in touch because they felt like their students were not represented enough in the community. We did a brilliant film with them called “Butt Out” about the smoking ban, where they were interviewing their teachers about smoking and health. But they also wanted to include this surreal sequence in which an alien is landing on school grounds, smoking a cigarette. So effectively there was a film within a film! It was really hard work for the participants, but everybody was useful in some way, there are so many things to do around the film – music, design… And they absolutely loved the final product and wanted to show it to everyone. And it’s not just them – NHS wanted to use the film in colleges. It’s really amazing to be able to show just how much you can learn from children, particularly those with special needs who might not be given as many opportunities as they deserve.”

Another film we did was with the Latin community on the Aylesbury Estate. We did a film about regeneration, but also a mini film inspired by Charlie Chaplin and his quote: “All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.” Another one was about peace and cohesion we did with Peckham youth. The best part of it all is to see how these experiences change the young people’s lives. If I was growing up in London now, I’d be scared and intimidated. And so much can be gained from digging around culture. We’ve had so many other ideas, but lacked funding to get them off the ground. We wanted to make a film with young Muslim men telling their stories, another one with deaf children about their lives and challenges, or a project on faith and identity in Tower Hamlets against the backdrop of the Olympics. It’s all different from the stuff you’d see on TV. And all of films we do are about a resolution of some kind.”

Helen Lederere and professor George

Helen Lederere and professor George

“The film we’re promoting right now is called “Cool To Be Kind”. It tackles low-level bullying in primary schools. There aren’t any bullying prevention or detection programs, so we want to look at that, but also change the culture in the classrooms. As an antidote to bullying, we want to actively promote five acts of kindness per day, all chosen by participants and achievable, and for which they get non-monetary rewards, like a school trip or plain clothes day. We hope it will help us explore issues of friendship and conflict, particularly between girls. We’re forging support from lots of people, including comedian Jo Brand, former Labour cabinet member Tessa Jowell, Prof. Rosalyn George, who researched bullying at Goldsmith’s university, as well as a Harvard medical sociologist Nicholas Christakis who believes that kindness is contagious. I’m meeting him in November to develop a toolkit to measure the outcomes of this project.”

Bullying V4 export smaller (1).mp4 from Laverne Hunt on Vimeo.

“The video of the experiences of the girls at Brunswick Primary School is available to watch online now, and I would like to use it as part of an awareness campaign in schools. Comedian Helen Lederere participated in the film for free, whilst Ninder Billing, Executive Producer at the BBC organised music and music editing for free too. The film is founded upon my original methodology and directed by Marshall Corwin (Award winning Panorama Director). It was partly inspired by Bernadette Russell’s book Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy and her project 366 Days of Kindness where she pledged to be kind to strangers every day for a year, as a response to the 2011 riots. If we’re successful this could be huge! We’re raising funds to turn it into an app to promote the five a day acts of kindness in other schools. But we need a solid prototype to get the kids excited about it. That’s our biggest challenge – to make it something interesting, something the kids will want to use. Part of the funds would go to focus groups for young people so we can get it right.”

“This project is important for MCNL, and could be a turning point for our credibility if all goes to plan. We are about local projects of national interest, but like so many small charities we suffer because infrastructure is weak as the charity is reliant on donations and volunteers, the big organisations take up all the resources while they could be brilliant mentors for small charities, particularly where there is synergy.”

“We have a big fundraising event coming up – so watch this space! – but even before that I’m trying to do as much fundraising as possible: I’m running a half marathon in October, and will be doing a fundraiser quiz at work. In my day job I am a secretary in an investment bank – I have two teenagers, and I was funding MCNL films myself, I needed a proper job. So I somehow manage to run the charity in my spare time – it’s a miracle. I grew up in Stockwell, but we live in Sydenham now. My daughters are 14 and 17. The older wants to be a human rights lawyer, and she’s already rocking the boat at school, always advocating for those who need support.”

MCNL is much more than just making films, what we do is about the human condition and human rights, and about integration and integrity. We’re not “film people” who treat people as subjects and don’t give anything back – we want to build communities of like-minded people, increase representation, have young people tell their own stories. The reason we’re using film is because it’s a way of seeing yourself in everyone and anyone.”

