Usurp Art, our BAME led arts charity, is now nomadic in 2020, having survived a vitriolic attack by what can only be called – racist people. We are moving forwards with new projects, to create a more humane and equitable future. Currently, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, our volunteers and supporters are helping those most vulnerable in our communities. We are supporting our local and international projects and partners, though online and phone delivery. We launched the first public art gallery and artist studios in Harrow in 2010 with our project “Metro-land”, creating an arts hub in West Harrow for meeting, learning, empowering, exchange and thinking, and had over 40,000 visitors and mentored 75 people. We introduced Arts Award to the borough for the first time, training 12 people as accredited Advisers, and our creative learning projects for people with disablities and learning needs have been graded by Ofsted as “excellent and outstanding”. See more about us on this website, join us on social media, sign up to our email list, and watch this space for our new ventures. Sign our support petition to find us a new space

“I know a land where the wild flowers grow. Near, near at hand if by train you go, Metroland, Metroland” George R. Sims

Calling all South Asian LGBTQI+ creatives! 

21 September - 4 October 2020

Calling all South Asian LGBTQI+ creatives! 

Make an original video (3 min max. good phone camera footage is welcome as well) about your life for the Usurp Art Together project. Open to all art forms – poetry, music, dance, animation, performance, photography, comedy, storytelling – surprise us.

There is £100.00 for each video chosen that will be screened by Harrow Arts Centre who are kindly supporting us.

Send your video to: 

Deadline: 4th October 2020

The New Normal Memorial

19 June - 1 October 2020

‘The New Normal Memorial’ commissions – beyond a plinth and a headstone.

Usurp Art moves on beyond what it has faced…We celebrate again to create something new with QTIPOC /BAME /BIPOC artists and creative thinkers (we embrace all acronyms over the decades as they float, get broken and transform) …We appreciate the emergency funding from Arts Council England to support us right now – the usual financial “greedy capitalist” models have been failing our communities for a long time with people kicking back against it – we need new models for living beyond surviving.

Usurp Art is proud to be commissioning: Black Venus, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Lyall Hakaraia, Raju Rage and Nad Ma, Say It Loud Club, Tanoa Sasraku, The Mollusc Dimension, Umber Ghauri.

The New Normal Memorial

The expression “The New Normal” came into vogue since 9/11, supposedly to describe the new measures everybody had to adjust to because of “the terrorist threat”. We have incessantly heard it again in the UK since Covid 19 entwined with languages of war.

How do we imagine creating, making and doing beyond the going back to, or changing a life that was never normal? How can we explore and make tangible what the yonder sounds, feels, looks and smells like in the context of brutalised pasts and the global neo-colonial present?

Are we already living “the new normal” – a toxic, neoliberal pandemic that forces us cyclically to prostrate and comply, deviate from and resist? Do we need to create a new memorial for future toppling?

If the usual model is: Rescue | Relief | Recovery
Where do Rights | Reparations | Revolutions sit?

What ideas, ideologies or ecologies [of commemoration and future change] might we wish to spread/share? In these current climatic, virtual and viral pandemics, how do we care for the self and/or the other when we are constantly reminded to be resilient?

Where is the “we” and who are our communities? How do we create these to have, an action of agency, justice, persistent will, power and sustainable resources? How might we be together as a community in the future?

Curated by Poulomi Desai. Funded by Arts Council England



Together – learning, thinking, building

2 March 2020 - 2 March 2021

Update: In light of the Covid 19 pandemic, this project has temporarily moved online from Open Ealing, with art workshops, presentations and one to one telephone support to those isolated and facing any abuse. Please contact us if you would like to participate and / or need support, advice, food delivery, housing and any financial need as we can help through our BAME LGBTQ+ friends, networks and allies – everything will be kept anonymous as per our charity policies. An arts based and social agenda project to bring together older South Asian LGBTQ+ people in Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow to support each other and collectively build our futures.

This project has been made possible by the kind support of the Community Fund.

You can also contact the groups listed here:

Covid 19 – Support for Harrow 2020

Usurp Art is pleased to announce that we have created a support fund during the Covid 19 pandemic from a much welcomed donation received for Harrow from the wonderful, Malti and Anant Patel in New York. Initially this is targeted for individuals who tirelessly work behind the scenes with some of the most vulnerable, and many times at their own expense. Usurp Art has worked with some of the groups in supporting their creativity in Harrow.  The first support is for David Phelops who runs “More than just a choir” that provides musical creativity for people affected by mental ill-health, in a friendly and safe environment. They would normally hold weekly rehearsals and organise several public performances each year and have now become online. More announcements of support to follow.


Photopoetics – Cyanotypes, Tea toning and Poetry Part 2

18 - 20 October 2019

Free workshops and exhibition for people in Harrow on low income, unemployed or in receipt of benefits. We will explore and create individual and collective photo poems about our lives using the cyanotype and tea-toning processes, and surrealist word games. All that oppresses and liberates will be explored. The Cyanotype process is a photographic printing process that utilizes UV light to create an image that is cyan/blue in color. The process was invented by Sir John Hershel in 1842 and is made up of ammonium ferric citrate and potassium ferricyanide and is nontoxic. There will also be an introduction to opportunities and advice on employment in the arts and culture sectors.

