Past Projects

REFUGEE WEEK, 12 – 20 JUNE 2021

Every year, we host a range of special events during Refugee Week in June to celebrate the positive contributions to society that refugees make and challenge the stereotypes and barriers that exist between communities through the arts, debates and cultural exchange.

In 2021 we are hosted Sun Up, Rain Falls, River Rises – a collection of three short stories and soundscapes created by Phosphoros Theatre. These audio narratives will take you to three different countries as you listen to the memories share by the writers.

Three new music compositions by Mira Siegel respond to and complete each narrative. Using posters with artwork by Pickle Illustration, QR codes were utlised to ensure audiences can enjoy the pieces whilst maintaining social distancing measures.

Listen to the sound walk online here.


Walk the Talk events were themed community walks, looking at social issues whilst walking through urban or natural landscapes across Nottingham.

During Refugee Week, and in the spirit of the 2021 theme ‘We Cannot Walk Alone’, a guided walk was organised following the sound-walk installation Sun Up, Rain Falls, River Rises.

This guided walk start ated NAE and everyone walked together to the Forest Recreation Ground. Walking together, but stopping along the way to listen to the narratives of the installation collectively. The walk ended in a small gathering at the Community Gardens for a cup of tea, some nibbles, and a discussion.

The event was organised in partnership with Communities Inc and National Justice Museum.


We debuted our Harvest Gathering event in 2019. It was an afternoon of family friendly craft activities, live performances and food workshops that highlighted the bounty of autumn.

The event included a demonstration of lacto fermentation and the chance to make a ferment to take home, an autumnal garland workshop with Elaine Winter, a live performance by Gang Of Angels, and a talk by Ashley Mortimor about the yearly seasonal cycles and the celebrations of the Pagan calendar.

The event also had a stall to stock up on all your essential vegetables locally grown by members of the Nottingham Growing Network.

We intended to make Harvest Gathering an annual event and develop an Earth to Plate project. However, due to covid-19, our plans were put on hold. Find out more.


In Hajjaj’s exhibition, a collection called My Rock Stars depicted noted artists, musicians and designers alongside individuals from Hajjaj’s everyday world – people he admires and respects, and chooses to elevate to ‘superstar’ status through his iconic images.

With your help, NAE unearthed the everyday superstars in your lives. At the end of 2018 we asked you to nominate the amazing local people – activists campaigning for social change, supporters of young people, individuals who have accomplished in the face of adversity, or simply amazing talents worthy of recognition.

A group of young people selected one nominee to be immortalised by Hajjaj through a uniquely styled photoshoot. Their resulting portrait is revealed in Hajjaj’s show. The remaining nominees were invited to feature in our Central Gallery from 6 April – 23 June 2019. Their portraits, taken by local photographer Richard Chung against the backdrop of Hyson Green, were displayed alongside their stories.


Nottingham Black History Collective formed in 2018 to celebrate and reflect on 70 years of the Windrush’s arrival from the Caribbean islands, 22 June 1948. The contribution from the Caribbean community in the UK has been gigantic in all fields of life. The opening weekend from 22 to 24 June set the scene for a vibrant season of events in the following months across Nottingham, including Nottingham Carnival and Black History Month.

We hosted three events at New Art Exchange:

Calypso: Licks and Politricks, Thursday 1 November.

Master musician, lyrical poet and the BBC’s resident Calypsonian, Alexander D Great joined us for an evening of performance and discussion exploring the social and political history of Calypso music. Through his own compositions and exploring the work of renowned Calypso artists such as Lord Kitchener and Mona Baptiste, Alexander uses Calypso as a tool of resistance for the Windrush Generation.

Style In My DNA, Saturday 10 November.

As a migrant, born in Jamaica and raised in Nottingham, Lorna Holder became a successful designer ‘making it happen’ in Britain, and her story bears witness to the evolution of fashion within the British Caribbean community. Lorna was joined in-conversation with George Ruddock, Managing Editor of The Voice newspaper, followed by a signing of her book ‘Style in My DNA’, tracing fashion trends from the 1940s to the present day.

Windrush: Journeys To Nottingham, Thursday 10 January 2019.

Presented in partnership with Nottingham Black Archive (NBA), we launched the first collection of interviews and stories from Nottingham’s Windrush generation and their descendants. Offering a glimpse into the reasons why individuals from across the Caribbean decided to make Nottingham their home in the 40s, 50s and 60s, and the important roles they have played in shaping the city as we know it. This was a unique moment to unlock NBA’s rich archive of interviews for the very first time.


How did the project come about? New Art Exchange and the Centre for Research in Race and Rights (C3R) at the University of Nottingham have worked in partnership with the local community to create the “Pathways” mural.

Who did we work with? Between April and June 2016, Maxine Davis, Youth Forum Manager, and eight young people (aged 15 to 22) from NG7 Voices Youth Forum/Hyson Green Youth Club worked in collaboration with artists Tim Weeden and Andrew Wright to design the mural.

During the project young people were introduced to local heroes from the black community and their contributions by guest speakers Lisa Robinson from Bright Ideas and Black Lives Matter Nottingham; Panya Banjoko and Ioney Smallhorne from Nottingham Black Archives; Zoe Trodd, Hannah Jeffery and Hannah-Rose Murray from C3R.

