Aswarm / Holding the Flame
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Holding the Flame - About

Welcome to Holding the Flame

The first in a series of pioneering AR-Statue Interventions, inserted in Brixton’s Canterbury Square directly outside Brixton Police Station and later feeding out to other boroughs and  cities.
Offering a contemporary alternative to the statues in our streets, inviting us to listen as well as view it.

Asking what do we want from Public statues? and who should they celebrate?

This intervention in our public space is here to raise awareness & ask questions:

  • This was the ‘Frontline’ in 1981.  What has changed in the last 40 years and has anybody been listening?
  • What is the role of a statue in the public realm and what could it be?
  • If history is not set in stone, what happens when monuments are?
  • Can we re-invent statues so they give a platform to the unheard?

We felt this square should have a statue to commemorate this location’s role past and present, but not just via another immobile lump of metal or stone edifying someone past. Instead something contemporary, dynamic and in a sense alive.

We felt Marcia Rigg should be celebrated for her role campaigning for racial justice and for the accountability of our employees of the state (police, prisons and mental health care) whose actions and excessive use of force, have at times left families and communities grieving and then fighting for justice.  – Marcia is still very much alive and actively fighting to bring about change.


 Augmented Reality allows us to insert statues into public spaces, that can adapt, change and be responsive.  – They can breath and project a voice – They can celebrate people alive today, who are here and able to inspire, to listen, to question and to be questioned.


The latest 3D scanning technology  – was used to scan ‘living’ civil rights campaigner, Marcia Rigg.


This statue will change too. It is our intention that it holds a torch, as a beacon and baton to pass on to the next person that we (the community) feel should be celebrated in our shared public space.”


The Augmented Reality statue uses new technology, which is still very much in development. This intervention will launch in 2 phases:

Phase One: iOS App to test concept and gather public feedback.

Phase Two: iOS & Android  cross platform App with AD access for Blind & VI users + transcripted interview for Deaf users.

I can’t use the app, how else can I experience it?

We believe AR can be so much more than an App on your phone, so..

  • Wheely-Tree-Screen :  We built a giant mobile screen to wheel into the square + share the experience without the need for smart phone access, accompanied by a real human to chat to  about it.

Dates and times for when it will be in the square, will be updated here on a regular basis. It can also be booked for group/school events.

  • Audio Described – in phase 2 we will provide an AD interpretation of the statue for Blind and VI users.

Listen within the App:  – listen to Marcia talking about what her statue embodies and why she is stood there (5 mins).

Listen to a longer 20min interview Below: –   Marcia speaks in more depth and explains the symbolism and story’s behind the clothes, jewellery and items she wears in this statue and the motivation behind  her pose. (See image of jewellery items below)

Whose behind this mischief?

Of course there is a team of partners who have made this all possible and we’d like to thank and shout out their names.

81 Acts

Commissioned by 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance

1 Acts seeks to understand what has caused division and what has enabled unity in 1981 and now. It will explore how conflict can build grounds for consensus; how justice has been served, and how healing from violent trauma occurs.

We will tell new and important stories about Brixton’s past, build a new model for social innovation that will support citizen participation and empower agency across diverse voices – strengthening community cohesion and resilience in Brixton and providing an exemplary case-study further afield.

We will be creatively bold and daring, risk[1]taking and resourceful in pushing at the boundaries of ‘official’ narratives and disrupting complacent systems. Driven by inclusivity and authenticity, working with people to bring people together in raised consciousness and connection, providing safe spaces for dialogue and reflection.

For More Info &  to read their Humanifesto see:

Gesture Ltd

Gesture Ltd 

Founded by Technologist Leon Barker.

Gesture have developed the final Application for Holding The Flame.

Leons breadth of experience developing innovative projects across AR, VR and Mixed Reality as well as Interactive technology has made a natural collaborative partner for Aswarm, and this is just one of a number of really exciting projects we are developing together.

Drawing on over 20 yrs of experience in both the corporate and Arts sector, Gesture offers an end-to-end design & development service.

Experienced in conducting R&D for organisations such as American Express, The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Honeywell, Hitachi, UBS, EE and Tideway. They have also produced interactive content for London Fashion Week, the Venice Biennale and the Science Museum.

Gestures portfolio includes:

Creating motion capture Tools and VR experience

Mixed Reality (MR) Experiences.

From researching novel forms of human interaction to creating compelling and engaging experiences, Gesture have a proven track record of delivering high quality cutting edge MR projects.

360 Degree Video.

Whether required to adopt traditional or state-of-the-art methods of narrative and content development,  Gesture limited has established a robust workflow and toolset for the end-to-end creation of 360 degree film/video content.


Developing an array software tools and applications that are both used in-house and made available to project partners.

Marcia Rigg

Marcia Rigg

We are delighted and honoured that Marcia agreed to be the first person to hold the torch in this AR-Statue initiative. She not only is a leading campaigner for UFFC and for Racial Justice, and cited as one of the top 100 most influential black women in Briton, she has direct and quite profound relationship with this site.

On 21st Aug 2008 her brother Sean Rigg was arrested and restrained by Brixton police – he died very shortly after whilst in custody at Brixton Police Station.   Despite 11 years of legal proceedings, no-one has been held accountable and the officers involved remained in post.  And so she has returned every year for 13 years to this very place to place flowers upon what has become known as the memorial tree in Canterbury square outside the police station as a vigil and to demand justice . (A more detailed account is covered here: .

And so Marcia returns again this year in 2021, 13 years on from her Brothers death and 40 years on from the Brixton Uprisings, but this time in a Vigil with a difference.  – Once again to place flowers on the tree and stand proud, strong and resolute, holding her vigil candle in a black power solute, remembering her brother Sean and reminding us that we still have a lot of work to do and also that with determination we can bring about positive change!

  • We also recorded an interview with Marcia about the intentions, emotions and actions behind her pose and the significance and stories about what she chose to wear and do in this statue. You can listen to it by downloading the app and pressing the sound icon.
  • Also – shortly we’ll update this page with a visual breakdown to support this recording.


United Family & Friends Campaign

UFFC worked with Aswarm to find the right candidate to be the first statue, as both an individual campaigner and as an active member of the UFFC.  A person who could represent one of the many members and who could talk about the issues and  experiences that they campaign is built around.

The United Families & Friends Campaign (UFFC), is a coalition of those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody, supports others in similar situations. Established in 1997 initially as a network of black families, over recent years the group has expanded and now includes the families and friends of people from varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

The coalition includes the families of: Leon Patterson (died in police custody in 1992), Roger Sylvester (died after being restrained by police in 1999), David (Rocky) Bennett (died in psychiatric custody in 1998), Harry Stanley (shot dead by police officers in 1999) and Sarah Campbell (died in Styal prison in 2003) and many others.

At the press conference, Arlington Trotman of the Churches Commission for Racial Justice (CCRJ) commented: “Deaths in custody and the way that the victims are handled by the state is a tragedy. The [families] not knowing for years and years how their loved ones died and the poor treatment of families during that process.”

He also called for transparency in the criminal justice system and for its workers to stand back and take a look at the suffering of the families affected, particularly those from black and minority ethnic communities. For him, Christian principles meant extending concern and support to the families of the UFFC coalition.

“No Justice – No Peace”

The Brixton Project

The Brixton Project are the Producers working in partnership with 81 Acts to negotiate permissions and help deliver the first phase of Acts.

The Brixton Project is a community arts agency, organising out of Brixton’s vital not-for-profit hub in International House. We believe creativity and the arts are essential to a thriving ecosystem, and are key drivers for future sustainability.

