Local women Naomi Money, Morgan McManus-Lee and Lamar Alo have been appointed by arts charity All Change to use creative methods to engage residents with arts and culture in Finsbury Park.
The project is part of the Finsbury Park Creative Hub, a three-year programme led by All Change and Islington Council, which is bringing Finsbury Park’s rich community of cultural organisations and local people together on creative projects designed to enhance the local area and community life.
We spoke with Naomi, Morgan and Lamar about the project and why they’re so excited to be involved with Finsbury Park’s arts and culture scene.
What will the project involve?
Naomi: “As we’ve just started, we’re meeting the cultural organisations in Finsbury Park, such as Park Theatre and Furtherfield, and experiencing the offer for ourselves. Then we’ll be using a mix of different methods to get the message across to local people about what’s on offer. It might be through poetry, vlogging, performances in the community, photography or creative writing. We’ll be posting our work on the Finsbury Park Creative Hub blog and social media, as well as producing work that people can see in the community.”
Lamar: “We have different creative strengths so we’ll use a mix of visual, audio and video work. I do spoken word, Morgan does photography and Naomi is from an acting background and also enjoys creative writing. In an area as diverse as Finsbury Park, different styles and forms will be needed to appeal to different people.”
Why is the project needed?
Morgan: “There can be an issue with the arts that some people think it is elitist and not for them. We’re local and it’s our job to be the friendly face and a warm voice, to show that what’s on offer is for everyone. We hope we can be the bridge between cultural organisations and the local community.
Lamar: “Finsbury Park is vibrant and diverse and the growing arts and culture scene can be a force for good in bringing people from different communities together. It should bring a sense of pride in the area, to know that these great things are on your doorstep. But people may need to step outside their comfort zones to go there in the first place. My grandad is part of the African community in the area. He stays within the community and might not think a theatre or exhibition space is for him. So this project is about bringing arts and culture to different communities in ways they can relate to. We hope to break down barriers between local people and the arts.”
Naomi: “There is already great community work being done by the cultural organisations, but people don’t necessarily know about it. We’re finding out about things we hadn’t known about so we can get information out and keep people in the loop.”
What are your backgrounds?
Morgan: “I grew up around here so have seen the area change so much. I was shocked when Finsbury Park got a Starbucks! I’ve worked with All Change for five years on different projects and I’m currently at St Martin’s doing an arts degree.”
Naomi: “I’ve been at All Change full time for two years, working on a number of projects including the Inspire young parents’ project and the Dispensing Wisdom arts and heritage project which was produced by local women and artists.”
Lamar: “I’m at university and I’ve worked with All Change on different projects over the last six years. I have a deep connection to Finsbury Park. My family and friends are all based in the area. I used to love going to Platform youth hub, growing up in the performance world there. I feel like I’ve seen the area transform, from when I was younger, to how it is now. I’m excited for where it’s going to go next.”
Find out more about arts and culture in Finsbury Park.
[photo caption: From left to right – Naomi Money, Morgan McManus-Lee and Lamar Alo]