Peckham Platform

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About SERP Reactivation

Peckham Platform announce a new project addressing the role of arts in contemporary education. The social arts organisation is commissioning the artists Barbara Steveni and Barby Asante to meaningfully address the potential for the arts to be embedded in schools through the reactivation of the Southwark Education Research Project (SERP).

Exhibitions at Tate Exchange and Flat Time House will draw on significant archives of the original 1989 – 1995 SERP project, alongside new work created through collaboration between the two artists and Southwark school children.

Between 1989 and 1995 SERP engaged over 1,500 children and teachers by placing artists in fifteen schools across the London borough of Southwark. SERP created new ways for young people to encounter the arts, and provided a model for replication across the country by involving the local authority (Southwark education department), the inspectorate, teachers and pupils – thereby gaining recognition nationally and internationally.

In 2018 Peckham Platform revisits SERP’s significance, at a time when the arts in education are increasingly under threat from shifts in policy and the contraction of opportunity for young people to engage with art and culture in-school. Peckham Platform’s project has two main strands – securing and reactivating the archive of the original SERP; and two public exhibitions that present highlights from the archive alongside new material created through collaboration between artists Barbara Steveni and Barby Asante.

Barbara Steveni was one of SERP’s co-founders and the archive of material that she personally collated includes documents, photographs, correspondence, audio, video and artworks. For the first time this archive will be fully catalogued and made available online to the wider public