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South London Black Music Archive (2012) was a project based on community archiving curated by Barby Asante and commissioned by Peckham Space in London. Asante worked with a group of young people from South London in order to encourage a mutual dialogue between generations.

She collected stories from the young people about music and then asked them to have conversations with their parents. These young people later created a sound piece on a vinyl called Legacy Tunes consisting of the most significant songs for both generations. The second part of the project was based on collecting archival material from the public related to South London's music scene including books, magazines, concert tickets and posters. All this material was shown with the reverence normally accorded to museum pieces during exhibition at Peckham Space.  The archive celebrated an often overlooked influence of black music on the development of popular music and told the story of multicultural relationships.  The format of an official archive give a higher status to the subject. A significant part of the exhibition was the map of South London with music venues, record shops and street corners. The map encouraged dialogue between races and cultures in a creative arena, and was a dominant part of the space. It was intended that The South London Black Music Archive was shown at Tate later in 2012, and after it was intended that some of this material will go back to people. The rest will be probably donated to the Black Cultural Archives.


Further Information

Peckham Space website includes text, video and podcasts of the exhibition.



Images in order of appearance:

The South London Black Music Archive map of South London, Credit: Culture24

Barby Asante

South London Black Music Archive launch