EXHIBITION CELEBRATING GLOBALLY ICONIC SKATEBOARDING SPOT MARKS SUCCESS OF £1.1M FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN
31st July – 3rd August 2019
‘Southbank is an iconic skate area, and can be beneficial in the development of skateboarding worldwide. I support this restoration so that future generations have access to a globally important creative space in the heart of London’.Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder
‘The Southbank is one of my favourite places in London. With its breathtaking views, plethora of cultural activity and amazing atmosphere, it is much loved by Londoners, and at the top of many tourist’s itinerary. Queen Elizabeth Hall’s Undercroft has become intrinsic to the character of the area and this project is especially important for the many talented skateboarders from London and overseas who have made this area their stomping ground. I’m delighted that it will be reinvigorated through this ground-breaking heritage project, bringing new creative opportunities to young Londoners and building on the Southbank’s reputation as a cultural powerhouse’.Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
The Long Live Southbank Exhibition will run from 31st July – 3rd August at Bermondsey Project Space, a conclusionary event from one of the most successful UK grassroots movements campaigning for free creative spaces in recent decades.
The exhibition will tell the story of the Southbank Undercroft, from its construction in the 1960s as an architectural experiment and its subsequent discovery by the very first skateboarders in Britain, through to its present day status as one of the world’s most famous skateboarding spots. It will feature photography, film, artwork and artefacts from the spaces 5 decade history, as well as a full programme of talks, workshops, panel discussions and film screenings. The exhibition was curated in close accordance to LLSB’s community centred ethos and features 500+ images from over 50 photographers, many of which have never been shown to the public before.
Long Live Southbank (LLSB) Campaign Manager Louis Woodhead said “It is hugely important for cities to have free creative space so that people can breathe. Southbank is a great example of a space where a whole community has come together and worked for years to ensure it not only survived, but gives local young people enough space so that they can thrive creatively. This exhibition celebrates this and also sparks discussions about other creative and community spaces in London and around the world, which are often threatened through development.”
LLSB was formed in 2013 in response to plans which would have seen the infilling of the world famous skateboarding spot with coffee shops and restaurants. After a 17 month long campaign, the space was given a legal guarantee in September 2014. LLSB began lobbying to reopen historic sections of the space closed off in 2004 and 2005, whilst working alongside Southbank Centre. Planning permission was gained in May 2017 and after an 18 month long fundraising campaign, they jointly raised £1.1m required for the spaces reopening.
The exhibition may be one of Long Live Southbank’s last major events and a rare exploration into a grassroots creative community that has thrived for 5 decades. Each of the exhibitions four days will be themed, to allow for discussions to develop around a wide range of topics. After the opening night, Thursday will see a variety of films from 3 decades of Undercroft history screened in addition to director Q+A’s.
Friday will see discussions on the role that LLSB should play in the future and panel discussions on topics within contemporary skateboarding. On Saturday the focus will be on grassroots campaigns and cultural gentrification in London, with further workshops, panel discussions and film screenings.
The exhibition features contributions from a large number of the UK’s foremost skate photographers and filmers from recent decades, as well as previously unseen artefacts and imagery from the archives of Read and Destroy Magazine, Southbank Centre, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Arup.
The little banks and other historic sections of the space will be reopened on Saturday July 20th. The restoration is historically accurate and true to the original intent of the architects. The project has received a large number of individual donations from the public, as well as larger contributions from the Mayor of London, the London Marathon Charitable Trust, Sports England, adidas skateboarding, Palace Skateboards, Supreme, Brixton’s Baddest and the Architectural Heritage Fund.
Chris Denton, Executive Director, Audiences at Southbank Centre said “I am delighted that the extended skate space in the Southbank Centre Undercroft is now open. This is testament to a tremendous fundraising campaign by Long Live Southbank and a genuine partnership between the skate community and Southbank Centre to realise the project. This is the first phase of a project that will also see an Education Centre built adjacently, in order to expand the scope of Southbank Centre’s schools and young people’s program.”
LLSB campaigner and professional skateboarder Chewy Cannon said “Well done to all of us for making this space come back to life. It’s been a battle! Now it lives on and the sun light will shine through Southbank again. Let the good times roll…”
For further press information, interviews and images please contact:
Long Live Southbank,
Stuart Maclure: +447522069783
Louis Woodhead: +447835058426
Matthew Nelmes: +447837980458