Walworth CAN 12/10/17 Meeting Notes

Part of our work here at Southwark CAN is to is support campaigning and social action in the borough so this Walworth CAN meeting tried to just that! There is a growing tide of support behind the campaign to Save Harkers Studio right here in Walworth and so we invited the campaigners to talk through the progress they had made so far and what people could do to lend their support.

Save Harkers Studio

To avoid my aching fingers having to type unnecessarily you can familiarize yourself with the campaign here. 

A tour of the studios kicked off proceedings… we wanted to provide an opportunity to see exactly what was under threat. No one was disappointed (as far as I could tell!).

Back at the Crypt (at Inspire) Sadeysa and Grit took us through a presentation (get in touch if you want to see it – I’ll send over a copy via WE Transfer). Some highlights included:

  • London has the highest density of theatres in the world
  • Both Rex Whistler and David Hockney have used the studio at some point
  • There is a lack of space in London to make or build anything – Harkers’ pilot scheme could help address this
  • There has been a massive loss of creative space in Southwark over the past 20 years
  • The Studio has recently hosted meetings of the Walworth Society and the British Theatre Society
  • Flints will hand over the keys to the Developers in January 2018 – time is running out!

Whilst the campaign acknowledges that it is fighting an uphill battle in trying to secure the future of Harkers Studio, it does have a broader aim to raise awareness the loss of creative space/industry and develop a conversation about how to stop this.

How Can You Help? 

After the presentation the discussion then turned to what support attendees could provide the campaign – as well as any ideas or suggestions. 

  • It was acknowledged that securing ‘allies’ within the creative/cultural industries was vital – including Southwark-based organisations (Tate Modern/Globe Theatre etc).
  • In order for the petition to make any impact it needed to secure at least a few thousand more signatures. Attendees agreed to spread the word.
  • It was suggested that the narrative around the campaign could comprise of ‘the backstage story’. Do we know the journey that a production will go on before being realised on the stage?
  • Finding out as much as possible about the studio (and therefore adding to the case being made about its historical significance) is important. The campaign needs researchers!

For more information about the campaign, and ways you can get involved, please click here.


Campaign to Save Crossbones Garden of Rememberance

John Constable and Katy Nichols, the people spearheading the campaign to save Crossbones Graveyard from redevelopment, were also in attendance and gave a little introduction to their efforts to date – on a side note I’d recommend a visit to the site to anyone who lives in Southwark or beyond. It really is an absolute treat. 

But I digress – the journey of the space is a fascinating one: a medieval burial ground, briefly a fairground, eventually turned into a Transport for London storage yard, and now a shrine to the ‘outcast dead’. Some 15,000 people — mostly paupers and prostitutes — are interred here. Their lives as individuals are long forgotten, but collectively they are remembered.

Every month, for almost 20 years, John and the Friends of Crossbones have led a vigil at the gates, encouraging participants to tie their commemorations to the barrier. For more details about the vigils click here. 

For more information about the campaign click here. Keep an eye out for details of an Open Day that they are hosting on the 18th of November.

On a final side note this is proabably the best link I’ll ever place in any notes of any meeting ever. Want to find out more about John Constable, the man behind the Crossbones campaign? Then click here: I Was an Alien Sex God.


If anyone would like more support in getting connected or developing ideas and initiatives please contact a member of our team: engage@communitysouthwark.org

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