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Metronomes Steel Orchestra

Carrying out community-based research and designing new organisational models to reclaim Carnival's economic value for the Black community.

Funding snapshot

Programme area:
Racial justice
Length of grant:
Metronomes Steel Orchestra

The challenge

The Notting Hill Carnival is one of London’s biggest events, estimated as generating nearly £100m for the UK economy every year. But none of this income goes to the Black households, organisations and communities that create the Carnival. Reclaiming this loss of economic value through cultural organisations like Metronomes is an important aspect of economic empowerment for London’s Black community, who continue to face huge economic challenges associated with intersectional injustice.

The project

Metronomes Steel Orchestra is a Black-led grassroots organisation that has been at the heart of West London's Caribbean community for over fifty years. It’s one of the longest running steel bands in the UK and has been a key architect and ambassador of Carnival Arts in London. Through music and community programming, Metronomes brings people together in the spirit of family, supporting people across all generations including those struggling with the criminal justice system.

We're funding Metronomes to develop alternative organisational models and structures that provide a blueprint for sustainability for Black cultural organisations that are the architects of cultural traditions like Notting Hill Carnival. The project will have three phases:

  1. Community based research, to understand and document the actual economic value of Carnival.
  2. Design new organisational models that recognise the importance of black culture for the black community, supporting self-governance and intersectionally just economic outcomes.
  3. Advocate better principles, policies and practices to protect and honour the economic value of Black culture– both in the UK generally, and specifically for the creators of Carnival.

With support from the Racial Justice Fund, the Metronomes Economic Empowerment Development Project aims to identify the black community’s hidden and lost economic value housed in the Notting Hill Carnival economy. In doing so, we’ll develop a new value framework that centres Black culture, and the people and organisations who create it, providing a blueprint for Black cultural organisations to be self-determined and economically sustainable.

Dr. Gabriella Beckles-Raymond and Phillip Beckles-Raymond (Members of Metronomes Steel Orchestra and Project Leads for the Metronomes Economic Empowerment Development Project)