Culture / People

This is 2024

3 January 2024

Happy 2024, Croydon! If you’re a regular reader you’ll know we start each January with a group feature on thoughts for the year ahead.

In 2024 Croydon finishes its tenure as the London Borough of Culture. So we’re excited to find out more about the ‘This Is Croydon’ finale events as the programme comes to a close.

We ask ten notable Croydon people/organisations what they are looking forward to in the borough in 2024 and what their new year’s resolutions are.

Shaniqua Benjamin, poet and Croydon Poet Laureate

What are you looking forward to in 2024? 

Shaniqua: 2024 sees the end of Croydon’s year as London Borough of Culture, so I’m very much looking forward to seeing what the final few months bring, especially the exciting projects that the London Mozart Players have coming up.

I’ll also be coming to the end of my time as Croydon Poet Laureate, culminating with the second half of my final project, Out of Silence. I can’t wait to see the voices of teens, young adults and elders amplified through poetry in various forms, experienced in Croydon and beyond. Keep your eyes peeled for what’s to come.

New year’s resolutions?

Shaniqua: I don’t think I’m so great with resolutions anymore, as they don’t seem to stick, but there are definitely things I want to build and improve on for the new year. Finding time to write more and doing a better job of taking care of my overall health is still on my list. But I think my main focus will be figuring out what I do next once Out of Silence and my time as Laureate has come to an end. There are so many possibilities.

Ameena Rojee, Croydon-based artist, photographer and writer

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

Ameena: I’m excited to connect and collaborate with more artists and creatives in Croydon. It’s been brilliant to discover the numerous creatives working here, mostly thanks to the Borough of Culture programme, and I’ve been so lucky to meet and work with some awesome people.

I’m also looking forward to seeing what comes after the borough of culture finishes. Though it’ll officially “end”, it feels very much like we’re at the beginning of something and I’m excited to see what grows from all these amazing grassroots initiatives, events, festivals, and so much more.

New year’s resolutions?

Ameena: This is a nice question because even though I’m a bit anti-resolution, I’ve never considered what my hopes and dreams for the coming year are in terms of my local area and community.

I want to find more wild spots in my local area and experience more of the abundant natural beauty we have here in Croydon and on the borders. For my birthday this year, I walked one section of the Vanguard Way starting from Addington Hills (which you can get to via tram from East Croydon), and I’m aiming to walk the rest in 2024. Walking is an amazing way to experience a place.

On the whole, I want to keep photographing my home. Since my photobook Crocus Valley was published earlier this year, I’ve been more and more keen to create an intentional archive of my local area – for no reason in particular other than immortalising my memories of this place as it is right now.

Image: Roundshaw Downs in the fog, December 2021

Anna Arthur and Katie Hurley, directors, Croydonites Festival of New Theatre

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

Katie: The remaining borough of culture events and hopefully taking my show (that’s about Croydon) to the Edinburgh Fringe festival this summer!

Anna: I hope the Borough of Culture leaves a lasting legacy and that the town centre improves (maybe the arts community could help out here?).

New year’s resolutions?

Katie: Exercise more, travel more and to be more in the moment.

Anna: Don’t make any new year’s resolutions.

Leonard Bennett, volunteer, David Lean Cinema

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

Leonard: I’m really excited about big improvements taking place in Croydon thanks to the £18.5 million funding allocation from the Department of Levelling Up. Croydon is set to undergo a regeneration of the town centre and these funds will hopefully make it more vibrant, accessible, and sustainable.

New year’s resolutions?

Leonard: To see as many people as possible visit the David Lean Cinema to watch a film and have a drink! With some exciting films in the pipeline, there’s never been a better time to support your local cinema.

Caterina Loriggio, Creative director for This is Croydon

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

Caterina: Although there are only a few months left for London Borough of Culture I am really excited about our This is Croydon winter finale programme. We will be focusing on Croydon’s amazing music history. The borough has such a unique, inspiring and important music story and it’s going to be great having the opportunity to widely share that. The launch of Rewind: This is Croydon’s Music at the Museum of Croydon in early February is going to be a highlight; there are some amazing pieces going into this new exhibition with loans from people like Captain Sensible, N-Type, Nadia Rose, and Ralph McTell, along with many more. There will be a series of events to complement the Rewind programme too – some looking back, celebrating our music stars like Mad Professor, Saint Etienne and DJ Hatcha, and some forward-looking supporting our young people and emerging talent, such as a career roadshow led by The BRIT, Young Croydon Composers at Fairfield Halls and a one-day music business extravaganza – Music NXTGEN: Croydon.

