Memories of Battersea: Mohamed

Memories of Battersea is a video oral history project run by Spectacle and funded by the Wandsworth Grant Fund. The project gives young adults from Battersea the opportunity to be trained in film-making while producing short films about their neighbourhood, collecting memories from elder Battersea residents, bridging intergenerational gaps and engaging with the history of their borough.

In this video, we meet Mohamed Ali, a local community organisation founder and Battersea resident who immigrated from Somalia with his family in the late 90s to seek a better life away from the on-going Somali civil war.

Mohamed Ali, local Battersea resident and founder of Elays Network.

Mohamed spends his time working in the R & E Centre on St Rule Street in the SW8 area. He started Elays Network to work primarily in youth development and education but as the organisation expanded, they began to involve men and women of all ages in various activities, focusing on building bridges between the migrant communities and the host communities.

Most recently some of the organisation’s women came together to curate an event called Somali Women in the Arts which saw them exhibit their artwork, from paintings to poetry, in the Battersea Power Station.

Somali Women in the Arts exhibition, held at the Battersea Power Station.

He talks about his early experiences adjusting to life in London, the urban development and gentrification in Battersea and its impact on the lower and working class, the establishment of the Somali community within the borough of Wandsworth and how he founded Elays Network. He also relives some key events of how Elays has helped to strengthen and and bring together the Battersea community, as well as suggesting how the migrant and host communities should move forward in becoming a better integrated, accepting and united society.

Watch the full film here on Vimeo.

Visit Spectacle’s Memories of Battersea channel on Vimeo to watch other episodes featuring Battersea residents’ unique stories.

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Listen to Us: Black Survivors in the Mental Health Care System

In few days the Black History Month will finish and Spectacle is contributing to this important event by republishing an old and powerful documentary about institutionalized racism in mental health care. The documentary “Listen to Us: Black Survivors of the Mental Health Care System“, collects experiences of mental illness and the impact of institutional treatment on black people’s lives.

The trailer:

Unfortunately the experience of unlawful detention in mental health care institutions and the effects of the stereotype of being “black and dangerous” is still relevant today. We hope this document from the ’90, will raise awareness and contribute to make mental health care better.

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Listen to Us: Black Survivors of the Mental Health Care System

This powerful and emotionally distressing documentary tells the story of black former mental health patients caught up in a psychiatric system reputed to be institutionally racist. These black patients became increasingly vulnerable to unlawful treatment and discrimination once The Mental Health Act (1983) permitted patients to be detained against their will.

 

These brave survivors speak out about their personal experiences and describe what it means to be black and mentally ill. You get the feeling that these people were misunderstood, misdiagnosed and racially stereotyped as “black and dangerous”. Furthermore, the disturbingly low lack of patient support for black patients also denied them the comfort and security of which they were entitled.

Their stories examine the harsher side of a typical mental health institution, in relation to the measures of control used upon patients. This includes factors concerning higher doses of medication, seclusion, control, and constraint.

In this documentary, former patients speak out about their life before, during, and after their incarceration. You follow them through their journeys of confusion and turmoil. Firstly, their struggles to understand their illnesses, and how they cope with the side effects of medication. Then secondly, their attempt to rebuild their lives and overcome their dreadful experiences that they suffered.

Listen to Us, filmed in the late 90s is an insightful and important viewing, and its a topic still widely relevant today. Little has changed within the last decade which indicates that the problem hasn’t gone away. However in spite of this, treatment received by various black ethnicities is continually less widely reported.

Statistically black people are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health problem, and are three to five times more likely to be diagnosed or admitted to hospital for schizophrenia than any other group. Also when it comes the populations of prisons and secure units, black people are again over-represented.

There is still a way to go before this group can get the support and understanding they need to secure successful treatment. This documentary highlights these points and demonstrates that their voices still need to be heard, as the title Listen to Us indicates.

Buy Listen to Us on DVD click here

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Last day!

“An anarchist society, far from being a remote ideal, has become a precondition for the practice of ecological principles,” Murray Bookchin (‘Ecology and Revolutionary Thought’, 1963)

Do you want to know more about him and his ideas? Support our documentary Bookchin on Bookchin on Indiegogo

Visit our Bookchin on Bookchin page for more information on our upcoming documentary, featuring the utopian theories of Murray Bookchin

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2 days to go!

“The notion that man must dominate nature emerges directly from the domination of man by man”, Murray Bookchin (‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism, 1971).

Do you want to know more about him and his ideas? Support our documentary Bookchin on Bookchin on Indiegogo

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3 days to go! Bookchin on Bookchin

“Humanity has passed through a long history of one-sidedness and of a social condition that has always contained the potential of destruction, despite its creative achievements in technology”, Murray Bookchin (‘The Ecology of Freedom’, 1982)

 

Do you want to know more about him and his ideas? Support our documentary Bookchin on Bookchin on Indiegogo

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Bookchin on Bookchin 4 days to go!

“And as long as hierarchy persists (…) the project of dominating nature will continue to exist and inevitably lead our planet to ecological extinction”, Murray Bookchin (‘Toward an Ecological Society’, 1974)

Do you want to know more about him and his ideas? Please support our documentary Bookchin on Bookchin on Indiegogo

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5 days to go!

“The old substance of exploitative society reappears in new forms, draped in a red flag, decorated by portraits of Mao (or Castro or Che) and adorned with the little ‘Red Book’ and other sacred litanies”, Murray Bookchin (‘Listen, Marxist’ in ‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism’ 1971)

Do you want to know more about him and his ideas? Support our documentary Bookchin on Bookchin on Indiegogo

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6 days to go!

“Capitalism is a social cancer. It has always been a social cancer. It is the disease of society. It is the malignancy of society.”, Murray Bookchin.

Do you want to know more about him and his ideas? Support our documentary Bookchin on Bookchin on Indiegogo

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11 days to go!

“Partial ‘solutions’ serve merely as cosmetics to conceal the deep seated nature of the ecological crisis”, Murray Bookchin (‘The Ecology of Freedom’, 1982).

 

Do you want to know more about him and his ideas? Support our documentary Bookchin on Bookchin on Indiegogo

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