To support Media Community Network Limited, go to https://www.justgiving.com/Laverne-Hunt1/ or get in touch with Laverne via Laverne@mcnltd.org.

Whenever you buy a Brixton Bonus ticket, you will be contributing to the Fund, which will then support groups like Media Community Network Limited. One more reason to get involved!


Jeremy Deller designs new five Brixton Pound note

We are very happy and proud to announce that the artist Jeremy Deller has designed a special edition paper B£5 in celebration of the currency being five years old. His extraordinary design adds a significant and provocative message that reflects our intention to raise the conversation of how we understand, use and value money in this time of economic instability and what we could aspire to in the future.

Jeremy Deller won the Turner Prize in 2004 and was selected to represent Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2013. This special edition B£5 is produced in collaboration with Fraser Muggeridge Studios.

As our own designer, Charlie Waterhouse says:

“These are the most amazing currency notes ever produced. No exaggeration. They’re beautiful and mysterious; spiritual and politicising. In two small sides of paper it provides the most compelling response to the rot that emanates from the Square Mile that I’ve seen since we were all told we had to live under the yoke of Austerity”.

“They’re living proof that while the Establishment can try all they might to take our money, they can’t take our spirit. The pounds Sterling in our pockets are monochrome, dull and in thrall to history and hierarchy – designed to remind us that ‘our’ money isn’t really ours at all. Brixton Pounds are the exact opposite. Joyous and empowering, they remind us that we can all make positive decisions about our spending, and make a real difference to the community around us. They’re wonderful invites to us all to step into a better future.”


The note, each of which has a unique serial number from its limited print run, will be available from 8 July at the evening launch event in central Brixton, and from local stockists and online thereafter. It is available to order on the Brixton Pound website: www.brixtonpound.org/shop 

The launch event will take place on Windrush Square on Wednesday 8 July 2015, from 6pm-10pm. Alongside the exchange point, where people will be able to purchase the special edition B£5, there will be a free give and take market, made up of donated items.

Join us for a celebration – this Wednesday!

Come and help us celebrate the launch of B£’s special limited edition B£5 note created for Brixton by a very special Turner Prize winning artist. The note will be nothing short of a work of art and is guaranteed to blow your minds!

Wednesday 8th July Windrush Square 6-10pm

Bring your friends and family and join us in a huge evening picnic on Windrush Square and be the first to see the most magical money – probably in the world!

We will also be hosting a Give & Take market, so come and swap your unwanted items with us.  In the spirit of free exchange, we’re encouraging Brixtonites to donate items they don’t want or need anymore, and creating an opportunity for others to take them – for free! Clothes, books, toys, household items, decorations, all kinds of miscellanea.

Norwood and Brixton Foodbank and Brixton Soup Kitchen will also be collecting tinned and dried food, so bring that as donations too! Here’s a handy shopping list for what items you can donate.

We’ll be collecting from early morning (7:30am) on the day, so you can just drop them off with us on Windrush Square on your way to work – there will be a visible B£ stall. And then in the evening, come see if you can find any treasures others have donated!

It will be a big celebration, and also a chance to:

  •  Be the first to get your hands on the special new B£5 note! It will be so worth it.
  •  Get rid of your surplus stuff! Have something gathering dust at home, or don’t use an item anymore? Pass it on!
  • Get free stuff! One person’s unused item is another’s treasure – and all donated items will be available at the market FOR FREE.
  • And of course, have some fun!

This is a free event – make a picnic, pick up a take away, bring your loved ones and indulge in a bit of midweek celebration – it could only happen here!

The fun begins at 6pm – see you next week on Windrush Square, Brixton!

Tell us if you’re coming on Facebook or Eventbrite!


#Your Pound: Meet the Trader – The Turpentine

Brixton Pound is a currency which encourages social connections, and so it is our pleasure to be introducing you to B£ traders as well as B£ users on our blog. This week, we’re featuring the creative hub The Turpentine, home to our shiny B£ t-shirts and B£ pay-by-tap pioneers!


“People really like them, especially the purple one!” says Amber, one of The Turpentine‘s co-founders. “They are also really good quality, the design is durable and doesn’t come out in the wash. We’ve had so many happy customers.”

