ABOUT 81 acts
In April 1981 Black communities in Brixton rose up in bloody confrontation with the Met Police against a backdrop of racism, severe economic recession and high unemployment. A year before, Bristol had seen similar uprisings and the summer of ‘81 saw further serious uprisings in Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. It was a critical moment in the movement for social justice in Britain, leading to landmark recommendations for police reform and local regeneration policies.
Now, we invite you to revisit this moment and ask what has changed since April 1981. Working collaboratively, we are bringing individuals, community groups and organisations together to create events and activities that explore the issues at stake and learn from this history of struggle.
We will continue to share the stories of the defiantly exuberant acts of ‘81 from the people who did them. If you’d like to get involved let us know.
Our core values and ambitions are shaped by our
Our Humanifesto guides us
RESPECT. a tribute to fallen and future activists.
exploring strategies of resistance.
REFORM. calls to Action.
REGROUP & RENEW. exploring collective agency and the subversive act of togetherness.
INSIGHT / INCITE. gaining insight into the events of 81 and exploring the action that this incites.
An evolving Theory of Change
How did it start?
81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance is a grassroots social change concept.
In 2016, over 300 people were gathered together by a tiny collective of committed creatives. They determined to plant seeds of remembrance in hearts and minds in Brixton to inspire and reignite unity, social awareness, and community spirit. This would be achieved by calling people together and asking them to visualize a better place, one that would reflect the journeys, struggles, and lessons of the past so as to inform positive change for the future.
Space was then facilitated for the Brixton community to come together to share their ideas, memories, and experiences regarding the impact of the 1981 uprisings. Participants, in this initial stage, were known as the ‘Dreamers’. The Dreamers would come together to share their ideas, memories, and experiences regarding the impact of the 1981 uprisings.
Next, another group would take over known as the ‘Builders’. Their job was to enable, frame, and support dreams and ideas emanating from the large group gathering. The Builders created an amorphous, organic community to reflect the diverse, (predominantly black) cultural tapestry of the society in which they lived. They created a group for governance called the ‘Exuberant Forum’, which in keeping with the dynamism of our times has evolved into the Black Community Led Forum – the BCLF.
We are the Black Community Led Forum; we are an intergenerational collective of African diasporic people, sitting at a round table of leadership based on our common heritage and relationship with the people of the African continent. We are a construct, tasked with reclaiming our heritage – both tangible and intangible – on the lessons of the 1981 uprisings.
We are here to hear your voices, to reflect and mirror your messages, and to enable and facilitate your desires for better, for positive, for social justice and equality. Our interest is in amplifying (y)our stories, (y)our experiences, (y)our heritage and black history. We have the passion, commitment, dedication, and collective knowledge, experience, and expertise to deliver.
Nile Thomas is a Historian, Creative Strategist, and Television Producer. In his work in the BCLF, Nile aims to utilize his passion for highlighting marginalized history to place the 1981 Uprisings firmly in the context of British History.
Arlene is a project manager at the Ubele Initiative. She is also an educator, cultural/heritage ambassador, and community liaison. Connecting our communities, and aligning our consciousness.
Nathaniel is Project Director at The Ubele Initiative, Heritage Consultant and Historian of Ideas, Nathaniel is a Research Fellow for Cast in Stone and the author of a forthcoming, groundbreaking new history of the British Abolitionist Movement.
Their recent work includes About The House, Hegel and Heyrick, and Britain’s #BlackLivesMatter Statue.
Nirad is 23, and has been a volunteer and activist for Abolitionist organisations since 2018, including Critical Resistance in Oakland, Community Action against Prison Expansion and No More Exclusions in England, in which he has been active in for three years. He is an observer with Jamaica LANDS. He is Project Manager with the charity Maslaha on their School with Roots programme. Through this he works directly in primary schools and with trainee teachers.
The purpose of 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance is to manifest important stories and memories into reality: Re-creating, re-defining, re-claiming and re-valuing our collective transformational, lived experiences across generations and continents. We do this to ignite present-day, active, intergenerational engagement, strengthen knowledge, skills, identity, community and belonging.
READ OUR MISSION STATEMENT HERE
THE BRIXTON PROJECT
BRIXTON HOUSE THEATRE
LONDON METROPOLITAN ARCHIVES
198 CONTEMPORARY ARTS AND LEARNING
MUSEUMAND – NATIONAL CARIBBEAN HERITAGE MUSEUM
BLACK CULTURAL ARCHIVES
UNITED FRIENDS AND FAMILY CAMPAIGN
BUREAU OF SILLY IDEAS
APPLES AND SNAKES
THE BRIXTON POUND
THE BLACK MEN’S CONSORTIUM
BRIXTON ROAD YOUTH CENTRE
THE LLOYD LEON COMMUNITY
BRIXTON SOUP KITCHEN
81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance Community Heritage Project is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to fund the work behind the development and execution of this fund, as well as all commissioned public-facing projects.
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST
Sign up so we can keep you up to date with what’s happening.
Error: No feed found.
Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to create a feed.