‘Standing at the Crossroads’

‘Standing at the Crossroads’ a 50 minute oral history documentary about artists in North Kensington is now available online. You can watch it here:

The film was made by the Year 5 class of St Thomas’ CE Primary School in collaboration with digital:works. It documents ways North Kensington has changed in relation to the arts; why the area is so famed for its creativity; and what being an artist from Ladbroke Grove is like.

The film was screened at The Tabernacle on Monday 6th June to a large community audience of over 250 people. 

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Photos by Zute Lightfoot of Lightfoot Photography

The entire evening was compared by pupils, who opened the night by performing the song, ‘Standing at the Crossroads’ by Afrikan Revolution. They were accompanied by three of the interviewees from the film: musicain, Niles Hailstones of Afrikan Revolution; singer, Emzee Haywoode; and musician, Samuel Dubios of Ebony. This was followed by a short overview of the project; a performance of poems written by pupils (of which you can read here) and a dance to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Notting Hill Carnival.

After the screening, pupils answered questions from the audience, before finishing the evening with acknowledging the many local individuals and  groups who worked with pupils throughout the project – many of whom did so at no cost.

We would like to thank the interviewees for sharing their captivating, funny and thought-provoking stories: rapper, JC 001; artist, Fiona Hawthorne; sculptor, Carl Gabriel; dance & musician, Nigel Warwick; musician, Sam Dubois; photographer, Charlie Phillips; photographer, Steve Mepsted; music promoter, Huey Walker; singer, Emzee Haywoode; poet & artist, Mark Jackson; sculptor, Joe Rush; and musician, Niles Hailstones.

The children were also presented by a beautiful artwork by interviewee, artist Fiona Hawthorne (completed piece far right) which she began drawing whilst the pupils interviewed her. 

We would like to thank the following people for running workshops throughout the project: Local historian, Tom Vague, for his informative workshop; Grace and Mike Laslett for telling us about the beginnings of Notting Hill Carnival; Matthew Phillip for giving us a tour of The Tabernacle and telling us even more about how Carnival began and grew; photographer, Zute Lightfoot of Lightfoot Photography and artist, Toby Laurent Belson of Brownbaby, for their brilliant photography workshop; Jaime Turner and Angelique Schmitt for their amazing ceramics workshop and giving us tours of Kindred Studios; plus all the artists from Kindred Studios who gave time to explain more about their artistic craft; Dave Walker and Kim Turner from Kensington and Chelsea Local Studies and Archives for teaching how to find fascinating historical sources of evidence; artist, Fiona Hawthorne for her local walking tour of her artworks and captivating talk; Tony Warner from Black History Talks for his local history walk about the influence and treatment of non-white immigrants of North Kensington; Ruth Morrison and the members of The Pepper Pot Centre, who shared their inspiring stories of arriving in North Kensington from the Caribbean; musicians, Niles Hailstones and Samuel Dubois for teaching us to perform the song, ‘Standing at  the Crossroads’.

We would also like to thank: 

Emzee Haywoode from One Voice Community Collective and Westway 23 for helping Ms Brierley to promote the screening of the film at The Tabernacle; Zute Lightfoot of Lightfoot Photography for taking photographs of the screening; Niles Hailstones from Afrikan Revolution, One Voice Community Collective and Westway23 for performing Standing at Crossroads with us at the screening and letting us use the song’s title for our film; Samuel Dubois from Ebony for performing Standing at Crossroads with us at the screening…and teaching us steel pan every week at school; our teachers Ms Wilson and Ms Brierley for working so hard to coordinate this project, for arranging all the workshops, and for teaching us how to write blogs and such brilliant poetry; Sav Kyriacou and Mathew Rosenburg from arts and education charity Digital Works, who taught us so much about filming, edited the film, designed our DVD booklet, and were so much fun to work with; Ken MacDonald for helping to find us such interesting people to interview.

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Preparing for the Screening

We are very excited to be holding the screening of our film, ‘Standing at the Crossroads’ at the Tabernacle during the evening of the 6th June. We have worked extremely hard over the past few months to create this blog, make the film and produce a variety of creative pieces ourselves – as have our teachers, Ms Brierley and Ms Wilson; along with Matthew and Sav from Digital Works. We are therefore looking forward to celebrating the outcomes of this hard work with not just our school community, but the wider local community too, especially those who have been so kind as to give up their time and expertise to make ‘The Kensington Creatives’ such an enjoyable and rewarding learning experience.

Invite_Standing at the Crossroads Screening (Copy)

The evening will begin with our performance of Afrikan Revolution’s song ‘Standing at the Crossroads’ – we decided to give the film this name too after interviewing Niles Hailstones from Afrikan Revolution. You can watch us rehearsing with Niles Hailstones and Samuel Dubois (of Ebony, and another of our interviewees) on the following videos.

We will then perform some of the poems we have written (you can read all our poems here) and perform a soca-inspired dance to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Notting Hill Carnival, before showing the film.

We look forward to seeing you there!



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Out on Location

On Friday 5th February 2016, the web team went on a photo shoot in the local area. First, we met Toby Laurent Belson and Zute Lightfoot in the studio. Toby is a local artist and Zute is a photographer.They gave us photograph mounts to practise framing our photographs. Our task was to find: colours,shapes,patterns and words to take photographs of.

We went behind Trellick to the graffiti park where we took these shots. 

Then we hunted for images down on Golborne Road. We had to look carefully to try and find things that would make good photographs.