Who are the figures in the mural? George Africanus is a Nottingham legend. A former slave, he was one of the first black entrepreneurs of the 18th century. Winston Murphy is a war hero who served in the merchant navy between 1940 to1945. Louise Garvey is a nurse has promoted equality in the health service since the 1960s. She wrote the book Nursing Lives of Black People in Nottingham. The Black Lives Matter child honours the fact that Nottingham is home to Europe’s first official Black Lives Matter group, and adapts a famous artwork by the Black Panther Emory Douglas, who visited Nottingham and worked with the community in 2011.


Where do the patterns and symbols come from? The young people were encouraged to bring in any images that might inspire their design and were particularly interested in African print designs. One of the young people drew a series of links and chains becoming pathways to the future. They were also introduced to Adinkra symbols from West Africa. Adinkra are visual symbols and objects that have different meanings, such as traditional wisdom, aspects of life or the environment.

Creative team
Co-Director – Professor Zoe Trodd
Co-Director – Katie Donington
Co-Director – Hannah Jeffery
Chief Executive of New Art Exchange & Executive Producer – Skinder Hundal
Freelance Community Engagement Consultant/Project Manager – Bo Olawoye
Director of Programmes at New Art Exchange – Melanie Kidd
Documentary film-maker – Ioney Smallhorne


Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad has researched Hyson Green Workshop Units, based in the now demolished Hyson Green flats, for an exhibition at New Art Exchange. The Workshop Units was a brief yet radically new model for citizen participation, where Hyson Green’s residents sidestepped official powers in reshaping community spaces. The project is the first time that the workshop units are remembered and showcased on this scale, and it presents oral histories collected from local people who were part of the movement or lived in the flats.


Rockers, Soulheads & Lovers: Sound Systems Back In Da Day is an exhibition exploring the golden era of African-Caribbean sound systems from the 1960s to the early 1980s. Curated by Michael McMillan, the exhibition presented the memories of local people in Hyson Green and Nottingham who were either part of a sound system collective or attended the Blues parties. The exhibition tells an important history of Nottingham’s black communities in Nottingham, containing archive material, rare record and equipment from the time, and also contemporary interviews.


In 2014, Artist Mahtab Hussain was commissioned by NAE to explore the socio-political context of our local neighbourhood. During a five-month residency he explored the streets, talking to those that live here to develop a deep understanding of our locality. Over time individuals from diverse cultural communities volunteered to sit for a portrait, sharing their reflections on the local area and the issues important to them. His project developed into an exhibition and book, The Commonality of Strangers, which combines photography and text to explore important relationships between identity, heritage and displacement that result from international migration.


Over the past two years, New Art Exchange has worked with Full Spectrum Productions in delivering a new community programme, Jamaica Hidden Histories, supported by Heritage Lottery Fund. The project aims to unearth and communicate information to diverse communities to understand the history of Jamaica, its distinctive cultural identity and links with Britain.

In a workshop held at NAE in August 2014, Jamaican elders residing in Nottingham shared their memories of traditional sweets and treats, made and eaten while growing up in Jamaica. Through these oral testimonies (in video and print format) and a collection of archival photographs, Jamaica Hidden Histories developed an exhibition at New Art Exchange, September – November 2015, exploring how sugar has left a legacy central to British and Jamaican heritage.


Carnival Heritage Project encourages the people of Nottingham to contribute in creating and developing a carnival archive and a carnival centre. Carnival Heritage Project, delivered in partnership with Tumtum Housing, Nottingham Carnival, Stella Vision with funding from Heritage Lottery Funded.

In March 2014, NAE celebrated Nottingham Carnival Heritage in a free intergenerational workshop that shared carnival archival information, revisited past carnival customs and traditions and examined the links between Nottingham and Caribbean islands.

In June 2014, young people were invited to join creative workshops where they could learn about heritage through creating carnival masks and headdresses using traditional techniques. NAE also hosted a pop-up exhibition supplied by Nottingham Carnival Heritage Project.


This community project, developed in partnership with the Renewal Trust, Chase Community Neighbourhood Centre and members from the St Ann’s Luncheon Club, provided an opportunity to learn and share comments about cultures. Individuals selected photographs from thousands of images and produced their own interpretation sharing personal insights of traditions, customs and of memories of back home.

“I thought taking part in this project was fun and I enjoyed looking at the old photographs. Looking at pictures is interesting; every time I looked at the photo, I saw something different.” Keian Gray.


An action research partnership between Nottingham Contemporary, New Art Exchange, and Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust, sponsored by Nottingham Hospitals Charity. In October 2013, Nottingham Contemporary worked with patients with dementia, staff and carers at Queens Medical Centre inspired by their exhibition, Aquatopia.

The aim of the pilot programme was to improve patient experience at the hospital, to reaffirm patient’s sense of identity and for carers and hospital staff to draw on techniques for the workshop, providing valuable development opportunities and insights into how to better support those with dementia.

A team of young artists from New Art Exchange were commissioned to engage with the process as creative observers to awaken their understanding about dementia and produce poetry, an art film, photography and a documentary film.