81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance


Brixton based, arts activists Tony Cealy and Chloe Osborne, with support from Ubele Initiative and Edge Fund are catalysing a cultural programme called  81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance -  a community led programme of activity that will draw on the 40 year anniversary of the Brixton uprisings (2021) to:

  • provide a lens on our contemporary experience of equity in the area

  • catalyse collaboration between disparate, diverse grass roots organisations

  • engage the changing demographic of the area’s rich activist heritage

  • explore, discover and champion new modes of shared creative advocacy, enabling hidden voices to be heard and championed within the collective experience

  • create 81 radical acts of exuberant defiance and incite future radical responses*

* reclaiming the word by referring directly to the etymology of the word - meaning “root,” as in, “going to the root of the problem’ and embracing the idea of radicalisation as choosing to take it upon yourself to work towards a stronger, shared future world.

The community-led programme will happen entirely in public spaces, be inclusive & accessible and champion social action inspired by 81’s collective research and artistic programming. It will provide an opportunity for our community to re-think the strategies of resistance and resilience currently being employed.

“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Albert Einstein, Physicist, 1879-1955

With collaborating community partners, 81 will shine a light on the injustices that were rife at that time, highlighting the issues around race, poverty and policing and examining how little these have changed in 40 years.
Drawing on the Inclusive, Artistic practice of Cealy and Osborne, we will facilitate a process which responds directly to the experiences of this specific community. Complexity Theory will provide a framework to support us to see interrelationships rather than things, to see patterns of change rather than static 'snapshots'. This will underpin the community-led research and design process, culminating in the creation and curation of 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance in 2021.


The programme is funded by Edge Fund.


3 year plan:
In order to effectively build a community-led programme for 2021 we will facilitate a 3 year process of co-design & collaborative research & reflection:
Phase one - 2018-19 – Collaborative Research Process [bringing community groups together to explore  resonances, programming possibilities, fundraising capacities, ethical enquiries into potential creative strategies]
Phase two - 2019-2020 Pilot programme [seeding collaboration between community groups, testing logistics of public spaces, licences and security. Testing programme ideas with real audiences, generating wider community ownership – including local businesses, schools, organisations in addition to the pre-invested community groups]
Phase three - 2021 – An extensive programme of activity inspired by the Uprisings.
81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance led by the community for the community… generating opportunity to develop future shared creative advocacy, resilience and activist tools.