Zute took the photographs with captions underneath but all the others were taken by us!

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Our Photography Workshop

After lunch on Friday 5th February 2016 we went to the studio and met a local artist, Toby Laurent Belson, and a photographer, Zute Lightfoot. Before we left they taught us some photographic techniques by using photograph mounts to set up the picture before taking it. We were then given the task to go outside and look for: patterns, shapes, words and colours. First we went to the back of Trellick Tower and took some pictures of the graffiti park.

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Afterwards we went onto Golborne Road and practised some more. It was fun trying to find photographs of everyday things that would look bright, fun or different as a close up. Zute and Toby helped us to try and see things in a new way.



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Year 5 Camera Workshop

On Friday 5th February 2016 Toby Laurent Belson and Zute Lightfoot  came in and took photos with us down by Trellick Tower in the little graffiti park.  We took photos of the graffiti – we even saw one graffiti artist in action! We thought that it was Banksy because he told us we could take a picture of him but that we couldn’t show his face! Of course, he was just joking.

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The graffiti park (Zute took the ones of us with captions underneath)

After that, we headed down Golborne Road to see what interesting colours, patterns and shapes we could find there. We took lots of close ups of everyday things. Can you spot where and what some of them are?

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Webteam Photo Shoot

On Friday 5th February 2016, Year five went on a trip around the local area to take photographs on location.

First the website crew went to the studio to meet Zute Lightfoot, a local photographer, and Toby Laurent Belson, a local artist. They introduced themselves and then gave us our brief: to find colours, patterns, shapes and words in the local area. Zute told us that the most important thing is to frame the photograph before taking it.We practised this is in the studio using photograph mounts before going out in the local area. Our first location, was the graffiti park under Trellick Tower.

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Next we went on Golborne Road and continued to look for words, shapes, patterns and colours. The photo mounts acted like the viewfinder of the camera. Sometimes we found that what we thought we had taken a picture of had more in it than we wanted. So we had to zoom in and take it again so that we just got the part we wanted to.

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Photography Fun

On Friday 5th February 2016, we met Toby Laurent Belson, a local artist, and Zute Lightfoot a local photographer.

Before got to take actual photographs, we used photograph mounts to practise framing shots. After that, we went to the graffiti park next to Trellick Tower and we were even lucky enough to see a graffiti artist in action.

Next we headed to the Golborne Bridge – the painting of which was designed by Toby with the help of the local community. The titled artwork was made by local schools and youth groups, including St Thomas’ Year 6 class of 2014. We thought it was amazing! There were so many different words.



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Fiona Hawthorne

On the 28th of January we were lucky to meet the artist Fiona Hawthorne. First we went on a walk to see her art and then she told us about how she produces her artwork.

Fiona showing us her artwork

Fiona Hawthorne told us about being an artist and what inspired her. She said the things that inspired her were children, buildings and people. She’s also inspired by the artists Pablo Picasso and Ben Shan.

Fiona explained that being an artist can be hard because you have to find your own work and apply for commissions. Occasionally, people criticise your work and that can make you feel uncomfortable. Fiona said that art can frustrate you lots of the time, but you have to keep trying and find inspiration. She told us that sometimes, when you are painting, the paints run into each other or you do a line you call ‘wrong’- these can be called ‘happy accidents’! You have to remember when you’re drawing to be free and not worry about getting it wrong.

You can find a link to her website, where you can see her wonderful artwork, here

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Fiona celebrating 150 years of Portobello Market!

Fiona Hawthorne, who is a local artist, showed us some of her inspiring artwork on Portobello Road. She taught us about her ink pens and the reportage technique that she used (drawing people in real life really quickly). In total she produced over 208 drawings for the exhibition.

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Year 5 admiring the artwork 

Fiona was inspired by the market community and the amount of space in the local area. She explained that although the shops on Portobello Market have changed, the community feeling has remained the same. Portobello Market is still a diverse, lively place.

Fiona’s biggest challenge was to find places to draw. She had to find lots of unusual places: sometimes she sat in the cafe; sometimes she sat at a market stall and sometimes she sat in her car and put out some paint pallets and drew people and things in colour. When she was drawing, Fiona put other people’s heads on other people’s bodies when they moved away too quickly. However, sometimes, she left the work unfinished because that’s her style.

We think that her art work is astonishing.

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Project Ramp

Year 5 had an opportunity to meet Fiona Hawthorne, a local artist. She took the website team out for a walk to show them her artworks in North Kensington. This included a project called ‘project ramp’, on the ramp next to the block of flats on Wornington Green.

These photos are showing students admiring Fiona’s artwork.

It was decided by the community to change the boring, old red ramp into something brighter and more lively. Fiona was chosen to display her artwork on the ramp. She was honoured. Occasionally, her art is made by computer (like this ramp was) because she only has a small studio. She started to work with a computer when her children were born. She had to start working around them and she couldn’t use paint when they were next to her for many reasons.

Fiona had a choice to change the ramp into anything she wanted to and, in particular, she wanted her artwork to reflect the community in North Kensington. Therefore, to help assemble this piece of artwork, Fiona included photographs donated by the local residents and art made by the children at a local school. Her ideas came from the shapes of the buildings in the local area because she wanted to celebrate them as they might be demolished in the future. Fiona took photographs of anything she found interesting and play around with it on the computer.

After Fiona had completed the project, the residents were delighted with the change. It is going to stay up for ten whole years.

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