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Modern Cockney Festival

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The inaugural festival Modern Cockney Festival in 2023 was a wake-up call to Londoners and beyond!

Whether you were born within the inner London Cockney heartland or part of the Cockney Diaspora we want you to join us in celebrating an identity that helps people overcome adversity.

Starting with Speak Cockney Day on 3 March (the ‘fird of the fird’) it runs until 4 April with a series of online and in-person events and is the brainchild of Cockney Cultures, a partnership between Grow Social Capital and the Bengali East End Heritage Society. It works with a range of other grassroots, public and commercial partners.

Check out on our YouTube channel a selection of the online discussions from 2023, ranging from linguistics and the evolving language of Cockney, to Cockney humour and more.

The Modern Cockney Festival appeals to anyone with an affinity with the of the ‘common Londoner’, whether first, second, third generation or more, campaigners are challenging negative stereotypes of Cockneys in the media.

The Festival also campaigns for to stop the 660 year-old identity of the ‘common Londoner’ being airbrushed out of history.

The Mayor of London’s Office ‘Cultural Strategy Report – Culture for all Londoners’ report comprises 180 pages and 35,000 words. Yet it does not mention the word ‘Cockney’ once. There is only a solitary, passing reference to Cockney on the Mayor’s website (among over 560,000 words!). It’s as if Cockney never existed….

The Modern Cockney Festival confronts how working-class communities lack the cultural institutions to defend, celebrate, or advance their common culture. As a result, their stories are defined and told by others, often in a negative way, such as the emergence of Cockney being seen by many as exclusively white, working-class. and by some, as racist.

The call for content for the 2024 Modern Cockney Festival – discussions, films, exhibitions and more – is open. Send an abstract of your proposal (no more than 300 words) to hello[at]growsocialcapital.org.uk.

“We believe Bow Bells is heard not through the ears but through the heart”

The Modern Cockney Festival 2023 programme

Friday 3 MarchSpeak Cockney Day – the ‘fird of the ‘fird – provides a starting point for our celebrations of all things Cockney 
 ‘Celebrate your Cockney’ at the Museum of London Docklands talks and workshops  
 Open Day at the Original Cockney Museum  
Tuesday 7 March‘Cockney Women Together’ event inspiring stories of London women who made a difference
Thursday 9 March‘The Evolving language of Cockney’ online event
Thursday 16 March‘The Great Pie’n’Mash debate: Dying? Surviving? Or Thriving?’ online event  
Monday 20 March‘Is Cockney dying? Challenging sociolinguists perspectives’ online event
Wednesday 22 MarchInvisible Discrimination: Jews, Ageism, and Cockneys’ event at the Royal Society for the Arts Manufactures & Commerce
 ‘Virtual outdoor exhibition: Evolution of Cockney through 50 objects and the Modern Cockney Festival’ – virtual evening exhibition, Toynbee Hall, Aldgate  
Outdoor projector running 20-27 March, 6pm-11pm at Mallon Garden
Tuesday 28 March‘We ain’t victims: Social class bias in Britain: the Cockneys’ stories’ event, Four Communications, Hickman Building, Aldgate East, 2 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1FX
Thursday 30 March‘Current East End Struggles’ online event
Monday 3 April‘You having a larf? Is there such a thing as Cockney humour?’ online event
Tuesday 4 AprilFestival finale