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Culture and creativity

Creative Civic Change: A poetic response

This article is part of a series of reflections on Creative Civic Change, Local Trust’s experimental funding programme that supported 15 communities across England to shape, lead and commission arts and creative interventions, to make positive social change where they lived.

Nephertiti Obosie Schandorf, director of Peckham Platform, partner of Tilting the Mirror a Creative Civic Change project, offers her reflections and poetry on being part of the project.

Tilting the Mirror was an intergenerational Creative Civic Change project that reconnects residents of Peckham, south London to their public realm. The programme is a response to the rapid gentrification of the area which has left many people estranged from the places that have been their homes for generations. Through Tilting the Mirror, we have developed creative responses that centre resident leadership and protective networks for many of those who are vulnerable to these changes.

Over the last three years we have focused on depth rather than breadth of engagement. This has been achieved through creative visits for intergenerational groups; workshops with commissioned artists and facilitators using music and audio based workshops, and the exploration of cultural identity through food, celebration and public activities such as craft workshops, performance, consultation and community meals held in a specially made Library Soundsystem.

We have made space for joy but this programme has run against a backdrop of prolonged austerity, a pandemic, economic crises and cultural reckonings. Even though there is much more to achieve, we are immensely proud of the work undertaken with the unwavering support of Create Civic Change, Local Trust and cultural partners.

Peckham Platform is an arts organisation with a civic duty. We connect art, people and place to co-produce social art that responds directly to the needs and concerns of the people involved. Our pioneering co-commissioning methodology and approach to creativity, culture, learning and accessibility is exemplified through a 10- year track record delivering high quality, ambitious, community-led and co-designed social art programmes.

Tilting the Mirror was co-led and designed as part of the Peckham Partnership, a consortium formed of community-led organisations including Peckham Platform, Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) – a mentoring programme for at-risk, Black youth, and Golden Oldies – a Black elders care and advocacy group.

The partnership has also been supported by the Black Heroes Foundation, a community-based heritage charity and Peckham Park Youth Group – part of Peckham Park Baptist Church that provides community activities for young people and families in the area.

A poem - a downloadable version is available.


Download a PDF of the poem