For transparency and assurance, we’d like to let people know that in 2019 we accepted money from Peterborough City Council to support our summer programme of artist led community workshops. We found out that the Peterborough Communities Fund was connected to Prevent, the UK governments controversial anti-terrorism programme by way of the Integration Communities Strategy, which fuels Islamophobia and pushes the Counter Extremism narrative. We consider this to be deeply problematic and would like to distance ourselves from it, so are taking the necessary steps to return the money in full. We’ve learnt the value in thoroughly researched funding sources and remaining ethical, and would encourage others to do the same.
Our platform was set up to showcase work with a focus on British Muslims (both practicing and non-practicing). Since being a Muslim is not homogenous, the platform was an act of solidarity for the faith, but very much open to people of all faiths, believers and non-believers.
As time went on, we felt the need to emphasise solidarity across our combined South Asian cultures of multiple faiths. With this in mind, we recently relaunched as an online platform for British South Asian artists to showcase their work and to celebrate our collective heritage.
We are still developing our creative agency as well as learning about community, art and resilience, what it means to honour and serve those you want to protect and how best to have these conversations. Our aim is to bring you work that is challenging, asks questions about the world we live in yet offers hope for the future.
During these difficult times we understand its more vital than ever to ask questions, dig deeper and to be held accountable for your actions. We would like to take this opportunity to say that we do not stand for racism of any kind, Islamophobia or the oppression of Muslim men and women around the world.
We want 62 to be a place where creativity is free and unbound, where artists and contributors feel confident, bold and brave with their work. 62 is a place where we can expand what it means to be creative, take risks and push boundaries in a safe space. We hope we can still do that.