Where can we be heard?

Oral Histories

Unearthed Collective was a group of artists, curators and neighbours who met monthly at Studio Voltaire to investigate Clapham’s community and history through the lens of creative practice. Where can we be heard? was an exhibition that was the culmination of their research and practice over the last ten months.

The collective has creatively explored Clapham’s lesser-known twentieth-century histories through research, talks, walks and visits. In this exhibition they brought together photography, printed matter, oral recordings and archival material to foreground both found and personal stories.

Unearthed Collective sought to ask what constitutes collective memory, how particular histories are imprinted and why these histories are buried in the first place. Working in partnership with local organisations and community members, their work interrogated patterns of dispersion and places of gathering.

Where can we be heard? asked who gets to decide what stories and places are remembered.

Unearthed Collective is: Chika Afam, Ally Appau, Ariel Collier, Allysa Gatinao, Lottie Gomes, Mercedes Halliday, Paul Halliday, Kate McKenzie and Jodi Miller.

Listen below to a series of audio recordings of conversations between Unearthed Collective and local residents and organisations reflecting on their memories of the area and changes in Clapham and its community. Please note that some of the audio recordings contain people discussing their experiences of racism.

With thanks to William Glass for sound editing assistance.

Adam and Mark introduce the Socialist Party and discuss their headquarters in Clapham and the histories of speakers’ corners on Clapham Common and across London.

Lambeth College Basketball coach Amadu talks about the refurbishments to Clapham Common Basketball Courts and what the game means to him.

Kate talks about her connections to Clapham, starting Venn Street Market in 2009, the impact of Covid-19 and supermarket competitors on the market as a community space.

Oscar tells us about growing up in the squat-turned-housing cooperative 'Rectory Gardens', the young people who established the skatepark on Clapham Common and about gentrification in the area.

Rosy and Jamie discuss the importance of the church as a space for community and celebration, Clapham’s community and the Common and the effects of the pandemic.

Roxanne’s talks about being born and raised in Clapham, her memories of the area, her family’s experiences of racism and her father’s shop Clapham D.I.Y Centre.

Where can we be heard? forms part of Unearthed: Collective Histories - a twelve-month pilot programme of commissions, workshops and events uncovering the overlooked 20th Century histories of Studio Voltaire’s locality supported by Historic England, Hartfield Foundation and This is Clapham.

  1. Starting with a unique idea of unearthing histories left untold, informed by both the institution and the community as a generative rather than extractive practice, Unearthed Collective was born. Serving opportunities for budding artists, curators and neighbours interested in giving back to their community in a creative way are able to get paid for putting together an exhibition, tour and event focused on our findings.

  2. Photography by Zoë Maxwell

Studio Voltaire
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