Projects Resources

This is how you get places


The Royal College of Art MA Writing students have been working with Art on the Underground to create a series of responses to the Brixton Mural Programme (2018 – present).


The Brixton Mural Programme takes the numerous murals that were created in Brixton during the 1980s as an initial point of departure, and invites selected artists to respond to their diverse narratives, the rapid development of the area and the wider social and political history of mural making. The students engaged with these artworks and with Brixton, writing from their distinct and diverse vantage points to produce texts that span poetry, essay and short fiction, and which, like Brixton itself, feature an eclectic cast. Expect uncanny spectres, resurrected poets, deranged bureaucrats, nostalgic commuters, fashionable locals, curious visitors and a cat.


The final outcome consists of 26 texts, recorded as spoken-word and sound pieces, which can be accessed via a QR code found on posters across the London Underground. The students worked with Fraser Muggeridge Studio to design the poster and accompanying leaflet, which is free to pick-up at Brixton station.

Re-imagining Holden’s Sudbury Town: Lucy McKenzie & Fiona Orsini in conversation

In 2020, artist Lucy McKenzie’s most ambitious permanent public commission to date transformed the iconic Modernist station Sudbury Town. McKenzie’s work drew on historic advertisements of the inter-war period, held in the London Transport Museum archive. In April 2022, Lucy was joined by Fiona Orsini, Curator of RIBA Drawings & Archives Collections, to discuss how her Art on the Underground commission interacts with the history and architecture of the station, designed by Charles Holden in 1931.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to watch a recording of the event. 

About the panellists 

Lucy McKenzie (born Glasgow 1977, lives Brussels) is a visual artist whose installations explore the interplay between painting, style and value. She has exhibited her work around the world, including solo shows at Tate Britain, London in 2003, MoMA, New York in 2008, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in 2013 and Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa, Venice in 2017, and, together with designer Beca Lipscombe, produced fashion collections under the name Atelier E.B. Their exhibition, Atelier E.B: Passer-by, was staged at Serpentine, London in 2018, Lafayette Anticipations, Paris in 2019 and Garage, Moscow in 2020. In 2020 and 2021, McKenzie was the subject of a major touring exhibition held at Museum Brandhorst, Munich and Tate Liverpool.

Fiona Orsini is Curator at the RIBA Drawings & Archives Collections, based at the V&A. She has worked for the Royal Institute of British Architects since April 2006 and has curated a number of exhibitions at the V&A including Underground Journeys: Charles Holden’s designs for London Transport, Mind Over Matter: Contemporary British Engineering (with V&A colleagues Olivia Horsfall Turner & Anna White) and most recently Into the Blue: the origins and revival of pools, swimming baths and lidos (co-curated with RIBA colleague Susan Pugh), as well as contributing to V&A public programmes with presentations on ‘Charles Holden and 55 Broadway’ and ‘Metroland and Art Deco in the Suburbs’. She is currently co-authoring a book on the history of architectural drawings.

Artist’s Talk: Aliza Nisenbaum and Oliver Basciano

In collaboration with Art on the Underground and Contemporary Art Society

Mexican-born and New York-based artist Aliza Nisenbaum will discuss her practice and its relevance to the current political climate in the United States with Oliver Basciano, International Editor for ArtReview.

This event relates to Nisenbaum’s first UK public commission by Art on the Underground, opening on 10 April until September 2019 and Contemporary Art Society’s acquisition of a major new painting by Nisenbaum for Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery in 2018.

Influenced by the Mexican mural movement and its depiction of social history, Nisenbaum’s work probes the politics of representation by bringing together often-marginalized or overlooked groups of people to the fore in exquisitely painted portraits. She has continued this practice for her new commission where she was artist-in-residence, living and working in Brixton from 15 December 2018 until 27 February 2019. Through an open call, Nisenbaum then selected 15 members from Transport for London staff from Brixton station and the Victoria line – from train drivers, customer service staff, cleaners – who, over several hours, were individually painted in her studio to create a large-scale group portrait specifically for the entrance of Brixton Underground station.

Through her artistic process, Nisenbaum seeks to transform the traditional artist-sitter relationship by creating works which challenge the hierarchies of portraiture. For her, the process of painting portraits from live sittings is a reciprocal act, one that sets up an ethical encounter in which both participants give their attention and trust, and learn about one another.

Nisenbaum is the second commission in a new series at Brixton, following ‘Remain, Thriving’, 2018, a new site specific work from Njideka Akunyili Crosby. The programme selects artists to respond to the diverse narratives of the murals from the 1980s, the rapid development of the area and the wider social and political history of mural making.

Book Tickets Here

Family Workshop: Southwark Time Detectives

Join us for a free family art workshop inspired by the giant artwork by artist Linder that wraps the Southwark tube station building. Explore Linder’s artwork using our family trail. Handle objects from the Cuming Collection with Curator Judy Aitkin. Create a 3D collage that connects Southwark’s past with the present day with artist Meera Chauda.

No booking required. All ages welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Linder’s commission The Bower of Bliss is on view at Southwark tube station until October 2019.

Platform, 1 Joan Street, South Bank, London, SE1 8BS


This event will premier Televox: A musical composition built from messages sent between people living and working along the new Northern line extension: Battersea – Nine Elms – Kennington.

Experience this unique performance of the score written for a Duo-Art Pianola and hear from the artist on the making of the work. Join us at:

Battersea Power Station, The Village Hall, Circus West Village, SW8

Pedestrian entrance via Sopwith Way off Queenstown Road

Communications Department

Drawing inspiration from a range of communication methods from the telegram to musical telegraphy, artist Emma Smith proposes new ways in which neighbours and strangers might communicate. Join the artist, invited speakers and musicians in a series of workshops at Tate Exchange.

Saturday 28 January: Signals and Codes explores a historic and contemporary methods of telegraphy

Wednesday 1 February: Gesture and Sound investigates the relationship between movement, sound and meaning through performance and discussion

Thursday 9 February: In Messages in Music explore hidden messages in music and learn how to create musical cryptograms

Sunday 5 March: Hidden Messages and Ciphers is a day long research lab developing new coding systems

Communications Department forms part of Emma Smith’s new project Televox.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us via email. Thank you for supporting Art on the Underground.

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