Looking Back at Lewisham’s Year of Culture

Inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture Programmes, the “London Borough of Culture” is an award that celebrates the unique and distinctive innovation, character, and variety of London’s boroughs. Boroughs submit bids and if chosen could receive up to £1m in funding to deliver a year long programme of ambitious cultural activities celebrating the unique character of local people and places, and to develop a strategy to make culture an integral part of the borough’s future.

In 2022 the crown was passed to the borough of Lewisham, and the year long campaign ‘We Are Lewisham’ was born. During the year the borough celebrated it’s history, people and place, with over 350 events in its venues, parks and street corners with more than 400,000 people taking part in the events, which drew in more than £4 million of inward investment. An impact report on the events which included music, dance and sculpture found nine out of 10 schools in Lewisham were involved.

Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan said the year had been “unforgettable” and that “together we hosted over 600 brilliant events right across Lewisham, from Deptford to Downham. More than 8,000 young people were supported with training and careers advice to access jobs in the creative sector. Our businesses benefited as people rediscovered their local area or visited for the first time, and the spotlight was on the culture and creativity that exists in every corner of Lewisham like never before”. For more information about Lewisham’s year of culture and to read the impact report, you can visit the We Are Lewisham website here.

In conjunction with this year of celebrating the arts and culture of Lewisham, Filming and photography within the borough has seen a rapid rise with filming increasing by over 40% from 2021! “On Location” filming in the Film & Television Industry has huge benefits to the UK economy as the shown in the yearly BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit Report. Their latest official figures show significant growth for UK film and high-end TV (HETV) production with record high levels of spending which contributes to the UK economy and the recovery of the industry post-covid. The combined spend by film and HETV during 2022 reached £6.27 billion, making it the biggest spend year ever reported and £1.83 billion higher than for the pre-pandemic year 2019 which reflected in the wealth of filming the borough welcomed last year.

Filming in the borough has multiple benefits not only financially through revenue and local spend but can also directly positively impact individuals in the borough. Here at the Lewisham Film Office, managed by The Film Office, we worked with productions to deliver benefits for both the borough and its community by securing work placements for local residents in many of the large shoots highlighted below, as well as encourging productions use local resources to support the shoot.

Throughout the year we welcomed some fantastic productions into the borough for all their filming needs. The most popular location proving to be the vibrant Deptford High Street with Sky Drama ‘A Town Called Malice’, and ITV’s ‘You & Me’  choosing to take to the street for involved shoots that included traffic management, period dressings. Lewisham also played host to the renowned John Lewis Christmas ad in September last year which you can read more about here.

It was fantastic to see Lewisham’s rich and exciting arts and culture celebrated throughout 2022 and were thrilled to showcase the borough’s diverse and filming friendly locations. Here at the Lewisham Film Office, we can’t wait to welcome yet more productions into the borough in 2023.

Photo Credits:

1)Teatro Vivo, Lewisham Speaks, We Are Lewisham, photo by Suzi Corker

2) Liberty Festival 2022, Too Hot for Candy, We Are Lewisham, photo by Samuel Dore

3) Close To Home: The Mass Dance Event, We Are Lewisham, photo by Ellie Kurttz


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