No previous experience in art making is needed and a experienced artist tutor will lead you though the techniques and processes. All materials and refreshments are provided. A £10 refundable deposit will be required to secure your place – email us to book.

Metro-land Returns!

UPDATE: Due to Covid-19 we are having to postpone our physical workshops and festival – we are looking at ways on how raise funds to be able to deliver this project online and will be in contact with all of you lovely people who signed up to keep you informed.  Here is the original blurb: Our acclaimed Metro-land media project returns for May 2020. Comprising of the Usurp Arts Lab, Usurp Zine group and a new mystery artist, this will be another borough wide festival and workshop based learning lab, with lots of tech and electronic creativity for women. Watch this space for more info.

Harrow LGBTQ youth photo workshops

A free weekly, photography project at our art space, over six months with Harrow LGBTQ youth learning how to use cameras, developing and printing and how to create and use images that represent the self and communities, to raise confidence, campaign, educate and change prejudice. You will also be supported for any advice you need. This is the third in a series of projects stemming from the Art on the Underground (previously called Platform for Arts)  “Red Threads” exhibitions.

University of Westminster – Harrow

Wednesday 13 November 2019


Professional development workshop for local Harrow students at University of Westminster. Thanks to Eileen Perrier for facilitating.

The Usurp Tapes Vol.1

Conspirators of Pleasure

“Nothing disappears completely…In space, what came earlier continues to underpin what follows…”  Recordings of the Usurp Art Building. Limited edition cassette & download from Usurp’s Conspirators of Pleasure featuring Poulomi Desai, Simon Underwood &  Jonas Gustafson.

West Harrow Residents Community Action Group

Usurp Art initiated the West Harrow Residents Community Action Group with Sue Terry in 2019 due to public land sell offs. All welcome – group to discuss the future of our environment, sense of place, needs and community consultations in relation to council plans. Meetings now take place at the Spirtualist Church, Vaughan Road, HA1 4DP.

30 March 2020 7pm – Neighbourhood Planning meeting with Kath Scanlon, Urban Planning expert from LSE.

Previous meetings – 24 Feb / 10 Feb / 13 Jan / 27 Nov / 15 Oct / 1 Oct

Usurp Open Space – regenerating an empty shop in Harrow town centre

UPDATE: We are very sorry to say that our wonderful shop regeneration initiative – a first for Harrow, has been closed down. Apparently, the council’s business unit wrote to the landlords intimating that the charity Healthy Planet UK, that we were working with was charging rent – of course it wasn’t, and the charity has written a strong worded response to this.


2 - 31 August 2019

Usurp Art is pleased to support Bloodlines first performance exhibition “BLACK ART!” in our space, a sound and tactile experience in the dark for an audience of one for each time slot.  Bloodlines is an anonymous group of three local Harrow BAME art students exploring race, culture, gender and art in Britain. They have created an immersive experience at our space calling on all of us to rethink what we think. Book a slot now on to have the experience.


Calendar removed

Selections from our archive

Making sense of stereoscopic vision

Commissioned workshop based project for students to understand the use of stereoscopes in the past to make sense of landscapes and topography. Students learnt about the use in photogeology, military usage, the history of making stereoscopic apparatus and its applications in leisure, and psycho-physiological issues of seeing in stereo / 3D. Students made their own stereoscopic photographs of imagined landscapes and used vintage stereoscopes to view.

Thanks to NCVO and all the schools involved. More workshops in 2019.

Creative Industries – what does this mean

An introduction to what the purse string holders mean by the creative industries and how you can get involved. From start up web based services to fine art studios, there has been a shift to private funding of the arts and creative spaces. The mantras include “become a landlord and see your investment grow, become a tenant on a short lease and sell things”. Who benefits, who loses out in the long run, and what will be left for the public to shape our

All tickets gone – sorry – we will organise another one soon.

“We Are The Lions” the story of the Grunwick strike 1976 -1978

Usurp is delighted that we are involved with the Grunwick 40 exhibition, “We are the Lions” that has been researched and curated by our artistic director, Poulomi Desai and organised by the Grunwick 40 group.


Marcia Farquhar & Reynir Hutber

Usurp Art is proud to present the premiere screening of “And I”, an eight hour collaborative video work by performance artist and notorious orator, Marcia Farquhar and experimental filmmaker, Reynir Hutber.

Usurp Art Professional Development Workshop

Usurp Art  in collabaration with Creative Capital presents a one day workshop on Arts Management, Funding Strategy, Proposal writing and marketing. Facilitated by Manick Govinda, Emilia Telese and Jacquie Moses.

International Women’s Day British Music Collection

Happy International Women’s Day with the British Music Collection!

Commissioned by Sound and Music | Google Cultural Institute.

Usurp Art at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi India

Saturday 19 March 2016

2 - 6pm Free All Welcome

Usurp was proud to present, in collaboration with the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi India, a selection of screenings from our acclaimed, experimental film festival, Usurp Zone5, featuring more than 50 works from over 15 countries. Many of the award winning films were screened for the first time in India.  Our free event was very well attended and the response was amazing –  visitors were so excited and appreciative to experience such a diverse and engaging selection of experimental films they all left wanting more!

Listings  Listings Archive

1989 This is Tomorrow: de-canonisation and decolonisation

Saturday 9 November 2019

An one-day international conference examining the decentring of dominant art historical narratives of the late twentieth century.Read More

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