Sadiq Khan has announced that Lewisham and Croydon will be London’s next two Boroughs of Culture, for the years 2021 and 2023 respectively. The council for each area will be awarded £1.35 million by the Mayor in order to fund a year-long programme of activities celebrating local character, people and history.
In addition, the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham, Sutton and Haringey will each receive up to £200,000 towards individual projects as winners of separate Cultural Impact awards.
Lewisham and Croydon will be the third and fourth boroughs to secure Borough of Culture status, following Brent, which is this year’s recipient, and Waltham Forest, which was the first Borough of Culture under a scheme launched by Mayor Khan in 2017.
Lewisham submitted a bid called Cultural Activism which City Hall says includes plans to “inspire local people to take action on climate change” and to “celebrate its diversity and build inclusivity” with hundreds of events over the 12-month period. There will be a tribute to the 1970s Rock Against Racism movement, which grew out of a time when Far Right groups were active in that part of London.
Croydon’s success bid centres on the theme of sustainability, with events to include art projects with local communities, a music festival and a “re-use and recycle” fashion show. Croydon has an arts scene and heritage that often goes under- recognised and its historic Fairfield Halls entertainment complex has recently been refurbished.
The Mayor, who has been criticised by London Assembly Conservatives for putting resources into the Borough of Culture project rather than policing, said that “Culture has the power to bring communities together and transform young peoples’ lives”, while his deputy mayor for culture, Justine Simons, said the awards would “give grassroots creativity the chance to shine”.
City Hall explained that there will be no 2022 Borough of Culture, as missing out a year will allow “more time for partnerships, resources and ambitious cultural programmes to grow”.
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