Revisiting BTCOTC one year on

From being featured at international conferences to attracting praise from Dame Joanna Lumley, our exhibition By The Cut of Their Cloth continues to make its mark one year on

Screenshot of By The Cut of Their Cloth digial exhibition

This exhibition is beautiful, fascinating and utterly unmissable – fabulous in every way

Dame Joanna Lumley

About By The Cut of Their Cloth

This month marks one year since we launched our Brent-focused exhibition, ‘By The Cut of Their Cloth’ (BTCOTC), which explores the London borough’s mixed race and multiracial history through the lens of fashion, art and photography.

The project was co-curated with artist Warren Reilly – who has since joined the museum on an official basis as Associate Creative Director. It was funded by Brent Museum and Archives as part of the ‘Being Brent’ Heritage Wellbeing Fund 2021, which itself was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

As well as exploring Brent’s archives to identify gaps in their collection, we scoured The Mixed Museum’s archival collection and other heritage collections to identify new stories, helped by volunteer historians from the local area. We also issued Open Calls to Brent residents and creatives, allowing us to include a range of local family histories and imagery.

The exhibition received amazing engagement from the local community and visitors, and coverage in the local and industry press. Dame Joanna Lumley described it as “beautiful, fascinating and utterly unmissable – fabulous in every way”.

Sharing Brent's multiracial history

Several of the pages from the exhibition now appear in the top three Google search results on their topic, furthering our mission to ensure the ongoing visibility of multiracial stories. This includes a section on the controversial painting Britannia Pacificatrix by artist Sigismund Goetze, who we included in the exhibition after discovering he is buried in Paddington Old Cemetery.


Britannia Pacificatrix, one of the five Foreign Office murals by Sigismund Goetze.
'Britannia Pacificatrix', one of the five Foreign Office murals by Sigismund Goetze. Courtesy Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Work from the exhibition continues to be shared through publications, community talks and academic conferences, including Warren’s recent paper at last month’s Dress Historians Conference.