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The Brick Box - Using Art to open Doors

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by Startacus Admin

The problem with the Arts, the Business, the scene.” - Me, Dec 2013.

Sweeping statement aside, there is a problem as I see it. You’re either in the scene or you’re not. Now don’t get me wrong, I would argue that you are better off out of it anyhow, whether “it” refers to some local business club, or arts association , whatever - work with the established by all means, but don’t become the established.

For me, the moment you become a part of the ‘scene’, you are labelling yourself as part of a group that more often than not starts to subconsciously exclude others, and that can be dangerous. It can be dangerous because you start to ignore or miss the potential, opportunity and talent that can be often staring you in the face.

It is also a massive reason why many people feel alienated from or not accessible to the arts, or the business scene. And this is why this week we feature The Brick Box - a ‘ground up’ arts organisation and The Brick Box community movement made up of artists, dreamers, hopers and no hopers (their words not mine) based in and around the heart of South London.

Not because they don’t look all ‘arty’, because they do!, however as an organisation - their ethos, their heart and soul picks up on this very point - that the traditional excluded person can offer as much in terms of creativity, innovation and talent as the ‘experts’ and those who are already part of an often self professed scene, given the chance that is.

The Brick BoxAnd how do they achieve this? By breaking the arts out of the traditional institutions, using non-traditional or abandoned spaces and bringing the arts out into the very communities that feel alienated from this culture - they open a door for creativity to take place. Through events and workshops, in temporary spaces, cafes and community venues, the group bring music, fine art, film and collaboration to the masses.

Work with the scene by all means - Prince Charles visited The Brick Box back in June this year, and accept all the credits and accolades that come your way, but as the guys so eloquently put on their website;

“We take a people-centred approach to the arts. By establishing our initial bases in working markets in south London (Tooting and Brixton), we were freely accessible to a diverse audience, many of whom would traditionally self-exclude from arts experiences. We believe that ‘novices’ offer a unique perspective and a set of life experiences that are equal in value to ‘experts’. By creating supportive, structured and inspiring environments we provoke, explore and develop new models of collaboration and possibility between ‘experts’ and ‘novices’. We invite people not just to be part of our organisation, but to help us drive it forward in order to create new hybrid experiences and experiments.

We think that trying things out and learning from failure is an essential part of progress. We welcome people from all walks of life to come and be a part of what we do – we do not want to create ‘consumers’ The Brick Boxfor our ‘product’ – we want to facilitate reciprocal learning and creative alchemy that can come in any form - often surprising and enlightening all concerned.”

We have ourselves noticed it within the ‘startup’ scene; that the idea and the talent, can often become secondary to the self professed experts and the businesses that think that they are ‘it’ based entirely on who they know. All of this does little to help create a culture of innovation, and instead simply helps to sustain a kids gloves environment where people start thinking that they are something special.

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Published on: 4th December 2012

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