Peterborough communities come together to eradicate racism through graffiti art

The Diaspora Arts Charity and renowned local graffiti art collective Street Arts Hire have produced graffiti artwork in Millfield to promote unity.
The art on the underpass between Mayor's Walk and Taverners RoadThe art on the underpass between Mayor's Walk and Taverners Road
The art on the underpass between Mayor's Walk and Taverners Road

While walking around the Millfield area, Karima Shah, Founder of Diaspora Arts Charity, noticed a number of racist symbols and phrases that had been drawn in graffiti along underpasses.

The underpass between Taverners Road and Mayor's Walk was a particular hotspot for racist graffiti, so Karima and Nick Woods of Diaspora knew something had to be done about it.

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Nick Woods, Co-Founder of Diaspora Arts Charity said: “We wanted to address this revolting graffiti which simply has no place. Not just by cleaning it up and covering over it, but by encouraging local residents and communities to participate in transforming the spaces. To take ownership and contribute to building and strengthening community ties.”

Their vision to use arts to promote inclusiveness rung true with Street Arts Founder, Nathan Murdoch who lived in the Millfield area when he was younger. Seeing the search on social media for some help Nathan knew to get in touch. He said: “Graffiti culture taught me something valuable at a young age. Regardless of status, education, wealth, colour we are friends because we share a passion for something.”

Nathan experienced racism growing up, he said: “I didn’t understand what was happening until I grew older. An incident I remember particularly was being told I needed a passport to be in the area. Starting secondary school the divide between the cultures was clear. That’s where I first learnt what racism was but I never understood why the divide was something imposed. As I’ve grown older I’ve met people of all cultures, religions and ethnicities who are wonderful people. I’ve heard personal accounts from friends of horrendous acts of racism. As a person, and a business we believe in people and the ability to change, there is always hope.”

The Diaspora Charity continue to plan projects to celebrate multiculturalism including an Arts Against Racism community day in summer 2020. Though beforehand they plan to promote the collective with a number of smaller events.