Albany and Hamlyn embed culture in the community

A south London arts centre is taking lessons learned from Lewisham’s year as Borough of Culture to expand its community culture programme.

Today the Albany, Deptford, which has 60,000 visitors a year, has launched a new creative strategy - much of it funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation - to scale up community engagement which will include creating a community council to guide programming, and commissions for local artists and community groups. It will also recruit young producers to work with local communities.

Main image: A fashion show event during Lewisham’s year as London Bourgh of Culture in 2022

The initiative is being led by Gavin Barlow, the Albany’s CEO and Lewisham’s strategic cultural adviser, who was the director of We Are Lewisham in its year as Borough of Culture in 2022. It would build on its role as lead producer for the year which saw over 400,000 people attending more than 600 events.

“This is an exciting time for the Albany as we look to consolidate years of learning and expertise in co-creation" he said. "Like many organisations across the arts and cultural sector, we are facing a challenging time; however, we believe that this is not a time to shy away from adventurous programming and making change. We are grateful for a grant from Paul Hamlyn Foundation for enabling us to take this new step and look forward to working closely with local people over the next few months as we put our plans into action.”

Shoubhik Bandopadhyay of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation said the charity was delighted to support the mission to shift power to communities, artists and young people. “The Albany has a strong focus on its civic role and a long history of developing local partnerships to support cultural place-making, community and talent development” he said.

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