A DAY OF ACTION!︎  SYMPOSIUM︎11 JUNE / 10:30-17:00︎


*A Day of Action! is free to attend. Booking is necessary as spaces are limited. Lunch will be provided. Book here.

A DAY OF ACTION! brings together a number of voices engaged in facilitating and documenting community-led anti-racist and activist work, to think through ways of telling stories of what has come before, and understanding this activity for the present and future.

Throughout the day, there will be space to feed into the archive and the development of the ACTION! project through donating material, contributing to our reading list, and sharing short oral histories. If you have anything you’d like to donate, e.g. photos from community meetings or flyers advertising marches, do bring these along to be scanned.

The day will begin with an introduction to the project and research so far, by artist Holly Graham, followed by three discursive sessions. Full details are below:

10:45- 11:15 arrival 

11:15 / Introductions 

︎ 11:45am / Anti-Racist Community Organising in South-East London

with Dev Barrah, Gilles Cabon, & Ann-Marie Cousins

A talk and Q&A with representatives of locally-based organisations from the early 90’s and the present day: Greenwich Action Committee Against Racist Attacks, Greenwich Inclusion Project, and the Woolwich Simba Project. In this session, Dev Barrah, Gilles Cabon, & Ann-Marie Cousins will join together to outline key anti-racist work being done throughout the boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley over the past 30 years; considering changes in the social landscape of the areas, and shifts in the forms that community organising has taken on over time.

13:00 / Lunch 

︎ 14:00 / Documenting, Collecting, Activating: Archives as a Community Resource

with Hannah Ishmael, Aleema Gray & Łukasz Risso

A discussion with archivist Hannah Ishmael of the Black Cultural Archives,  community history curator Aleema Gray of Young Historians & The Museum of London, and archivist Łukasz Risso of MayDay Rooms. The discussion will interrogate some of the structural problems inherent within archives, and consider methods for collecting stories and safeguarding often overlooked histories.

15:15 / Break

︎ 15:30 / Then, Now, Onwards…

with Aleema Gray

An open roundtable conversation with all attendes and speakers. The conversation will consider the wider context of race and cultural relations and community organising in Southeast London, from the early 90s, into the present, and beyond. Taking Thamesmead and its surrounding areas as a starting point, we’ll think about how mapping these histories might inform the present. The discussion will offer space to collectively reflect on what changes have been made to date, and what work still needs to be done. The conversation will be facilitated by Aleema Gray of Young Historians & The Museum of London.

16:45 / Feedback 


*This event is free to attend. Booking is necessary as spaces are limited. Lunch will be provided. If you have any access needs that you would like to discuss with us in advance of the session, please get in touch: emilian@taco.org.uk


More about the project
In 1991 a racist gang of young white men murdered black 15 year old Rolan Adams. This event took place within a climate of fear and tension provoked by the BNP. The murder received little media attention at the time. However there was a community led response throughout this period that included a 1500 strong 6 mile walking march on the BNP’s offices in Welling, Bexley. Over the subsequent 2 years there was continued tension, but also strong community action and organising that culminated eventually in the 1993 Welling Riot and the closure of the BNP Offices.

The ACTION! project has been commissioned by TACO!   - It hopes to address this gap in story-telling; speaking with local people and groups to collect information and material about how the racism and division at this time was responded to by members of the local community. Through a series of interviews and collection of materials, Holly aims to document the social actions taken by local people and groups in response to division.

Holly’s research will eventually culminate in an artwork that will mark the 30th Anniversary of the Welling Riot in 2023. Archival material will be deposited with the Thamesmead Community Archive.


Contributors to A Day of Action include:

Dev Barrah is an consultant and a respected human rights activist who has devoted many years to fighting for equality. His experience provides unique insights into the effects of hate abuse on individuals and communities. He is Director of Equalities-Education Project (EQUA-ED) and was a founding member of Greenwich Action Committee Against Racist Attacks (GACARA) in 1978, the first racial monitoring group in the UK. GACARA developed a range of support structures, and initiated a programme for hate crime perpetrators. He chaired campaigns to support the families of hate crime murders, Rolan Adams and Rohit Duggal, and provided testimony to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. Born in Africa, Dev defines himself as African-Asian.

Gilles Cabon has been active in community development and engagement for more than 30 years . In the late 1980s Gilles began working in Leicester’s communities and, over time, focussed more on issues of race equality and justice, becoming actively involved with Leicester’s Race Equality Centre in the late 80s. His areas of responsibility included matters of race equality in education, in public policy, in policing and in community engagement. In  2015, Gilles was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Greenwich Inclusion Project. This organisation exists to challenge racism, racial inequality and victimisation – through support for victims of racial harassment and campaigning for improvements in public policy performance.

Ann-Marie Cousins is a single mother of 2 young ladies. She has a wealth of voluntary / community experiences.  Activities include being the South-East Membership Secretary of the Anti-Racist Alliance (ARA) and Bexley African Caribbean Community Association (BACCA) in the early 90s; being the first Chair of the South East Advisory Board overseeing the work of Group 4's prison transportation system (early 1990s), setting up an African Heritage Saturday Achievement project for young people, Co-founding the Greenwich African Caribbean Organisation (2002), Councillor for Abbey Wood Ward in Royal Borough of Greenwich since 2018,  and reasurer for Simba Housing Association and was elected Chair of BLM UK's Board of Trustees in 2020. Ann-Marie has also been a Magistrate / JP for over 22 years from 2000-2022.

Holly Graham is a London-based artist, working predominantly with print and audio. Much of her work looks at ways in which memory and narrative shape collective histories. Holly holds a BFA from Oxford University and an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art. Recent solo projects include commissions with TACO!, London (2021); Robert Young Antiques, London (2021); Gaada, Shetland (2020); Goldsmiths CCA, Online (2020); and Southwark Park Galleries, London (2020). Holly is a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London; is Co-Director and Programme Lead at Turf Projects, Croydon; and is Co-Founder of Cypher BILLBOARD, London.

Hannah Ishmael is the Collections and Research Manager at Black Cultural Archives, an independent archive based in Brixton. Hannah has recently completed her PhD in the Department of Information Studies at UCL, looking at the development of Black-led archives in London.

Łukasz Risso is part of the May Day Rooms collective, an organising and educational space for activists, social movements and radicals located in central London. The MDR archive contains historical material linked to social struggles, resistance campaigns, experimental culture, and the expression of marginalised and oppressed groups. May Day Rooms is an active social resource rather than a repository; a place where, amidst the austerity-driven threats to education and spaces of dissent, the future can be produced more than the past contemplated.  MDR’s role is to provide a secure transit space where, in an open and collaborative mode, archives are shared, described and conjoined with the contemporary imagination.

Aleema Gray is a Public Historian Curator, and is completing a PhD on a history of the Rastafari movement in Britain at Warwick University. Aleema’s work focuses on documenting Black history in Britain through the perspective of lived experiences. Her research is driven by a concern for more historically contingent ways of understanding the present, especially in relation to notions of belonging, memory, and contested heritage. She was previously the Community History Curator at the Museum of London where she curated the exhibition, Feeding Black, and has recently published work for the History Workshop Journal exploring community-engaged methodologies.




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tel: 020 3904 6637