Fed up of hearing Brixton reduced to “a single story of gangs, riots and crime”, long-time resident Stephanie Busari was inspired to highlight the many other sides to the area. The result was the very first TEDxBrixton, which took place on Saturday 13 July at Evelyn Grace Academy.
The TEDx movement grew out of the TED conference, an annual event in Long Beach, California, bringing together expert speakers, on the principle that good ideas should be shared. TEDx events are independently organised TED-style conferences, showcasing creativity and innovation in local communities.
True to Stephanie’s word, TEDxBrixton proved, to anyone who didn’t already know it, that Brixton has no shortage of stories to tell. The talks, while varied in content and style, all reflected the theme of transformations. We heard about the thinking behind Brixton’s own hugely successful currency, the Brixton Pound (like the fact that 93 per cent of money spent on food in Lambeth is spent in supermarkets versus 7 per cent in local shops), and from not one but two community food projects – the Brixton People’s Kitchen and Brixton’s Soup Kitchen. From further afield in Tulse Hill, Aaron Sonson, told us about his Stop & Search app, designed to make the police more accountable, and the Craftivist Collective’s Sarah Corbett explained how she engages new people in campaigning through the power of cross stitch.
And, as if the talks weren’t enough, we were treated to a rousing performance from Brixton-born poet Indigo Williams, a screening of Kibwe Tavares’s award-winning animation Robots of Brixton and stalls from local organisations, including the Restart Project, whose members teach people to repair their broken electrical goods, encouraging us to rethink our throwaway attitude to technology.