The beginnings of The Turpentine go way back, and start with friends connecting friends. Co-founder Alice, who was living in Berlin at the time, introduced Amber and Jude at a friend’s dinner: “I knew Jude always dreamed of opening a coffee shop, and Amber wanted to set up something of her own, too, so I thought I’d connect them. Some time later I moved back, and they were already working on a project together!” They started will selling artwork at street markets, to then find a temporary home at Effra Social. Jude: “We would do markets there: have 20 tables with the stuff from our artists, workshops, music and dancing. It was such a great way to get to know people, find out what they wanted, what worked well – to get an idea of what our market was, and if what we were doing was falling on good ground.” Then one day Alice walked past the unit where to shop is today on Coldharbour Lane, and noticed it was available: “I called them up there and then, and couldn’t believe our luck when we got it! We never thought we could afford to open a permanent space in Brixton, we expected our offer to be rejected.. so when we actually got it we needed to do some frantic planning, fast!”

The name is a result of three nights’ worth of brainstorming. Jude: “We wanted something that combined a shop space with our workshops, something accessible, catchy, gender-neutral, art-based… and what had a domain name still up for grabs!”, she laughs. “Since then it’s been a constant learning process: the planning was easy, but then actually doing it! At one stage we just had to open, and realised we didn’t really think what was going to happen past that point. Amber had a lot of retail experience, but we didn’t yet have all the little systems you’ve got to have in place to make it all running smoothly.” Alice adds: “It was also a learning experience to work from home, with only one team meeting in the week – we don’t have any office space. But a year after opening, we’ve doubled the number of artists whose work we showcase, from 50 to over a hundred. We’ve seen people wearing our t-shirts at Brixton Academy gigs. Walking around Brixton there’s so much greeting and waving, because so many local people have been to our workshops.  And we just hired our first employee! It’s a big milestone. But the best feeling is probably the realisation that it’s actually happening: no more office jobs, this is our life now, and we’re loving every bit of it! We’re building something that’s ours, and since we’re best friends, we’re working with people we love and trust, and that’s amazing.”

“It’s been really great having all the positive feedback from customers. And that Guardian article has helped us a lot! We’re finally at the stage when we can start planning a bit more from the future, not just living from month from month and figuring out. And it never gets old: getting packages with new artwork delivered is like Christmas every day! It’s so exciting to see any new thing or design for the first time.”

The Turpentine's first own collection of lasercut wood jewellery

The Turpentine’s first own collection of lasercut wood jewellery

Amber is The Turpentine‘s curator, and works to maintain the shop’s distinctive feel: fun, accessible, bright, affordable – and finds new artists who fit into these themes: “We’re always looking for more artists, particularly locals. We’re into nice handmade things for not loads of money – something different to what you can find on the high street.” “But we’re on a high street!”, interjects Alice, “We’re literally bringing handmade to the high street, that’s our motto.”


Three new sets of notebooks available at The Turpentine: feminists, anti-capitalists, and existentialists

Amazing artwork is not all that The Turpentine has to offer: they also specialise in workshops. Jude’s a jewellery designer and teacher, and also “a collector of weird craft techniques, which I like passing on. Lots of people are reluctant to try crafting because it can seem daunting, but most really enjoy it when they try – and it’s not that hard! We’re here to help break that barrier, enable people to use their creativity, give them some key principles they can then take away to do at home.”

Their most popular workshop is called Drink & Draw, and is currently booked out months in advance. Alice: “That was the one featured in the Guardian so it became even more popular. It also slotted well into the New Years Resolutions feel around the time the article was published. But we have lots more! A really awesome one is Wax Casting – you make a ring by carving it in wax, then casting in silver. You can make really unusual shapes, it’s very simple and you come out with an amazing one-off piece. You can also easily do it at home, the tools aren’t expensive which is not a common thing in jewellery design. It’s a really easy access to jewellery making, you should try it!” Watch this space, maybe we’ll expand our B£ collection from t-shirts to rings! 😉

The next big workshops The Turpentine is preparing will be a more in-depth, four week long painting course. “We’ve had lots of interest for life drawing, particularly from local people, so we thought we’d expand into painting too. It’s just great to see these ideas that started in our heads and see them work out! Also to meet customers, hear stories, have all these interactions you wouldn’t otherwise have. Some people do come from afar, even Essex, usually for Drink & Draw of the Guardian fame, but it’s the local connections that matter, and those are the people we’ll recognise and greet when walking around Brixton.”


