Screening of Poverty and The Media: The Tower

Trailer for Poverty and The Media: The Tower

On the 16th of July our film will be screened at the Pepy’s estate 50th anniversary festival in Deptford (SE8), which is running from 2-10pm.

We worked on this film with the residents of the Pepy’s estate as part of our poverty and the media project. Our film shows the effects the BBC’s documentary series ‘The Tower: A Tale Of Two Cities’ had on the residents of the Pepy’s estate and their views on how their community was portrayed. At the time of release The Tower received mixed reviews, it won awards but also sparked controversy as some people claim it was based on stereotypes of people who live on council estates.

Our full film will be available shortly on vimeo on demand and we encourage you to come and watch it at the Pepy’s festival on Saturday at 9pm where it will be screened. For more information on the festival and up to date information of the screening times you can find out on our social media.

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Or visit our Poverty and the Media project pages for more information and videos.

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BP’s Unsustainable Olympic Sponsorship

The Counter Olympics Network (CON) held a conference on the 14th April at the Bishopsgate Institute where they discussed the problems that the 2012 Olympics has caused and planned points of action for the coming months to tackle such issues.

They were joined by international speakers Derrick Evans from the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health, Bryan Parras from the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s) and Clayton Thomas Muller from the Indigenous Environmental Network. Together they spoke about how their projects have been affected by previous Olympics. More specifically on the issues of corporate sponsoring, pollution, gentrification and surveillance that the Olympic Games bring to cities.

Derrick Evans

 Derrick Evans Representing the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health

BP is one of the sponsors for the London 2012 Olympics, as the ‘Official Oil and Gas Partner’ as well as sponsoring the USA Olympics Team. The corporate sponsorship of the Games by BP has angered campaigners who want to publicise the adverse effects BP contributed to the natural environment. Derrick Evans is one such campaigner who argues that BP’s involvement with the Olympics is an attempt to divert attention from its “incomparable contributions to unsustainability globally”.

He gives the example of the Deepwater Horizon Spill when BP discharged two hundred million gallons of crude oil into the gulf of Mexico in 2010 and then “applied nearly two million gallons of chemicals dispersant of Correxics not clean up, but to hide because it has the effect of breaking the oil up.” This has resulted in oil particles being consumed by the smallest life forms in the gulf and therefore infiltrating the whole food chain. Two years on the oil is still present and washes ashore in the Northern Gulf.

This has resulted in economic damage and health problems for the local people. In particular, the local fishing communities have been badly affected as two of their fishing seasons have been completely destroyed and very few of them have “received anything near the level, if anything at all, the level of compensation to compensate them for the lost income and the lost investment in their one asset, which is their boat, and their nets; and the things that they pour all their money into, to get ready for the fishing season.”

The health of the local population has deteriorated considerably since the oil spills. “Thousands, tens of thousands children and adults are exhibiting in large scale, physical symptoms: respiratory issues, skin issues, loss of short-term memory, a lot of the same issues, they don’t know each other.” And these people have not received any compensation, “they haven’t received a dime.” What is more worrying is that not a single cent of BP’s twenty billion dollar Gulf Coast Trust Fund has “pay for a single medical bill for a single person”.

The aim of the Gulf Coast Fund is to “seeks to assist and renew and empower the most vulnerable of the communities and ecosystems on the gulf coast.” The very same ones that have been affected by the BP Oil Spills.

Therefore, the idea that BP being a major sustainability sponsor is ridiculous as the environmental and human damage that BP has caused through oil spills undermines its attempts to be a “sustainabilty sponsor” of the Olympics. “BP has essentially got away with murder in the country and in a part of the country where the state officials and the government agencies that defer to them are like useless law enforcement.” Derrick Evans concludes to say that: “I want to encourage to those of you who want to shed the truth and light on this apparently multi faceted fiasco.”

Bryan Parras

 Bryan Parras Representing the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s)

Bryan Parras is a campaigner from Houston, Texas who is also campaigning against BP and their involvement with the Olympics. He described BP as a “repeat offender” as they repeatedly have accidents and problems. Five years before the Deepwater Horizon Accident BP had an explosion where 15 workers were killed. BP are “constantly cutting corners and cutting back on their safety measures.” But at the same time they are spending huge amounts of money by sponsoring the Olympics.

Bryan Parras sees the “Olympics as just another one of those opportunistic moments where capitalism sort of comes in and reigns its terror on folks.” It’s like watching little league baseball in the stadiums, where “everyone is watching their children and their friends play ball” while their cars get broken into all the time. This seems to happen wherever the Olympics go, everyone is so “focused on where the lights are all shining that we are not seeing what’s happening” to the local communities.

