Brixton Design Trail (BDT) launches on 15 September as part of the London Design Festival. This year’s theme – We Belong – explores and celebrates what it means to live in the heart of Europe’s most diverse city. The Bugle’s Linda Quinn and Leslie Manasseh offer a snapshot of the many things to see and do during the week.
BDT is a community project showcasing the best creative work south of the river in a week-long takeover of public spaces, restaurants, shops and bars across Brixton.
It will host dozens of events including workshops, talks, exhibitions and installations. Brixton Station Road will be the focus for much of the week’s activity – throughout the market, the Rec and Pop Brixton. Follow the signs to the BDT hub, behind Pop Brixton where you can find out everything you need to know about the week-long festival.
Here is our snapshot of just a few of the many things to see and do during the week.
Made – Brixton’s Design Youth Market
Youth-led creative network Livity and Pop Brixton will kick off the trail on 14 September with a night of fashion, music and art curated by young people followed by a week of pop-ups around the theme of belonging. The Youth Market on Brixton Station Road with over 40 participants will be selling and exhibiting fashion wear and prints.
The Rec will also be hosting a surprise exhibition featuring international artists in Hope to Nope. The artists are re-homing from the Design Museum to Brixton in protest at the museum’s decision to host an event for an arms contractor.
Portrait of Brixton – Pop Brixton Photographer Charlie Clift celebrates the life and soul of Brixton in a photography exhibition at Pop Brixton. “It’s the characterful people of the community that I wanted to capture,” says Charlie. His portraits show everyone from rushing commuters to reggae dancers.
Windrush Squared – Central Brixton
“Rooted” by Kofi Arts documents the pioneering ventures undertaken by the Windrush generation as they strove to build their lives, establish businesses and dreams.
In his suitcase installation Kofi uses the hibiscus flower to represent the beauty and colour of the Caribbean and its people, and how that merged with the UK culture. Installations at the town hall and the BCA.
In the 70th anniversary year of Windrush, Flotilla by Edible Bus Stop/ZMA Architects represents the journey and tells the story in a series of augmented reality “paper boats”.
Visitors use smartphones to listen to audio narratives spoken by the Windrush generation and their relatives which describe their feelings about moving to the UK, their hopes, fears and excitement at a new life.
Following on from last year Brixton Local Heroes will present new nominations, unveil a portrait of Norma Williamson and open a digital ‘Roll of Honour’ display to keep alive the memory of our local heroes. Names for consideration include Claudia Jones, David Marks, Cherry Groce, Harry Jacobs and Lloyd Newton.
Wednesday 19 September 7pm Brixton Library
In Brixton We Belong – BDT HUB
“In Brixton We Belong” is a two-day live-painted mural that will be created on 15/16 September to reflect the belief that all humans have a right to feel a sense of belonging.
Kindred Spirits: Reflections
A floating installation of life-size human silhouettes across Brixton designed to provoke thoughts on belonging and identity.
Motherworks – BDT Hub
This community photography exhibition Motherworks by women’s collective Mothers of Invention will celebrate the brilliant and bizarre double lives of the working mums of Brixton who teach their children the importance of belonging to a family and our community, and whose work contributes to society and the wider economy.
True Love – Department Store
World premiere of paintings by the Brixton-based Nigerian artist Abe Odedina.
It is comprised of a series of paintings commissioned by film director and producer Danny Boyle for the South African based youth charity Dramatic Need, animated versions of which were shown at Carnegie Hall in New York last year.
The paintings respond to testimonies from young people in South Africa who have undergone highly traumatic life experiences.
Town Hall Textiles
Featuring designers and printmakers Cere. Dyes will be made from vegetable waste from Brixton’s restaurants and printed in community workshops throughout the week. Embroidery workshops take place in Morley’s haberdashery department and Stitch School will host a week of community embroidery at Brixton Tate Library.
Roda X Brixi – Brixton Village
Spanish illustrator Jose Roda, will be transforming Brixi’s shop front in Brixton Village for the duration of the festival. It will be painted in Roda’s inimitable style – bold primary colours, playful graphic shapes and strong female portraits.
People of the world
St Matthew’s Church Stephen Crawford Architects, a small Brixton practice, has produced a timber installation that celebrates the unity and diversity of the Brixton community. Local community groups will be involved in the design and make-up of the structure which is arranged in a circle.
Jon Daniel retrospective – 198 Gallery
Jon Daniel was one of the most prominent Black designers of his generation. He was a passionate advocate of creativity as a catalyst for cohesion and empowerment of Black communities. The retrospective includes an exhibition, talks and workshops.
See how far across the world Britain’s best loved hairbrush has travelled from its home in Brixton in a colourful installation by AWMA.
Society x SW9 pub quiz
Test your knowledge of all things Brixton at a pub quiz. Wednesday 19 at Market House (TBC). First prize Brixton Pounds in cash and bits and bobs of Brixton Pound merch. Location is not confirmed, but check the BDT website at bit.ly/BDT-SxSW9.
REMAKERY and UPCIRCLE
This year’s BDT also has sustainability as a focus and two local upcycling organisations, the Remakery and Upcircle, will run design projects that use repurposed materials. Reuse Lab by Remakery The Reuse Lab is both exhibition and learning. The exhibition focuses on principles of design that draw inspiration from repair, reusing and recycling. Talks and workshops highlight sustainable design ideas. The work on show will be created directly by the public in a co-design process between the community and skilled makers.
THE ECO CUBE by Upcircle
Studio Upcircle Studio presents an immersive pavilion where the visitors will discover products from local artists, artisans and designers. The space will be decorated with products that promote up-cycling and recycling design. The elements used to build the installation are commonly used and reused on building sites. The structure will be dis-mountable and reusable at the end of the festival.
BDT partners and supporters
This year’s BDT partners are the Brixton BID and the Brixton-born brand, Tangle Teezer. As well as helping to fund the festival they will host an event at Brixton Library on 17 September. Some of Brixton’s biggest business success stories will share their knowledge and experience, including Tangle Teezer’s founder, Shaun Pulfrey.
Other supporters include Muse, the developers working on the New Town Hall project, and Connection Crew, a leading social enterprise based in Brixton Hill.
Timings and activities may change. For details of all the events go to