Recent projects include Windrush anniversary celebrations, teachers’ packs for Lambeth’s Townscape Heritage Initiative, lead producing partner for 81 Acts of Exuberant Defiance and Make It in Brixton, the campaign to promote Brixton’s Creative Enterprise Zone. We’re also the team that made the Love & Peace bridge happen.

Tom Barnett

Tom Barnett

Tom took on the task of transforming the full texture 3D scans of Marcia from Thors first stage of workings, re-tweaking and re-working them into the more polished stunning images you see here.

Tom Barnett is a freelance digital artist based in Hampshire. He works in 3d media production (digital sculpting and 3D architectural visualisation), in film and animation, and in graphics and branding. With a background in visual art and education he is as much at home working in a corporate setting as he is collaborating on art projects and is always looking for opportunities to expand the boundaries of his experience such as with the AR elements of this project.


The Alpha Apps

The Alpha Apps

We asked Alpha to join us in this project to help Research & Develop the different ways we could use Augmented Reality applications and test out the latest Web-AR options. We wanted to support aspiring programmers who had roots in Brixton and were Black lead . They grew from a student & teacher partnership in local Brixton school and after winning a string of competitions they decided to form a company!

The AlphaApps is a former teacher/student duo who aim is to look at

new ways of presenting technology, specifically through smartphone

applications. This business began as a school project when (the now

18 years old) Charles Clayton’s form tutor, Sumair Mohammad,

encouraged him to take part in the TeenTech Awards competition. For

this contest the South London developer came up with a concept that

attracted the attention of the CTO of Disney Animations, Nick Cannon,

who agreed to mentor him throughout the process and helped him

with developing this product.

After winning the ‘Future of Music, Media and Entertainment Award’ at

the 2018 TeenTech Awards, as well as receiving praise from the CEOs

of Vodafone and Microsoft UK, Charles knew it was time to turn his

‘school project’ into a real business. The AlphaApps have seen success

after being rated ‘best business presentation’ at both technology

conferences; COMPTIA and The Global Innovation Forum. They were

also invited into Buckingham Palace in 2019 to be congratulated for

their work. Their intention is to inspire other people younger than

them to get involved in technology as they believe this is an

industry that is truly open for all, where the only limitation

is your creativity.

Who are Alpha?

Charles Clayton – CEO

Charles Clayton is an 18 year old developer currently studying Computer Science and Psychology at Ada College (Computer Science College in Tottenham). Born and raised in South London, England, Charles recognises the link between hard work and success. He firmly believes that to achieve extraordinary results, you cannot get there doing ordinary actions. His responsibilities within the team go beyond just managing every member, Charles designs all of the artwork as well as taking a lead in developing many of the games and apps we



Sumair Mohammad – Managing Director

Sumair was the form tutor/Computer Science teacher of Charles. He initially saw potential in him after Charles grew a passion for the project and wanted to tun it into a business. Sumair agreed to help with managing the business and so took on the role to advise Charles. Sumair has been teaching in Brixton since 2015 and has won The Teacher Of The Year Award as well as a Platinum Award for his contributions to STEM education. Sumair manages The AlphaApps’ international relations.


 London, United Kingdom. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Thor McIntyre-Burnie

Thor is an award winning artist and Creative director of Aswarm. With over 25 years experience of creating art works and interventions largely in public and site specific locations, Thor is on a mission to invent new ways we can utilise our public free space, creating interactive and often immersive art works that transform how a site and technology can function.

Father of a Black teenage boy of mixed heritage growing up in Brixton, the issue of racial equality in our public spaces and working to improve how the MET relate with equity with the community, is personally resonant issue for him.

See Aswarms About Page for more info:

Marcia's Jewellery as described in her interview

call to action image


We’d really love to hear your feedback, Please can you email: and or use the Hashtag #HoldingTheFlame


Whats Next:

Stay tuned for phase 2: when Android App is added, along with an Audio Described version for Blind and VI users & a transcript of Marcia’s interview for Deaf users.

+ the next series of AR-Statues appearing later this year