New year’s resolutions?

Caterina: I am generally not one for new year resolutions….  My birthday is the first week of January and any good intentions seem to go immediately out of the window once the cake and a glass of something to go with it appear!

Claudia Coelho, Queer Arts Advisory Group lead for LBoC

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

Claudia: Exciting times ahead for the local queer community!

Queer Croydon continues to grow – a year into its inception we now have a website – – as well as building our social presence (@queercroydon on Insta/FB/X/TikTok) – and we also have started running our very own events – Taste the Rainbow! After a successful sold out launch at Boxpark Croydon we shall be back with Taste the Rainbow: A DeeperLove on Friday 16th February!

We are excited to keep amplifying the queer art that is being created in the borough as well as give platforms to local queer artists. The future is looking queerer and I am so excited! We have been running socials for the local queer artistic community and it has been wonderful to see people come together – more of this in 2024!

With my other hat as co-host of Their Majesties Croydon (a LGBT+ safe space hosted at the Oval Tavern) I am excited to announce that as we reach our second anniversary in February we are about to officially launch a second monthly event, this time every second Saturday. Consider your last Thursdays and second Saturdays of the month booked in with Their Majesties!

The queer community exists and deserves spaces to come together and express themselves – the work isn’t over until everyone feels seen, heard and free to be themselves.

New year’s resolutions?

Claudia: No new year resolutions as I am terrible at keeping them but if I had to pick one I’d go with working on active listening. It’s a skill we can all get better at and I for one will be doing my utmost to listen to the needs of those around me. We are in this together!

Matthew Sims, Chief Executive, Croydon BID

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

Matthew: The one thing that I am really looking forward to in 2024 is getting out and about more than ever, reaching out to our business community in the hope of creating positive relationships for the good of our town centre. With a general election on the horizon, I am keen to represent our businesses locally, regionally and nationally on the issues that really matter to them so that we can influence future policy for the better. Collectively we have such a strong voice that I hope we can use for positive change.

New year’s resolutions?

Matthew: Hands down, it is to be more patient. I want things done like yesterday and sometimes that’s not always possible! So, it’s about taking a breath and being realistic about what is actually achievable in the time we have.

Divya Sharma, practising artist in Croydon

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

Divya: This year I have resolved to spend more time in my studio in Croydon Turf Projects and start on my weaving project that I had started. I plan to work on Thursdays and the weekends when I can spend the day without interruptions:)

I might also organise to conduct workshops in the studio as we are encouraged to share elements of our practice with members.

New Year’s resolutions?

Divya: I don’t keep resolutions as we all know how wispy they can be as the weeks roll by haha. The New year for me is a way to shake off the tiredness and cynicism that comes with time and try to look at everything with a fresh pair of eyes. No judgments just to remind myself to keep an open mind (again).

Sancha Currie and Rochelle Blackwood, founders of Femme Fatale TV

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

Sancha and Rochelle: We are looking forward to developments in Croydon Centre and having more community centric events, projects and resources for local creatives. We are especially excited about the launch of the Creative Digital Lab and the positive opportunities  it will create by being a hub for local businesses and creative individuals to create and collaborate.

New year’s resolutions?

Sancha and Rochelle: To continue to grow our platform’s community, engage with and connect with like minded females…stay fiercely focused, mind our own business and drink plenty of water!

Dan Winder, Artistic Director & CEO, Stanley Arts

What are you looking forward to in 2024? 

Dan: With March 2024 marking the end of our year as London Borough of Culture I am excited about what happens next. The last 12 months have been challenging and complex, with successes and failures along the way, but ultimately, together we have delivered a wonderful celebration of our collective creativity. To do this we have reforged old connections, and re-engaged a whole new coalition of partners. The programme for LBoC was delivered by the sector, but ultimately shaped and decided by the council and the GLA. This year, I look forward to us building a new, truly independent and inclusive body for delivering culture in Croydon. The seed of Culture Croydon has been planted, I am excited to work together with friends and colleagues to help it grow.

New year’s resolutions?

Dan: To celebrate success and acknowledge failure in equal measure. And to take a few more holidays.

Many thanks to our Croydon friends who shared their thoughts. Wishing everyone a happy 2024. 

Keep up to date with us at the Croydonist as we showcase lots of local culture over the coming year. You can subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, and/or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Images: courtesy of the contributors; header by the Croydonist

Posted by Julia

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