Off The Fence

Brockwell Park’s summer events are a regular and much-loved feature of the local calendar. However, the necessity of a perimeter fence, known locally as the Great Wall of Brockwell, had upset park users and become a divisive element between festival users and local people.

In 2023, The Brixton Project sought to change that narrative and transform the fence into a super-length community art piece, as a celebration of Lambeth’s creativity and to tell the story of our culture and identities.

In order to achieve this, two main strands were identified: The honouring and celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Windrush Day, and the championing of local artists and artistic endeavours.

Archival photography, stories and biographies of the Windrush Generation were gathered to form one part of the exhibition. Local artists, neighbourhood schools and cultural institutions were invited to respond to themes such as Family, Locality and Intergenerationality. The pairing of these two strands, woven together along the Brockwell Park fence created a rich mix of history, narrative and creativity.

The project returned in 2024 to celebrate 50 years of the Lambeth Country Show with a spectacular collaboration between artists and local community. The perimeter fence of the Brockwell Live festival site will be transformed into a large-scale installation honouring Lambeth’s history of radical celebration. 

In collaboration with Brockwell Live, The Brixton Project has commissioned five artists, through a widespread open call, to design artwork for the fence based on community ideas and memories of celebration. 

Selected artists misha B, Lorna Jean-Charles, Akmaral Khassen, William Lindley, Habiba Nabisubi and Kes Young, were invited to run creative workshops with local residents of all ages as part of the Brixton Project’s innovative Community Research Exchange. The workshops set out to gather the disparate voices of Lambeth’s local residents to share personal and collective narratives through dynamic, creative means. 

Informed by the stories and visual representations gathered in these community workshops, the artists’ designs make up an immersive installation of joyous expression, that captures the vibrant spirit of Lambeth’s local community. 

The project gathered over 200,000 festival attendees in 2023, and 295,000 in 2024, alongside local residents and park visitors to appreciate the huge contribution that the Windrush generation made to Lambeth, as well as generate discussion about the future of enclosed public spaces and their place within an austerity driven state. A lightning rod for public discourse, the fence has shown how sacred our public spaces are and provided an opportunity for reflection on how we want them to be used, as well as what they can be used for.