The Albany

How a local arts hub redefined a community into a creative collective.

Participants of the Albany’s youth and Meet Me… programmes perform as part of the fashion show at Climate Home. Photo: Ines Yearwood-Sanchez

The Albany has been at the heart of Deptford’s creative life for over 100 years, inspiring a community of creatives, from children to older generations. The local area is creative and diverse. As with many urban areas, the area is changing, and the community is impacted in different ways. But through past and present, the Albany’s mission has been the same – to work alongside its local community to support them and create positive change though its artistically inspired initiatives.

The Albany aims to creatively enhance the lives of people who have been previously overlooked. One of their key initiatives, Meet Me at The Albany, has done just that by igniting the potential of older generations who interact with the arts the least but could benefit from them the most.

In partnership with Entelechy Arts and Lewisham Council, the Meet Me programme is an all-day arts club giving isolated older people a chance to connect as part of a creative community. The Albany’s Creative Director, Vicki Amedume, describes the programme as “reframing older people’s position in society, as people who have creative potential.” The programme involves music performances, sculpting classes, writing poetry and singing in the Albany’s choir group.

Driven by the creativity of its community

The Albany team say these activities engage members in the creative arts – giving them artistic agency and helping awake the artist within everyone. Vicki says, “Its point, and purpose, is that people can be creative their whole lives.

As lead delivery partner for  London Borough of Culture 2022, the Albany nurtured new relationships with the local community by delivering Climate Home in partnership with Sounds Like Chaos – a co-designed artistic space to explore environmental issues, focusing on economically marginalised groups. It was youth-led, and youth-centric – housed in a playground as a temporary outdoor venue. Young people, artists, councillors and citizens alike learnt from each other and sparked ideas for helping the local space become more climate-friendly.

The climate manifesto created by Teatro Vivo along with local residents is unveiled. Photo: Roswitha Chesher

Connecting generations

The organisation’s commitment to providing creative outlets to the most unlikely members of its community also extends to its younger generations. As the future of the creative and cultural sector, the Albany believes their participation is integral.

The Albany’s Youth Programme supports young people to unleash their creative potential and discover new opportunities. Members facilitate community sessions, manage events and lead their own creative programmes, creating a supportive network of young artists. The programme’s fundamental ethos is ‘Listen, Connect and Amplify’ reflecting the Albany’s commitment to giving members a voice. The programme has helped young people who want to pursue a career in the arts gain important skills and experience. 

The Albany’s work has allowed diverse sections of its community and older and younger generations to flourish creatively whilst improving their personal and social wellbeing. By learning from the older members of the Deptford community, the younger members have been given the opportunity to become the next generation of budding artists, continuing to make the creative arts accessible for the future generations to come.


By Saskia Rosenbach, Cultural & Creative Industries MA student at King’s College London.

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Updated on 21 march 2023

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