Peckham Residents' Network

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24 May 6pm – Role of Art Institutions in Peckham – discussions with residents

Over the last several years, there have been a growing number of art events involving local residents in Peckham.  Tim Birtwistle is an artist/film-maker currently organising a project based around the role and involvement of art institutions in South East London. His current project is to examine the Role of Art Institutions in Peckham, including a discussion with local residents. This will take place
on:  TUESDAY 24th May at 6pm
at:  The New Gallery, 95 Peckham Road (

Here is the invitation to local residents:

contact: Tim Birtwistle <>

The idea is simply to set up interviews, conversations and discussions with South East London art institutions (such as theatres, galleries, organisations) regarding their various objectives and possibilities for art in the local area. It is therefore essential to also gain the views of those affected by these objectives and understand what communities believe art and its institutions should be doing in the area. This is especially relevant during the government’s current ‘austerity measures’ and art’s legitimacy in being state funded.

The main question is thus, “How much can art effect real social and local change?”

As part of the Peckham Residents’ Network mailing list, you may be interested in expressing your views on this subject and the importance of art events and projects in your local area, their strengths socially but also their limitations. Furthermore being 25+ (something Tim is assuming!) you are part of a large section in society who are often not targeted by the various education drives of art institutions.

On TUESDAY 24th MAY at 6pm, at The New Gallery, 95 Peckham Road, Tim will be holding a meeting and discussion between Peckham residents and the artist, in which, views and ideas can be exchanged about what is wanted from the ever-growing local art institutions. TIM WILL BE FILMING THE EVENT as it forms part of a larger project and film and therefore please be willing to be on camera if you attend the discussion.

If you are unable to attend on the 24th but would still like to express your views on the subject Tim is also very willing to meet you on a one to one basis, either at home, in cafe or a community space. Simply email to get in touch. If you do wish to come to the event, please send Tim an email, so that he knows numbers:

If you have any questions about the project, the event or himself , please email Below you can find further information about the project.


 My interest lies in the intentions of art institutions with regard to their impact on the local community, the more general role art has to play within the community and the reality and effects of those institutions. It also seems to be apt in asking such questions at a time of severe general arts funding cuts but specifically to collect the opinions of those institutions in areas that are also hardest hit by benefit, health and housing cuts.

 My intentions in this regard do not lie in antagonism and I want to stress that although I do hold my own views on the “austerity measures” my wish for the questioning is that a real debate can begin about the role, worth and involvement of art within society. I hope that through a conversation with people like yourselves who promote and practice art at a socially immediate level that local and community based theatres, galleries and concert venues can be discussed as having equal relevance to those on the South Bank as well as offer an alternative.

 The hope is that by collecting a variety of opinions from different positions within the relationship: ‘Art Institution’ and ‘The Community’ that a non-idealist and actual picture can be presented. In this sense there is no desire to form an argument but rather create a platform through film where ideas from people in a community can exist next to those of policy directors. I am of course conscious that this structure can intentionally be used to present extreme conflicts or harmony and so my desire from the project’s outset is to focus on the type of questions and who is questioned as well as being honest and open about my own personal approach. The aim is thus the film will be built solely out of the compilation of opinions and not by forcing them into a preconceived or alternative narrative.  Recent Projects can be found at:


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