Clayton Thomas Muller

 Clayton Thomas Muller Representing the Indigenous Environmental Network

Clayton Thomas Muller is an activist for indigenous rights and environmental justice and lead campaigner of the Tar Sands campaign. The Indigenous Environmental Network comprises of indigenous people in the United States who have been affected by unsustainable development. BP’s involvement in the exploitation of the Tar Sands on the East coast of Canada has angered both campaigners and local indigenous communities as the extraction industry is unsustainable, causes irreversible damage to the environment and illegally encroaches on disputed indigenous lands.

It is important to understand that for us BP using the Olympics spectacle, the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet. We all know, for those of us who have done the history of the Olympics, that the Olympics is nothing more than a mechanism for the neoliberal capitalist agenda that is essentially a real estate operation to utilize and justify the expropriation of vulnerable communities.”

Vancouver Protests Image by (c) Jason Levis

In Vancouver, the Coalition Olympics Resistance Network or ORN organised and challenged corporate sponsors of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. One campaign, called ‘No Olympics on Stolen Native Lands’ brought together different groups who were fighting for Native rights and sovereignty platforms in opposition to the Olympics. The Olympics caused the gentrification in downtown Vancouver where the local communities have been pushed out to make way for villages for the athletes and tourists. This gentrification mostly affected disadvantaged groups: low income, indigenous urban-based people.

As well as the gentrification of downtown Vancouver the Olympics had caused the destruction and desecration of sensitive ecological regions in and around Vancouver. In order to build the training facilities Eagleridge Bluff, a bald Eagle nesting site and a site that is sacred to the local tribal people. One Elder of the local tribe, Harriet Nahanee organised a campaign to protect Eagle Bluff by creating a blockade to stop machines from coming in. Elder Harriet Nahanee was arrested and contracted Pneumonia in prison and died. “So she died for Olympic resistance, standing up for her rights.”

The Olympics has also caused the increased surveillance in Vancouver. Vancouver is now the second most videotaped city on the planet next to London. Personal privacy has been negotiated as the CCTV cameras are still there. “And so what the Olympics really brought in was a new regime of both militarization and criminalization of the poor, gentrification of the most vulnerable communities, the destruction of ecologically sensitive sites [and] sacred sites to local indigenous people.”

Campaigners are therefore concerned with how the Olympics “created division that used poverty and alleviation as a way to divide different social movements that were converging onto the Olympics.” Clayton Thomas Muller concludes to say that it is absurd that BP is a sustainability partner of the Olympics, “it is nothing more than greenwashing of their horrific human rights abuses and crimes of ecocide against the sacredness of the earth”.

Click London Olympics for more blogs
See our Olympics project pages for more information and videos.
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Exodus 2 DVD Special Offer

Spectacle has a special 2 DVD offer: Exodus Extended Mix and Exodus from Babylon for £18.00 (including VAT and post)

Exodus Extended Mix

 

Never seen on UK TV Exodus Extended Mix was broadcast by ARTE in Germany, France  and Italy. It contains all the 26 minutes of Exodus: Movement of Jah People that Channel 4 broadcast plus an extra 18 minutes on HAZ Manor, attempts to get the Ark, on prohibition and the police operations.

Exodus offer working, viable solutions to many of society’s stated ills, poverty, crime, drugs, unemployment and the break down of community.

Exodus is a unique urban phenomenon which does not simply confront but intelligently challenges society’s assumptions and values. They offer working, viable solutions to many of society’s stated ills, poverty, crime, drugs, unemployment and the break down of community. Exodus blend a volatile mixture of rastafarianism, new-age punk and street smart politics. ‘We are not drop outs but force outs.’

Exodus from Babylon

 


The utopian Luton based Exodus Collective has met with powerful opposition. This film investigates the intricate web of this opposition and identifies a number of interlocking interests at play.

The Luton based Exodus Collective came into existence in 1992 as part of the growing DIY culture which arose in response to unemployment, poverty and frustration amongst young people.

They organised free ‘rave’ parties, renovated derelict homes, set up a community farm and now plan to open a community centre.Some of their activities border on illegality but they are entirely peaceful Exodus has a huge following amongst local people.

Their philosophy has a strong spiritual strand, appealing to notions of community and natural justice in its struggle for survival and renewal. However, their utopian project presents a challenge to the status quo and has met with powerful opposition.

Exodus from Babylon investigates the intricate web of this opposition, from aggressive policing to local government obstruction. It reveals the shift in policing from reactive peace keeping to proactive intervention, involving a series of special operations by Bedfordshire Police.

The programme looks in detail at a number of police actions against Exodus, including the prosecution and acquittal of collective member, Paul Taylor, for possession of Ecstasy and for murder. It asks why the strategy of getting tough with Exodus emerged and identifies a number of interlocking interests at play.

Exodus from Babylon contains original music by the Exodus Collective and some great reggae tunes.

