Thamesmead Cultural Strategy

Material and Skills Digital Film Sound Sculpture

50th Festival
  • Artists: N/A or various
  • Location: Thamesmead
  • Date: 2017 –
  • Produced by: Peabody
  • External links: Thamesmead Now

As Part of Peabody’s long-term regeneration plans to realise Thamesmead’s potential and build 20,000 new homes, they are embedding culture into the heart of their plans from the beginning. Their cultural strategy ensures that they work with local communities to create culture as part of daily life, and partnerships with local and international partners has enabled them to raise the profile and ambition of Thamesmead and put it on the map.

Peabody’s approach to culture is built on three key principles.

All of their work aims to:

• Represent and celebrate the diverse communities of Thamesmead

• Make a direct impact here and now

• Create a better Thamesmead in the future

50th Festival

50th Festival Confetti – Thamesmead 50th Birthday Festival 2018, produced by Emergency Exit Arts in collaboration with local artists and a resident steering group, photo care of Peabody, Chris Arrondelle

Their cultural work will be delivered through five key strands of activity:

Putting Thamesmead on the map - A programme of festivals and other big events helping to celebrate Thamesmead, raise its ambition and profile, and let the world know it’s here.

  •  In 2018 they delivered the 50th anniversary programme which has brought some spectacular moments including the Thamesmead 50th Birthday Festival which celebrated Thamesmead’s local talent with 5,500 local residents; an outdoor performance of the iconic Thamesmead Film “Beautiful Thing” at Binsey Walk delighted audiences from near and far produced by Greenwich+Dockalnds International Festival; and 1,500 lit pigeons flew in formation over the former golf course honouring Thamesmead’s role in World War 1 and our part of the Royal Arsenal, produced by LIFT with GDIF and 14-18 NOW.

Bringing communities together - with the Peabody Community Foundation, integrating a broad range of culture and creativity into their youth, community, jobs and skills programmes, including

ways to build a career or start a creative business locally.

  • - Working with film agency Film Fixer, not only have they ensured that each location film shoot happening in Thamesmead hires local people as extras, runners and marshalls, but they have also ring fenced all the fees into a community fund to support local enterprises, and community and cultural events.

A beautiful Thamesmead – public art, created through local collaboration, as an integral part of their neighbourhood renewal work.

Peabody are already integrating public artwork into their large scale public realm schemes, starting with a commission from Mark McClure through Wood Street Walls.

Beautiful Thing

Beautiful Thing – Beautiful Thing 2018, directed by Bradley Hemings and Robby Graham as part of Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, multimedia performance set in vacant Brutalist properties with a community cast, photo care of Peabody, Tom Chaplin

A home for artists – alongside their wider affordable housing programme, new affordable housing for creative people who will invest their time, skills and energy locally. 
  • -  Working with Bow Arts, who are renovating the iconic Lakeside Centre into a cultural bub with 40 creative workspaces, Peabody are also making available 40 residential ‘meanwhile’ properties, which would otherwise have remained empty, as affordable accommodation for Bow Arts artists. These artists will both live and work in Thamesmead, developing their own practices but investing locally through various projects and work with local schools.
Fly By Night

Fly By Night – Fly By Night 2018, Duke Riley, 1,500 pigeons with LED lights attached as part of LIFT and GDIF festivals 2018 and 14-18 Now, photo care of the Corner Shop and LIFT

Making space for culture – cultural spaces as an integral part of their development plans, including a cinema, workspaces, and places to make and experience culture in all its forms.
  • -  Peabody have commissioned We Made That, Regeneris and Tom Flemming to develop a Cultural Infrastructure Plan for the whole of Thamesmead. The plan will set out how the population will grow as Peabody builds its new homes, and what cultural spaces this new population will need to make a thriving and successful town. These spaces, from artist studios, to cinemas, rehearsal space and galleries will be delivered over the next 2 to 20 years.
  • - They have already started with the Thamesmead Arts and Culture Office, known as TACO! housed in a formerly unused office space, which will be launching a local radio station in October 2018 and various other artist projects over the next 5 years.

Partners:  London Borough of Bexley, Royal Borough of Greenwich                 

Supported by:                  Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund

Thamesmead Mural

Thamesmead Mural Mark McClure – Mark McClure 2017, large scale mural in an unused undercroft, photo care of Peabody, Paul Sanders