Peoples' Bureau (PB) is a collaborative practice running from London and Stoke on Trent. It is a programme of artistic actions that enable community representation delivered by artists Eva Sajovic and Rebecca Davies. It was set up in 2014 and was based at the Elephant and Castle shopping centre - one of the most contested sites in the capital, currently undergoing a vast development that has been and will continue to permanently displace thousands of people who live and work here.
PB collects and makes visible the diversity of cultures, skills, networks and resourcefulness present in areas that are undergoing urban change. It supports skill and knowledge exchange around the concerns of the communities it works with, withthe view of strengthening the links within these and towards a collective competence in the process of constructing meaning, making decisions and taking actions for themselves.
By engaging with amultitude of stakeholders including the local residents, the developers, universities, the local council, art institutions, activists and the media the PB creates a vibrant platform for contestation, negotiation and organisation. The underlying belief is that pre-packaged information, selected by a class of people defined as professionals in light of profitability does not lead to a greater competence of the individuals and communities but to a dependency and displacement. Peoples’ Bureau works with communities to support them in gaining confidence to hold the ‘professionals’ in these processes to account and in turn impact on the decisions that affect their livelihoods.
PB has worked with Whitechapel Gallery, University of the Arts (Central Saint Martins, London College of Communication and Camberwell Chelsea Wimbledon), Artsadmin, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Our Human Library Bootle, and Artist Placement Group. In Elephant & Castle PB worked with over 20 local groups, regularly and actively engaging with over 200 local residents from Latin American, Bangladeshi and British communities. They are an Associate of Tate Exchange.
Rebecca and Eva, with writer Sarah Butler recently completed the film Unearthing Elephant,awarded Research in Film Award from AHRC.
The Future of Living was commissioned by Create London and supported by OPDC with funding from Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund.