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Heritage Action Zone

 1,000 years of Harlesden

Over the years, and even more so since 2020, residents have told us they want to improve Harlesden and improve the impression visitors get.

Harlesden is one of England’s most complex neighbourhoods - rich in cultural diversity and heritage. Our programme will pay tribute to Harlesden communities past and present and the Harlesden we want to create for future generations.


We aim to support civic pride and involve local people in their community and environment through art and design.

Harlesden was a Saxon settlement recorded in 1086 in the Domesday Book, although many changes have come to Harlesden since. Quiet village life changed with the Industrial Revolution, which brought Irish workers to build railways, and later, Africans and Caribbeans, South Asians, Brazilians and now Somali and Central European people. They and many other cultures are bringing their flavours to Harlesden. 


What does the future hold?


What traditions did your culture have to preserve the planet, and how can we use those in Harlesden today and in the future?

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We are trying to encapsulate heritage and migration, the past, the present, and the future. This will also provide a legacy project alongside the Wayfinding competition that the Forum has been running annually for several years.

We are looking for anyone keen to get creative and submit their original artwork. Judges will look for designs encouraging people to look forward to living, working and enjoying leisure time in Harlesden and connecting with its history.


Two vouchers of £100 each will be awarded - one for those 18 and over and the other for those under 18 years old.

All the selected entries will be displayed on canvas installations, in Harlesden town centre venues and printed on tote bags and water bottles for residents.



How to submit an entry

  • Entries must be bold and colourful, as they will be seen from a distance.

  • They should be flat and at least A3 (420x297mm) in size for resolution purposes.

  • Your artwork could be cropped to fit printing, so please consider margins when developing the design. Designs should be portrait-style to minimise any cropping.

  • Finished designs should be photographed (up to 3 good quality shots) and sent along with your name, address and contact number to

  • You are asked to save your artwork after photographing it, as the selected entries will be scanned

  • All entries must be received by 12 pm on Saturday 10th December.

  • Entry to the competition is open to anyone living in Harlesden or any neighbouring area.

  • All entrants under 18 must have the permission of a responsible adult.

  • Competitors agree to follow the instructions and any other requirements set out in the promotional material by entering the competition.

  • Entries must be the artists' work and not infringe any copyrighted material.

  • Prizes will be awarded in order of merit to those entrants who show the most appropriate interpretation of one or all of the stated themes in the judges' opinion.

  • The panel of judges will include at least one member independent of the promoter.

  • All entries will remain the artists' copyright. All winners agree to their artwork being adapted or cropped as necessary to fit the banner or reproduced in competition publicity.

  • Winners may be asked to participate in publicity accompanying or resulting from this competition.

  • The judges' decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.



Design workshops

Local organisations will be running workshops to help new and younger artists to develop their ideas. Details of joining the workshops will be sent via e-mail and published on our website.

About the project

Historic England has designated Harlesden a Heritage Action Zone, a national project intended to celebrate and strengthen the identity of particular places around the country. We want to help create a brighter and more welcoming environment, focusing on Harlesden’s past, present and future, and celebrate how cultural heritage shapes our streets.

Join us as we celebrate Harlesden, its heritage and rich diversity through art, food, games, youth skills training and more.

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