New home for Black Cultural Archives - Raleigh Hall

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by Nickster, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. urbanspaceman

    urbanspaceman Well-Known Member

    Yes, and that's what I speculate may happen at BCA.

    Here are the current opening times:


    Monday Closed
    Tuesday 10:00 – 18:00
    Wednesday 10:00 – 18:00
    Thursday 10:00 – 18:00*
    Friday 10:00 – 18:00
    Saturday 10:00 – 18:00
    Sunday Closed
    *Open until 19:00 every second Thursday of the month.

    Reading Room
    Monday Closed
    Tuesday Closed
    Wednesday 10:00 – 16:00
    Thursday 10:00 – 16:00*
    Friday 10:00 – 16:00
    Saturday Closed
    Sunday Closed

    It's only too easy to imagine them adopting the Reading Room times for the whole building. There are some obvious steps they could take though:

    • push the cafe harder - put a big sign outside, expand the menu, and publicise it better on the website and social media.
    • use the courtyard better - perhaps for a night food market, or farmers' market
    • it's rather amazing that the only identification carrying the BCA name is a thin red banner running vertically down the side of the building.

    Very difficult to read from the road. I wonder how many tens of thousands of people pass by every day on the bus, without any idea of what the building is. There should be a big - horizontal - sign across the front of the new annex part of the building, clearly visible to passing traffic.
    Gramsci, Winot and Nanker Phelge like this.
  2. editor

    editor Walking along the lonely street of dreams

    They've stuck what looks like a big garish LCD screen on the side of the building.
    Gramsci likes this.
  3. editor

    editor Walking along the lonely street of dreams

    Posted on FB:

    Gramsci likes this.
  4. snowy_again

    snowy_again Slush

    A projector I thought when I was outside the other day. Couldn’t quite tell but it didn’t look sharp enough to be a screen.
  5. snowy_again

    snowy_again Slush

    That new grant will have strings to it - full new business plan review, cash flow forecast and fundraising & marketing strategy at least, plus some stuff on governance. The m&f plan will need to turn around their current apparent ‘build it and they will come’ approach.
  6. urbanspaceman

    urbanspaceman Well-Known Member

    BCA has a new MD, Arike Oke, and the lacklustre tenure of Paul Reid is finished. This change is surely the quid pro quo for the recent emergency funding from DCMS. AO has varied and very relevant experience for the job. Let's hope for her success.

    Wednesday 6 February 2019, London, United Kingdom --- Black Cultural Archives (BCA) has appointed Arike Oke as its new Managing Director. From Monday 4 March, Arike will lead the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain.

    Arike has extensive experience in the heritage and cultural sector and a long track record in leading large and complex, multiple-stakeholder initiatives. She is a standing board member of the National Archives’ programme to transform the UK archives sector, Unlocking Archives, is a BAFTA Heritage Board member, and previously had an integral role in redeveloping Wellcome Collection’s approach to archives.

    Her role will be to drive BCA’s mission to use its unique collection to promote the teaching, learning and understanding of African and Caribbean people’s history and heritage in Britain, as well as leading the strategic development of BCA, delivering against a Business Plan and fundraising strategy for the long-term sustainability for the organisation.

    Arike Oke said: “I am delighted to become the new Managing Director of BCA, building on the achievements of Paul Reid and his team. I am a passionate advocate of communities and heritage, and I take pride in working with people and on projects who share the ethos of creating a positive future for all. I’m looking forward to working with my new colleagues, the Board, patrons, the local community, and our wider society to take BCA into its next phase. Black Cultural Archives is the home of Black British history, and is the conduit for telling our new, and old, stories. I'm excited to lead BCA to fulfil its potential as innovative, dynamic, and at the heart of our national conversation.”

    Arike’s achievements include chairing Hull’s first Black History Month committee, securing significant funding for, as well as programming and managing, a national cross-sector multi-platform programme to commemorate Rambert’s 90th and helping to create the current UK Strategic Vision for Archives.

    Dawn Hill, Chair, BCA said: “Arike is the perfect person to join BCA as Managing Director and we are thrilled to have her become part of the team. She shares our vision for the future of BCA and is bringing a wealth of experience, energy and creativity to the role.”

    Of his tenure at BCA and Arike’s appointment current Director, Paul Reid, said "Through the lens of African and African-Caribbean history and heritage, BCA’s Founders set out to establish a lasting legacy to our Ancestors. Len Garrison’s poem 'Where are all our monuments' posed a key question. I’m pleased with what we achieved during my time as Director and that we now have a greater commitment to changing the teaching and understanding of British history.

    I am also excited by Arike Oke’s appointment as Managing Director, who I am sure will, with her team, continue to realise the vision."

    Paul will be leaving his role on 28 February 2019.

    Attached Files:

    snowy_again, Gramsci, Winot and 2 others like this.
  7. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Any views on Reid being given his marching orders GarveyLives ?

    You were posting what a great guy he is in response to my less than enthusiastic view of him.

    Perhaps Reid can get a job in a Council again. Would suit him.

