198 Contemporary Arts and Learning reopens after a major capital redevelopment

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning  will reopen on 14th October 2021 after a major two year redevelopment of the site at 198 Railton Road, Herne Hill. The redevelopment has extended the facilities from one floor to three, with new galleries and an archive room on the ground floor, creative workspaces on the first floor, and a space for youth and community on the top floor.

The new building finally fulfils the vision of the original founders of 198 who were provided two disused shops attached to the Hurst Street Estate as a social space for the Black community following the Uprisings of the 1980’s. Originally called Roots Community Ltd and then 198 Gallery, the charity was founded by Zoe Linsley-Thomas and John ‘Noel’ Morgan in 1988.  Situated on Brixton’s  old ‘Frontline’, 198 has contributed to the radical history of Railton Road where activists from the Black and LBGT communities founded organisations such as The Race Today Collective, Autograph ABP and South London gay Community Centre . This history is celebrated by a new mural on the side of the building  created by artist and activist Jacob V Joyce and other young creatives from the R.A.D mural collective. 

Despite humble origins, 198 emerged as a destination of hope and renewal, evolving into an arts organisation in response to the need by artists and curators of colour for a space to exhibit their work. For more than 30 years 198 has welcomed and celebrated those who were denied a platform by mainstreams art spaces. The new building will see an ambitious exhibition programme; expanded creative learning programmes for children and young people; research projects related to the extensive archive of work by artists and youth arts enterprise activities under the banner of ‘Factory Youth’. The building also hosts commercial workspace for artists and others in the creative industries, and a guest space on the ground floor available for private hire. 

198 is one of very few  Black-led and owned visual arts organisations in the UK, and has an impressive track record as a champion of emerging talent. 198  has been the launch pad for artists who are now widely recognised including Pearl Alcock, Larry Achiampong, Faisal AbduAllah, Denzil Forrester and Barby Asante. The new building will enable the 198 to grow its work in welcoming, nurturing and promoting the next generation of visual artists in the UK. 

Designed by Carver Haggard Architects, initial funding for the redevelopment came from The Mayor’s Good Growth Fund, with significant funding provided by London Borough of Lambeth via Lambeth Stride, Lambeth Future Workspace Fund. This funding was provided with the aim of creating workspace on the high street that provides opportunities for upskilling and routes into the creative and cultural industries. Other funders of the redevelopment  include Capita PLC, Power to Change Community Business Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, Arts Council England, Cockayne Trust, Span Trust,  Arnold Clark Community Fund and many individuals and small organisations. The Trustees are enormously grateful for the generosity of these organisations and for the support and good will of the local community. 


Further information


Carver Haggard are a design and research practice, working in the complex and compromising modern world with critical optimism. Their work is focused on the economic challenges faced by local communities, and they work locally and internationally on projects for public space and public benefit. 

The Good Growth Fund is Mayor Sadiq Khan’s £70 million regeneration programme to support growth and community development in London. Working with the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), the fund supports innovative, best practice regeneration activities.

Lambeth STRIDE makes space for creativity and innovation to thrive in South London. They create opportunity, develop talent and support creative and tech enterprises. 

Lambeth Future Workspace Fund is Lambeth Council’s new fund for affordable and supportive workspace providers. The Future Workspace Fund’s purpose is to grow innovation-led sectors in Lambeth and deliver outstanding economic return and social value for residents. 

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