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We Are Lewisham: Borough kicks off year of culture

On Saturday 28 January, Lewisham launched the beginning of its London Borough of Culture programme called We Are Lewisham.

From venues to parks and street corners, the year-long programme will animate the borough with music, dance, debate, public art and more.

It is inspired by Lewisham’s rich history of activism and standing up for equality, with a call to action on the climate emergency and a celebration of Lewisham’s diverse communities. 

What’s on

We Are Lewisham is created by and with the people of Lewisham. Among the upcoming programme of events, highlights include:

  • Creative Challenges
    Throughout 2022

    Twelve creative challenges, one per month, will inspire creative activism and mass participation. Challenges include a craft challenge in collaboration with Cockpit Arts, and a gardening challenge in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • O5Fest
    March 2022

    Internationally celebrated poet, playwright, performer and Lewisham resident Inua Ellams brings his O5Fest to Lewisham. Produced in association with National Portfolio Organisations the Albany and Spread the Word, O5Fest comprises five multidisciplinary events with the borough's most celebrated writers.
  • Breathe
    April – November 2022

    Lewisham-based artist Dryden Goodwin and Invisible Dust will present Breathe: 2022 – a striking new public artwork about air pollution.
  • Liberty Festival
    July 2022

    A free three-day festival of fantastic creative experiences and works by D/deaf and disabled artists. Featuring ground-breaking art and performance, interactive installations, a thought-provoking symposium, and participatory workshops for all.
  • Revolution through music: Beyond Borders
    August 2022

    Global music festival, Beyond Borders, will take over the grounds of the Horniman Museum and Gardens to explore South-East London’s Jazz Scene and the sounds of Lewisham’s global communities. 
  • Revolution through music: Underground Lewisham
    October 2022

    MOBO Award nominee Novelist curates Underground Lewisham, spotlighting the borough’s thriving Grime, Afrobeat and Drill scene and the new genres of tomorrow. At venues and pop-up spaces across the borough.
  • Mass Dance
    October 2022

    A new, large-scale dance performance in Beckenham Place Park, directed by Alleyne Dance. Working in partnership with IRIE! Dance Theatre and co-created with local communities, Mass Dance will feature an intergenerational cast of over 200 local performers. 

A photograph of a group of people holding a sign that reads: We Are Lewisham.

Photo: We Are Lewisham. Irie Dance Theatre. Credit Manuel Vason.

About London Borough of Culture

Introduced by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in 2017, the London Borough of Culture award is a competition that sees London’s 32 boroughs bid for more than £1m of funding to stage a programme of cultural events and initiatives.

The award brings Londoners together, putting culture at the heart of local communities and shining a light on the character and diversity of London’s boroughs. 

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said:

“Culture is our DNA and our London Borough of Culture programme has shown the power the arts have to inspire – bringing communities together and to celebrate world-class creativity right on their doorsteps.

“Lewisham’s ambitious programme will show how culture can empower communities to pursue positive change. It is a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on the talent, innovation and artistry that can be found across our capital and will be a very exciting year for its residents, Londoners and visitors alike.”

We Are Lewisham is jointly led by Lewisham Council and the Albany.

A photograph of a group of people at a skate ramp. They hold signs that read: We Are Lewisham. In the foreground, a person wearing a helmet is shown on a skateboard.

Photo: We Are Lewisham. Sounds Like Chaos. Credit Manuel Vason.


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