    I really hope the new person opens up the BCA and makes full use of the building.
    blameless77 likes this.
  8. urbanspaceman

    urbanspaceman Well-Known Member

    I sent this note to Arike Oke, and she responded. Perhaps other Urbanites might post their suggestions/observations about BCA here in this thread, and I will collate them and pass them on to her. It would be a real shame were BCA to fold - we Urbanites might be able to contribute some useful thoughts.
    • "Congratulation on your new job.
      I live two minutes' walk from the BCA, and have passed the site on my way to the tube station for the past 35 years. I was thrilled to see the fine new building that emerged from the previous ruin, but disappointed by the low energy tenure of your predecessor. You can see that BCA is discussed on local message board Urban75: Recent Posts | urban75 forums Please allow me to make some unsolicited suggestions: 1) replace the difficult-to-read, narrow, side-facing, vertical BCA sign, with a big horizontal placard on the front of the building; I bet most passing pedestrians and bus passengers do not know what BCA is. 2) Improve and publicise the cafe. It looks improvised and sparse. And it's cliquey - the staff welcome some visitors like long-lost friends, but are offhand to others (including, yes, me). 3) Rather than offering a "me-too" menu, perhaps the cafe could offer Caribbean and/or African snacks. There are so many existing such restaurants in the neighbourhood. Perhaps you could outsource catering operations entirely to one such. 4) The courtyard would make a good venue for a craft/farmer's/cultural heritage market. 5) Room hire - this is terribly under-promoted on the website. And there is no BCA entry on venue hire websites, e.g. 6) Why not introduce yourself on U75,, and Twitter ?
    • Arike Oke sent the following message at 7:32 PM
      Thank you Urbanspaceman, And great suggestions! I'm afraid that I only log into linked in once in a while. Would you mind sending your suggestions to me care of the"

    editor, Gramsci, Cold Harbour and 3 others like this.
  9. GarveyLives

    GarveyLives Well-Known Member

  10. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    That's an interesting quote.

    I don't suppose David Adjaye is too rooted in "the community". He married in the crypt of St Pauls Cathedral, for example. Chris Offilli was best man.
    Renowned British-Ghanaian architect weds model

    Will Gompertz (who was conducting the BBC interview in your link) has probably never travelled south of the river apart from the Tate Modern.

    BCA was the result of community activists persisting with a vision. Will Gompertz and David Adjaye are all about the gift of visions by "the artist" as hyped and arranged thorough the billionaire international art market. Stringing up in prospect if Momentum takes power!
    Brixton Hatter and Gramsci like this.
  11. lang rabbie

    lang rabbie Je ne regrette les gazebos

    I would make a modest proposal that before they get any new signs made or relocated, the new management team reconsider the name under which they operate.

    "Cultural" and "archives" must surely be two of the most off-putting words when trying to get new audiences - and as a combination they are deadly.

    I completely understand how the original founders of BCA a generation ago wanted black history to be taken as "seriously" as that of dead white European males, and therefore came up with the name, but I think it is now counterproductive.
    Brixton Hatter and Gramsci like this.
  12. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    This shows how little public impact the BCA in its new home has had. He apparently doesn't know that UK has a public institution for Black culture and history already established.

    As you were so supportive of the previous head of the BCA what is your view on him being replaced?
  13. snowy_again

    snowy_again Slush

    A museum and an archive are two different things.
  14. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I thought that point of setting up the BCA in the new building was to make it a public institution. It has a cafe, exhibition space, shop and courtyard.

    If it was the remain purely an archive it could have been set up in a less public building and with less expense. Making its main purpose as an archive more sustainable over long term.

    imo the present building for BCA is botched hybrid of an archive and museum. It wasn't thought through clearly when designed and funded.

    Also I thought a lot of museums were also archives. Tate, British museum show part of the objects they have. A lot are in storage. The Tate for example still acquires works. So many museums also have archive/ conservation section.
  15. blameless77

    blameless77 Well-Known Member

    Tate’s archive is in a warehouse in deepest Bermondsey, which kind reinforces your point about archive v museum. Agreed - a lot more outreach is needed, and ‘inreach’ from the community, if that’s a thing :)
    Gramsci likes this.
  16. snowy_again

    snowy_again Slush

    I've just found this interview with some of the new BCA management:

    BCA’s new head Arike Oke says archives are a world to explore not just a record of the past

    Arike Oke, head of the Black Cultural Archives on Brixton’s Windrush Square talks to Leslie Manasseh about her new job
    The Black Cultural Archives is a unique, national institution that collects, preserves and celebrates the lives and history of Black people in Britain.

    Arike Oke is its new managing director. She had been in post for just 26 hours when I met her to talk about what she hopes to achieve.

    She can bring archives to life. In place of dry, dusty images of files locked in a basement, she talks with passion and enthusiasm about archives as living histories and testimonies to the past.

    “The power of archives (relates to) our identity and community, and how we understand our place in the world. They are stories of activism, struggles and success.”

    She worked in heritage for 15 years, after growing up in Hull in Yorkshire and Bauchi in Nigeria. It was while she was working as a registrar of births that she discovered her love of peoples’ stories. Working for BCA is obviously a high point in a career dedicated to connecting people with their history.

