Where do we stand – as artists working in an area undergoing dramatic change, in a place where the process of regeneration is so problematic and contested?
We wanted to ask:
1. What is the role of art versus the role of activism? Can they coexist or do they threaten/contradict each other?
2. What tools and strategies do we need in order to communicate the voices and experiences of local people in order to have an impact on the change? Is there a way of working together with others to achieve this? Are there other successful models that we can look to?
3. What is or might be our role now? Do we need/want to change our position?
4. How can we negotiate the issues of funding and influence in relation to our work in Elephant and Castle?
– Unearthing Elephant, June 2016
‘Opportunity Area’ was a panel discussion organised by the People’s Bureau as part of Unearthing Elephant, an ongoing art and research project centred around the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre.
The event was held to debate the ethics and tactics in place-based artistic practice, with a focus on the current reality of regeneration Elephant and Castle. Participating panelists comprised of an academic, artist, local business owner and critic. Panelists were Jane Rendell, Andres Mendez, Barbara Steveni, and Isaac Marrero Guillamon, and the event was chaired by Sam Trotman. The event was prefaced with an introduction by The People’s Bureau on their engagement and artistic practice which has been based at Elephant and Castle since 2006. The event was part of the London Festival of Architecture 2016.