Buy on Paypal below or visit our distribution page for details of other payment methods

£15.00 +VAT = £18.00 (post is included)

 

Exodus Special Select buyer,language and format

Visit Spectacle’s Archive for more videos on Exodus and Marsh Farm
Watch Cracklife music video. Shot in a one day workshop on Marsh Farm with Marsh Farm Outreach and local youth
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Evicted for Sport

:courtesy: Ravi Chaudhary/Governance Now.

This year, the commonwealth games are held in Delhi. Minister of Delhi 2010 Sheila Dikshit’s  concept of a “World Class” image has convinced local officials to  demolish any slums local to the commonwealth venues.

On the 7th of July 2010, during work hours, a government funded demolition team took bulldozers to the Yamuna Khada school (funded by donations) in order for it to be ruthlessly demolished. Those who attended and worked at the school were given three hours to vacate the property with no alternative. Police were present along with the construction teams and were seen destroying whatever could be demolished by hand in order to put fear into local residents. Many were removed with physical force.

After the destruction of the school, children as young as five years old were seen with teachers attempting to salvage items from the rubble of the school in order to save whatever they could for their community.  The children will have to relocate to the nearest alternative school three miles away in order to have an education. The school as part of the community was by no means a luxury but a necessity. With no immediate community to move to it is unknown when they are next able to continue their education and their lives.

Children from slums (including the Yamuna slums) have come together to produce a book of poems entitled “We Built This City” in order to save at least the memory of the community that they and their families have spent the last 25 years building. This emotional and reflective collection is the only weapon these children have against the bulldozers and police sent in by the government. With India hoping to host the 2016 Olympics it’s a wonder how far this abuse of the poor is going to go.

To find out more about what is happening concerning the destruction of the slum communities and to help support those who have suffered from the effects of the redevelopment of the Yamuna river, please visit Sarai and Governance now. If you would like to see how we have looked at this issue, please see our London / Delhi Project.

With similar effects seen in Beijing (Olympics 2008) and the UK (arguably with less government approved violence), it is questionable whether the development of these cities to create a “world class image” is necessary or progressive. The compaction of poor communities increases the class divide as well as reducing the opportunity for the poor to improve their standard of living.

Interestingly the official explanation for why the school needed to be demolished was “security”, the same reason given for demolishing the 100 year old Manor Gardens Allotments in London. These mega-events last only a few weeks- demolition is forever. There is only one difference between the events in London and Delhi. Eviction with a smile.

Remember- Its not losing that matters, its the taking part.

Click London Olympics for more blogs
See our Olympics project pages for more information and videos.
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

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REFUSING TO ACCEPT ONE’S PLACE, Tate Britain, May 7th

‘Refusing to Accept One’s Place’ is a discussion event held by This Is Not a Gateway exploring urban poverty and social exclusion.

Among the speakers will be Mark Saunders who will be talking on Poverty as a Media Event and Olympic Social Cleansing, based on Spectacle’s ongoing Poverty and the Media and London Olympics 2012 projects.

RESISTANCE & SPATIAL REFORMERS:

REFUSING TO ACCEPT ONE’S PLACE

FRIDAY 07 MAY 2010, 6:30PM

TATE BRITAIN {Turner’s Italian Odyessy T7}

* The salon is free but registration is necessary: salonsATthisisnotagateway.net *

As part of European Alternative’s Transeuropa Festival and Tate Britain’s Late at Tate event East is East, This Is Not A Gateway are organising a salon ‘Resistance and Spatial Reformers: Refusing To Accept One’s Place’.

The EA Festival is tackling the European Commission‘s 2010 theme ‘Poverty & Social Exclusion’- their specific interest is exploring the return of slums to European cities. Tate Britain‘s Cross Cultural Contemporary Art Team are looking at contested spaces and notions of London’s East End for their event ‘East is East’. TINAG’s interest in both these areas is the potential to explore the psycho/social idea of ‘refusing to accept one’s place’.

The salon will explore how notions of poverty are constructed, the return of slums in Europe, understandings of democracy, the links between land ownership and social exclusion and the psycho/social condition of Refusing To Accept One’s Place that may have motivated social and spatial reformers – past & present.

Speakers:

.       Ruhana Ali, Community Organising Foundation

.       David Rosenberg, teacher and guide of radical history walks in East London

.       Andrea Luka Zimmerman & Lasse Johansson, Fugitive Images

.       Kevin Cahill, investigative journalist and author of ‘Who Own’s Britain’

.       Oliver Ressler, artist and filmmaker

.       Andrea Gibbons, Right to the City, JustSpace and PM Press.

.       Mark Saunders, Spectacle Documentaries

.       Paul Trevor, photographer ‘Eastender Archive’

* Salons are free and there are always beer and bagels *

Information on previous salons (press releases and post-salon essays) can be found here.