    Arike describes the BCA as “the home for Black British history which goes beyond documentary heritage. We also have photos, objects, videos and oral histories … and the power of archives is that you can choose your own path through them” The archives are a world to explore, not simply a record of the past.

    Why did she want the job and what is she planning to do? “I completely believe in the vision, and I want to realise BCA’s full potential. “The key to this is collaboration. I want to bring people together to talk about what BCA can do for Brixton and the community.

    “How we can build on our achievements, and how we can best articulate our vision, and focus on what makes BCA unique”. Arike is very much in listening mode. She obviously has ideas, but wants to take them forward collectively.

    It’s clear that she is also very ambitious for BCA. She believes it should be part of the national conversation. “We have something meaningful to say which can make a difference to society”.

    Following BCA’s high profile involvement supporting members of the Windrush generation, Arike wants BCA to continue to support the communities it serves.

    She also plans to build partnerships with cities across the country, strengthening BCA’s reach and influence.

    She relishes the challenges ahead because “that’s what makes the job interesting”. One of them will be making the BCA a sustainable organisation. “We’re a mission-based organisation, not a fundraising one, but we have to think about finances quite carefully.”

    All in all, Arike has a very full in tray.

    Her message to Brixton Blog readers? “Thanks so much for your support and please keep coming to us with your ideas, your creativity, your opinions, and even your criticism.”
    Cold Harbour likes this.
  17. editor

    editor Walking along the lonely street of dreams

    That reads like one of those all-positive articles in business magazines. I'm none the wiser about what she's actually going to do to improve things.
  18. snowy_again

    snowy_again Slush

    Given that the article states she's been in the job 26 hours, she's probably planning on working out what needs to be done by asking people, rather than delivering an idea she's concocted alone?
    blameless77 likes this.
  19. editor

    editor Walking along the lonely street of dreams

    If that's the kind of interview that you like reading, enjoy.
  20. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I agree.

    Take this from her interview:
    Where do I start?

    This reads as meaningless.

    The whole recent problem with BCA is lack of funds. So fundraising is part of her job. Not that I agree with that is how it should be. But its going to be major part of her job.
  21. blameless77

    blameless77 Well-Known Member

    I think she will be brilliant. She’s previously worked at wellcome collection, and is already thinking about how to bring the community in. Exactly what BCA needs imho
  22. editor

    editor Walking along the lonely street of dreams

    I hope so.
  23. snowy_again

    snowy_again Slush

    Looks like she's ahead of us all: Up close and personal with Arike Oke, BCA's Managing Director

    What are your hopes for BCA?

    BCA is the home of Black British history, a beacon and a promise. We have got this far, we’ve got our building, we’ve got our foundational collections. Now it’s time to establish our voice and to return to our founding purpose. We can correct the omissions and erasures in British history. We can make sure that Black British people have a voice in the national agenda. We can support new and emerging talent. We can be part of the community, as a platform and collaborator.

    What are you looking forward to over the coming months at BCA?

    Over the next few months I’ll be getting my head down to stabilise BCA’s finances and partnerships. We are assembling a cracking team around the BCA, and I’m looking forward to working with them, to meeting, listening to, and working with BCA’s family, supporters and communities, and to opening the windows and doors to let the fresh air of creativity back into the building.

    How would you like to engage with the community in and around BCA?

    I want there to be conversations, not just hearing but listening to the community’s ideas, hopes and priorities. BCA is more than the headquarters at Windrush Square, but the building should become an asset for the community too. How we achieve that at the same time as making the building work to support BCA’s core mission and funding needs will take trial and error, mutual understanding, patience and creativity.
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  24. editor

    editor Walking along the lonely street of dreams

    That's much more interesting. I'll share that on Buzz.
  25. urbanspaceman

    urbanspaceman Well-Known Member

    BCA has also just been awarded £25,000 from the £500,000 Windrush Day grant Scheme 2019 fund, for "Digitisation of Archives, Exhibition and Summer Programme". I think that this is another central government attempt to keep BCA alive, as it would be so politically embarrassing for it to collapse: £25k is the maximum that can be awarded to a single recipient; the purpose looks like funding merely for the normal activities of BCA, rather than anything specific; the £200k awarded at the end of last year won't last for ever.
    editor likes this.
  26. snowy_again

    snowy_again Slush

    Funding will be restricted in that grant programme - not just for them to do what they want with (so a smallish project, with a time frame, a set of outputs / events, an agreed budget etc.) and judging by the lead time for it, someone must have applied in Nov 18 to secure the funds: Windrush Day Grant 2019
  27. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I don't understand this.

    The same government that has been trying to send the Windrush generation back to where they came from is now asking us to celebrate their contribution to British society.

    What's the catch?

    Is this funding, not a lot for a government, an exercise in limiting reputational damage to the Tories for the "hostile environment" policy perhaps?

    I don't see anything in the celebration about the legacy of Enoch Powell and racism. Windrush generation weren't welcomed with open arms by everyone.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  28. snowy_again

    snowy_again Slush

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