‘From Pop Art to Community Arts: Hackney in the 1970s-80s’ – a film commission by the Hackney Museum for their British Museum Partnership exhibition ‘Warhol to Walker: American prints from pop art to today’, 11 July – 16 Sep 2017. This special exhibition explored the influence print movements have had on Hackney. Starting with the explosion of pop art in the 1960s, the exhibition displayed works on loan from the British Museum by celebrated artists including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Kara Walker alongside Hackney artists.

‘Seed to Harvest’. Thanks to the continuing support of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, I have been able to organise a Sukkot meal and live performance event in Dublin on October 16, 2016. The Quartet (Olesya Zdorovetska – voice, Nick Roth – saxophones, Olie Brice – double bass, Matthew Jacobson – percussion) performed Seeds II, a study of plant genetics composed by Nick Roth, followed by a free improvisation. The visuals for the performance were created from the material I collected in Lviv and the Carpathians during my recent research trip funded by the Asylum Arts (US) and a-n Travel Bursary (UK).

‘In the footsteps of Hanukkah’ – an audio-visual project culminated in the live performance at Moscow’s Ziferblat cafe and arts space on December 23, 2015. I was supported by The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and ROI Community to collaborate with the musicians of Moscow based Klezmer Ensemble “Yosef-Kapelye” and the singer Anna Smirnitskaya. Here are two songs from the programme – follow this vimeo link for more.

 ‘Playing In or Out?’ – a commission by the V&A Museum of Childhood to look at cross generational patterns of play in East London through interviews, photographs and video. This is an extract from a film made together with Cayley Primary School children using flip cameras.  Aris Lanaridis wrote this beautiful sound track.

24Hour Hackney is a day in the life of our neighbourhood. Each hour of the day, is represented by one minute of screen time. The clock strikes 7am and our journey begins. Watch the Open School East vimeo channel to see the full film as well as other films shown at 2015 Open Cinema Festival.

The film was screened at the festival celebrating digital filmmaking and Hackney on 21 November 2015 as part of the Open Cinema 8-month digital film project led by artist Neil Cummings. Working with a pool of film professionals and enthusiasts, Open Cinema collectively researched, found and made digital films. In the spirit of collaborative learning, we explored the role of film in representing and reactivating people and places.

Here is another contribution to the festival – the Archive showreel I curated and edited:

Since 2012 I have been collaborating with fellow photographer Peter Young on a multimedia archival project What is Chats Palace? The best way to summarise our motivation behind this initiative would be to quote the writer and researcher Ken Worpole: “In the 1970s the idea that everybody could make art was so strong and Hackney was such a vibrant area with a strong radical political tradition that it was no surprise that it became one of the key geographical areas where community arts really flourished”.

And so inspired by the story of Chats Palace, formed in the heart of this era, our aim is to create an audio-visual resource accessible to a wide audience through a blog, exhibitions, interactive workshops in the community, and a public programme of reminiscence, screenings and talks.

Here are a few excerpts from our ongoing work with archival footage and people’s reminiscences of Chats Palace and of the area.

1. Martin Goodrich, co-founder of the Free Form Community Arts Trust, speaks of his understanding of socialism and art; and of his grandfather – Henry Edwin Goodrich – the first Labour councillor and the first Labour MP of Hackney. It so happened that we discovered in the Hackney Archives this digitised silent 16mm footage showing the opening of Nisbet House, in which Henry Goodrich, then Mayor of Hackney, accompanies King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in their tour of the estate (1939). Nisbet House still stands on Homerton High Street across Brooksby’s Walk, a stone’s throw away from Chats Palace.

2. Hackney Marsh Fun Festival, the two day event which ran from 1974 to 1989, was a prototype community festival and in many ways became a key reason why Chats Palace itself came into existence in 1976, through the need for a permanent base for the year-round festival programme. Here is a little montage from 1977:

3. Brian Walker recalls growing up near the River Lea and playing on Hackney Marshes in the 40’s and 50’s and includes an old pub song from the post war period. This short piece was short-listed by the ‘My London Film’ competition, held in partnership with Time Out London and YouTube, and was screened at the East End Film Festival in June 2014.

4. Annie Smol, Kevin Jones, Charlie Brown and Brian Walker share their memories of Homerton, Kingsmead Adventure Playground, Hackney Marsh Fun Festival, Musical Hall and more.


More film

‘Clorinde – Cecile & The Knights’, filmed by Asya Gefter in Trangallan Newington Green, London 2012