This Is Not A Gateway hold a year long series of salon discussions focused on urban citizenship and cross-cultural exchanges with speakers from a range of fields and backgrounds. The salons are integral to developing a participant-led programme – a testing ground to see what questions and work are being produced in and on cities, and what formats might be possible.

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Luton focus of ‘Changing Britain’, Channel 4 News

Luton was the focus of the Channel 4 News piece ‘Changing Britain‘ aired on Tuesday 23rd March.

On the streets of Luton and in the context of it’s pronounced industrial and migrant history, Jon Snow’s report examined crime, unemployment and the benefit’s trap, and inviting local perspectives on the upcoming elections.

The Snowblog ‘Hats off for Luton’, published prior to the broadcast, recognises Luton as “merely the tip of a very British reality, a snapshot of a country with vast social challenges extending far beyond what we mainly talk about – fixing the deficit.”

Glenn Jenkins (who extends the discussion in A view from the Marsh Farm estate) and other Marsh Farm Outreach members also feature in the programme. Spectacle have been working with the group for over 15 years, most recently on our Poverty and Participation in the Media project for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, but also during the early community activism and outreach principles of the Exodus Collective (now Leviticus and MFO), about whom Spectacle produced two films Exodus Movement of Jah People and Exodus from Babylon.

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Poverty 2010

MarshFarm_Purley2

It’s 2010 the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, “The fight against poverty and social exclusion is one of the EU’s central objectives and our shared approach has been an important tool to guide and support action in the Member States,” said Social Affairs Commissioner, Vladimir Pidla. “The European Year will take this even further, by raising awareness of the way poverty continues to blight the daily lives of so many Europeans.” (Press release, Europa) Let’s hope the funding is spent in a productive way so the campaign reaches the specific goals and targets which actually make an impact on peoples lives.

We kicked off 2010 with the London’s biggest public transport fare hike in history, brought in by the Mayor’s office. This action does nothing to combat poverty, decreasing the ability for low income families to manouvre around London and access the opportunities on offer.

“Underground fares will rise by an average 3.9 per cent from January, while bus fares will go up by 12.7 per cent. Boris Johnson, the mayor, said the increases were comparable to similar-sized increases in 2005 and 2006 under Ken Livingstone, his predecessor. However, since inflation is far lower than in the previous years, the coming increase is significantly higher in real terms and the largest since Transport for London took over responsibility for London’s transport network in 2000.”
(Robert Wright, Big fare rises unveiled for London, Financial Times, 10/15/09)
The richer portions of our society will not be affected by the rise but the poor portions will definitely feel the affects of the rise in their daily lives.
And finally I’d like to relay some facts taken from the Shelter website.
• 1.6 million children in Britain live in housing that is overcrowded, temporary, or run-down.
• Over 1 million children live in overcrowded housing.
• More than 90,000 homeless children in England are living in temporary accommodation.
• 4 million children in the United Kingdom live in poverty after their housing costs have been paid.

We need to take these facts very seriously because the children are our future so together through our actions assist in providing a better life for them.

It’s good to see the EU coming together to try and eradicate poverty but until the Government and society address issues that effect peoples day to day lives such as transport, housing, education and other basic needs, we can’t expect to see the inequality gap close.

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Reality TV shoot – caption competition #5

The Public Relations Guru

Being in a Reality TV programme can be psychologically damaging. To make sure you can financially benefit from your exploitation it is a good idea to have a public relations agent. He will look over product endorsement contracts for you and make sure when your private life is exposed in the press it is on the front page.

The PR consultant will oversee your career

The PR consultant will oversee your career

What do  you think he is advising the contestant??

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Follow the link if you would like to know more about our Poverty and Participation in the Media project

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #1

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #2

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #3

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #4

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #5

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Reality TV shoot – caption competition #4

The Victim Contestant

In this picture the contestant is trying hard to win and keep his dignity. He is thinking about the fame and fortune that will follow. How the woman at the check out is going to say something like “‘Ere weren’t you on telly last night?”

How am I doing?

How am I doing?

What else is he thinking? Any ideas?

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Follow the link if you would like to know more about our Poverty and Participation in the Media project

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #1

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #2

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #3

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #4

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #5

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Reality TV shoot – caption competition #3

Studio Audience

The nice people at the Television company invite their  friends and family to be in the studio audience. Being in a TV audience is very easy but these days you need to know how to Whoop! like an American, which some English people find hard to do. You can practice this at home before you go “on set”.

Two reality TV fans are in the audience

Two reality TV fans in the audience

Can you think what they are saying?

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Follow the link if you would like to know more about our Poverty and Participation in the Media project

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #1

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #2

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #3

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #4

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #5

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