Diane Goldie’s Brixtopia

I’ve seen huge changes happen in my local area over the past 35 years, some for the better, like the greening of what is now Van Gogh walk by local legend Elaine Kramer, who fought local opposition to the project from some who were worried her plans would bring in “unsavoury  elements” that would lower local house prices. The joke was on them as it has had quite the opposite effect and has created a beautiful oasis of calm that has really elevated social cohesion in the area. 

Other changes in Brixton central have not been as welcome, in my opinion. I’ve watched with sadness as local traders have been forced out of business as gentrification pushes in, in its relentless capitalist pursuit of more profit. The richness of diversity in Brixton has taken a battering but I still see it pushing back, it’s spirit is strong, having its roots in entertainment and the common, colourful every(wo)man. 

I’d love to see investment into local talent, bringing back the entertainment heritage of the area: open air theatre space for impromptu musical / theatre / dance performances. It would be wonderful to really publicly elevate and celebrate the Caribbean heritage of the area, allowing any profits made to go into the pockets of the local community, not some yuppie investor. There’s much local talent in the area , a gallery and pop up shops utilising empty spaces on a rota system for peppercorn rents would really help elevate and showcase the creative local talents that exist. Basically, Brixton for the local people not corporations. The old high street is dying because of internet shopping so why not use the shops as creative experiences rather than warehouses for stuff ? How many coffee shops do we actually need? Regular clothing exchange events and upcycling workshops would help create a different way of living more sustainably. Cooking demonstrations in food shops, for instance, why do so many young people have no idea how to feed themselves from unprocessed foods?  

Camden Town( in the 80s) showed us a great model of how to create a thriving, vibrant creative centre before corporate greed stole its soul. Brixton with its rich cultural heritage has way more potential than it is given credit for. Home to such legends as Linton Kwesi Johnson, David Bowie, Van Gogh( for a brief while) as a small example. 

Brixton has potential to be a melting pot of beautiful diversity but currently risks alienating the very people who give it its flavour and identity through the current gentrification program. It’s time for change. Artists aren’t here to start the gentrification ball rolling, they deserve to be valued and nurtured in the community, not just used to up the “cool” factor  and then out-priced out of their own area .

Instagram: @dianegoldie

Website dianegoldieartist.com .

We all want to make it.
Make it in our chosen career. Maybe make it big.

Sometimes perhaps just make it to pay day.
But whatever our ambition, what unites us all is the desire to thrive, be recognised – and be supported.
And that’s what Lambeth’s Creative Enterprise Zone is all about. Supporting creative people to do amazing creative things without having to leave our amazingly creative corner of south London.
Because we all want to make it – of course – but more than that, we want to Make It in Brixton.