South Kilburn Public Art Programme

From August 2010-April 2011 Urban Words set up and delivered a public art programme in South Kilburn for South Kilburn Neighbourhood Trust and Brent Council Arts and Regeneration teams.

A challenging project, with a budget of £180,000 and a tight timescale, the programme involved 5 separate commissions:

South Kilburn Speaks

In partnership with The Poetry School, we commissioned three fantastic poets, Aoife Mannix, Niall O’Sullivan and Simon Mole, to work in South Kilburn, with a focus on engaging with younger and older residents. They worked with almost 200 local people and the work produced is showcased on the project blog, on hoardings across building sites in the area, and on permanent pieces of public art, designed by artist Andy Edwards.


South Kilburn Studios

In partnership with The Architecture Foundation and Practice Architecture, we transformed a disused office site in South Kilburn into vibrant artist studios. 14 tenants were recruited and offered rent-free space for 6 months. Each tenant offered a training programme for a local resident (aged 18-25) as well as running regular free workshops open to all. The project was designed to run April-September 2011, but has been so successful it will hopefully be extended well beyond these dates. Visit the South Kilburn Studios website for more information.

    Photos: Mike Massaro

Workshop 24

We commissioned Empty Shops Network to run a pop-up community arts space in a previously empty shop unit in the Peel Precinct, South Kilburn. The shop was designed as a flexible space that could be used by local individuals and organizations and well as host artist-led commissions. Projects included:

  • Tea and community patchwork project with Fozia Khaliq every Wednesday 1.00-3.00pm
  • A range of activities as part of Social Media Week, February 7-11
  • An exhibition of photography by local photographer and picture-framer, Norris Taylor
  • The creation of a Made in South Kilburn book, showcasing creative people who live locally
  • A series of made-in-a-day documentaries exploring the local area

Visit the project blog for more information.

    Photos: Dan Thompson


We commissioned local filmmaker and freerunner, Karen Palmer, to create a new interactive film inspired by South Kilburn and freerunning as a unique way of exploring the urban fabric. Karen teamed up with top parkour trainers Parkour Generation to deliver free Saturday workshops for local young people aged 11+.
Free running, or parkour, is the physical discipline used to negotiate obstacles in the most efficient way possible using only the body. Precision skills such as jumping, climbing, vaulting, rolling and swinging are used, turning virtually anywhere in to your own personal playground. Participants filmed their progress using flip cameras and the best of their work was premiered along with Karen’s commissioned film at the Tricycle Theatre on 27th March 2011.

Visit the Evolve01 website for more information.


Photos: Isabelle Plasschaert

Building the outside from inside

In partnership with Brent Arts Therapies Service and Emergence, we commissioned two artists, Julie Bagwash and Tamar Whyte – who identify with Personality Disorder – to create a new artwork in collaboration with South Kilburn residents experiencing mental health difficulties.
Over 25 people were invited to take part in the workshops and create unique handmade glass tiles that celebrated their creativity and aimed to increase self-esteem by teaching them a new skill.  Participants worked with a range of exciting and colourful materialsand produced some stunning work.
The final artwork incorporates the individual tiles made in the workshops and aims to reflect the positive values about living in South Kilburn, whilst making reference to the internal and external use of architectural spaces. It has been installed at The Salvation Army building in South Kilburn.

“I didn’t think I would like this so much, this really makes me happy” (project participant)

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