The Turpentine started accepting B£s pretty soon after opening: “The charming Tom came in one day and offered to sign us up, and we were glad to get involved. We were very flattered when he then approached us for a collaboration. We met with him and the note designer, Charlie, and the ideas for the t-shirts were born. Jude, our in-house designer did the designs, and the rest is history! People love those shirts, some have no idea about the currency so we tell them all about it, and more often then not they leave with a t-shirt in tow. People do B£ pay-by-text a lot, and now we also have the contactless terminal, so we’re excited to have pay-by-tap too!”


The three best friends live in a triangle around the shop: in Brixton, Herne Hill, and just by the Jamm. Jude and Alice first moved South together as flatmates in 2003: to Elephant & Castle, and then to Stockwell. Amber worked in Photofusion at the time. Jude did jewellery design at St Martins, and then taught architecture and 3D design for five years. Making jewellery was her hobby, and now that it’s also her work she finds it hard not to do things that are Turpentine related… “I did just start singing lessons! And I love mooching about in Brixton. I live near Brockwell Park so always go there. And I love Las Americas, a Colombian caf with street food on top of Brixton Station Road. Their shredded beef is incredible.” Amber and Alice: “And why have you not taken us there yet? Sounds like the next Turpentine dinner!” Alice is an avid cyclist, and likes that she can take her bike into the market when she’s buying fruit and veg. “I mainly shop in the outdoor market but Nour Cash & Carry is great too. I like Casa Morita for Mexican food. I finally went to Mama Lan the other day after years of going past it – I just hate queues, and it’s always busy!” Amber had her wedding reception at the Trinity Arms: “It’s an amazing old pub, I love the place, and it never gets so busy you can’t have a conversation. I like the Ritzy too – I’m about to have a baby so it’s less pubs and more cinema. I like Brixton because there’s always something new, like graffiti. Did you see the new one on the back of the library, with the Jurassic Park computer guy?”

“We’re really lucky, it’s rare to have best friends working together, and it’s great that there’s three of us, cause it’s a lot of work to share! The shop is open every day, and we do workshops three evenings each week and they’re usually sold out.. But it never gets overwhelming, we support each other, it’s not like either of us has to do it all by herself, and that’s great. As Brixton residents and business owners we have mixed feelings about the fast pace of some changes. Of course it’s good for our business that Brixton is now a destination and more people come here, but some changes are happening too fast and there’s a danger they will erode the community. For us personally it means that if we have to move, we’ll have to move further away, which is sad – Brixton was so welcoming when we were setting up, people here are so supportive and curious, that sets it apart from the rest of London. Of course we’re part of that change, but we came to Brixton because it was vibrant and different – it’s sad we might lose that. We worry about the spirit of Brixton, but we hope it endures.”

Urban Art Fair is B£ affair


Kiss-Red by Julian Barras

That Brixton is a place for art is no longer a secret, and the proof is in a very successful Urban Art Fair now in its tenth year.

On Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th July, the leafy and rather sleepy Josephine Avenue is to turn once again into London biggest alfresco art fair, with over one hundred and fifty photographers, printers and painters exhibiting.

Entry is free and prices range from under a tenner to over a thousand pounds – so whatever your budget, this is a truly affordable event for all art lovers.

The fair will also show how the love for art and the love for a vibrant and diverse local economy can go hand in hand, with numerous artists accepting our beautiful notes.

So do look out for special offers and discounts available to anyone paying with Brixton Pounds, and do take a sneak preview at participating artists below. Sadly we are unable to upload pictures for everyone of them, but check out their websites, you will find some amazing pieces, including photography, print, painting and mixed media.

The B£ team will be at the event on Saturday morning  –  if you are visiting Saturday afternoon or Sunday, please ensure that you have some B£s with you. This is your chance to bag yourself some unique artworks by local artists, and to help make  Urban Art Fair 2011 the biggest yet. Don’t miss out!