CREATURE partners The Liliesleaf Trust UK secure £1.2 million for anti-apartheid legacy project

London Met's Centre for Creative Arts, Cultures and Engagement (CREATURE) will collaborate with the Trust on a rolling programme of art based heritage projects.

Date: 11 January 2024

London Metropolitan University's Centre for Creative Arts, Cultures and Engagement (CREATURE) is partnering with the Liliesleaf Trust UK (TLTU) on a £1.2 million project to create the first centre dedicated to the history and legacy of the UK’s anti-apartheid movement. 

Supported by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Centre of Memory and Learning will be based at the former headquarters of the African National Congress (ANC) on Penton Street, Islington, not far from London Met’s Holloway Campus.  

Over the next few years, CREATURE will collaborate on a rolling programme of heritage programmes focused on artist and creative responses, led by CREATURE and TLTU shared Curatorial Research Fellow (CRF) who will work closely with Professor Wessie Ling, Director of CREATURE and Caroline Kamana, Director at TLTU. The funding for the CRF will be drawn from The Liliesleaf Trust UK’s award with matched funding from London Met.  

The programme will explore links between the anti-apartheid movement's heritage and pressing contemporary issues such as migration, inequality, structural racism, cultural marginalisation and will be connected to disenfranchised audiences through targeted engagement programmes.

"This project represents a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between past struggles and present challenges,” commented Professor Ling. “By engaging with disenfranchised audiences and exploring contemporary issues through the lens of the anti-apartheid movement, we aim to foster a deeper understanding of social justice and its ongoing relevance."

Known for its interdisciplinary research and contributions across various creative disciplines, CREATURE is well-positioned for this venture. As a hub for cultural and creative industries, material and visual culture, and practice-based research, involvement ensures a multifaceted approach to the project.  

"We are excited to see the contribution that the CRF will make to the overall TLTU London Met partnership," said Caroline Kamana. "Through this role, we hope to strengthen the public engagement and research impact for both TLTU and CREATURE." 

This partnership highlights CREATURE's dual role as academic researchers and cultural practitioners, with a strong tradition in artivism and curation. The initiative promises to be a significant contribution to both heritage preservation and contemporary cultural discourse. 

This project continues Professor Ling’s longstanding collaboration with TLTU, which last year saw her work with the Liliesleaf Trust UK to commission new art work by Black, Global Majority and intersectional artists. It also extends from a pilot archival project on Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Material Culture, Heritage and Now in which they worked with communities to explore and respond to lived experience of race-based injustice, and imagine new futures.

Artist impression on ANC Legacy Building on Penton Street, London

Between 1978-1994, 28 Penton Street (pictured as artists' impression) was a central hub for international opposition to South African apartheid and a nerve centre of anti-apartheid planning and activity. The London HQ of the African National Congress, it acted as a base for many critical activities that underpinned the struggle and the transition to a new democratic South Africa.