Battersea Power Station on English Heritage ‘At risk’ list.

Battersea Power Station is rated as in “very bad” condition on English Heritage’s just published ‘Heritage at Risk’ list.

Battersea Power Station
The landmark building was upgraded to grade II* in October 2007 but is given only D priority.

Read more about our Battersea Power Station project.

Is Miliband obstructing justice?

The controversy surrounding former Guantanamo resident Binyam Mohamed’s treatment at the hands of British intelligence officers continues to grow as the government is exposed in a cover up operation.

David Miliband stands accused of asking the US government to support his claims that the US would break off intelligence sharing if a dossier was published which detailed Binyam’s interrogation.

The foreign office apparently solicited a letter from Washington to support Miliband’s argument rather than Miliband responding to a threat from the US. This letter was then used to persuade two high court judges to prevent the dossiers publication. The judges said the dossier contained ‘powerful evidence’ to support Binyam’s claims of torture.

Why did the foreign office solicit a letter from Washington if the threat of a diplomatic breakdown already existed?

If no break down in relations between the US and UK was likely why did Miliband tell the high court this was the case?

Why is Miliband so keen to hide these documents?

Is Miliband perverting the course of justice by hiding evidence relevant in a criminal case?

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Changing face of poverty

Save the Children recently announced it would be giving emergency cash grants to families in poverty due a massive increase in food prices and worrying increase in malnutrition amongst babies and pregnant women. These families are not the ones that Save the Children normally deal with, they are not in refugee camps or war-zones but in cities and towns across the UK.

With the recession taking hold unemployment has soared and so has the price of food; according to the Guardian the cost of food rose by 11.3% in the year to February, and within that the cost of vegetables has risen by 18.6%. This is leading to new levels of poverty amongst children and families in Britain say Save the Children.

Save the Children argue that many people are facing terrible problems with debt, not because they are frivolous as suggested by some of the media but because they have had to rely on credit for basic essentials. Now the safety net of easy credit has been removed people find they are stuck with high repayments and no new income and end up cutting their food budgets to compensate.

With organisations like Save the Children and Oxfam turning their attention to the UK’s poor is it time we changed our perception of what poverty looks like?

Does the media do enough to let us know about poverty on our own doorstep?

Is it easier to pretend poverty only exists in foreign countries?

For more clips from our Poverty and  The Media project please visit our Archive

To find out more information about our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Project Page

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Well London Media Workshops Announced

There are two new media workshops taking place in London for those involved in the Well London projects.

The first is a free video workshop in Croydon

Date: Monday 27th & Tuesday 28th April  1-8pm


The CVA Resource Centre
82 London Road,

Please see the map to find out if you are in the border of the SOA and eligible to take part.


The second takes place in Westminster

Date: Wednesday 6th and Friday 8th 1-6pm of May

Venue: Westminster, for Queens Park Residents

Beethoven Centre
174k Third Avenue
W10 4JL

From Shameless to Little Britain, does drama negatively stereotype the poor?

Below is an article describing a study of ‘Little Britain’ that was carried out by the London School of Economics. Do you agree or disagree with this report.

A study by a London School of Economics academic said many of the show’s characters – from teenage mum Vicky Pollard to proud gay Daffyd – are stereotypes based on people’s dislike of others of a different class, sexuality, race or gender.

Researcher Deborah Finding branded the show as “the comedy equivalent of junk food”.

“It is clear that when ‘we’, the audience, are invited to laugh at ‘them’, the characters – we are laughing not only at the figures on screen but at entire groups of people whom they come to represent,” she said.

Little Britain does far more to promote racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism and classism than it does to satirise them – though it does do that from time to time.

“To claim that it is ironic is to miss the point that comedy constructed about the other – that which is different from us – involves the mocking of minority groups in a way that winds the clock back to the pre-alternative days of (controversial British comedian) Bernard Manning.”

In her study, Ms Finding analysed the show’s characters and found that their physical traits were used to project fears about homosexuals, the working class and minority groups.

She said that in laughing at Vicky Pollard – a fat, chain-smoking, single mother – audiences were expressing their fears and hatred of the working class.

Viewers saw Vicky, with her “stereotypical body”, as having the features of all working-class single mums, “feckless, stupid and promiscuous”, Ms Finding said.

“Even Daffyd, the self-proclaimed only gay in the village, is a character who connects the idea of being homosexual with being ridiculous and therefore relies on mainstream fears about gayness, despite the fact that Daffyd is the creation of comedian Matt Lucas – who is himself gay,” she said.

For more clips from our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Archive

To find out more information about our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Project Page

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Well London Workshops announced for February and March

Spectacle will be running a number of media workshops and taster sessions for the Well London project.
We welcome people local to the area to attend any of these. Please contact us to sign up for any of these of for more information at or call 020 7223 6677 .

If you are a resident of Cossall or Brimmington please come along to the Southwark Launch, where, as well as a session from Spectacle, there will be sports activities, music and a variety of other activities designed to make you smile! Saturday 21st February, 12.30 – 4.30

Cossall Estate TRA Hall
48 Mortlock Close,
Queens Road Estate,
SE15 2QE

We will be in South Acton, at the Ealing Launch on 28th February and running a taster there around 3pm. Please pop down and get involved.


Oaktree Community Centre
Osbourne Road
W3 8SR

Following the launch Spectacle will be running a two day workshop 10-3pm, Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th March, where local residents can try there hand at filming, learn new skills and improve existing.

Acton Community Forum
Bollo Bridge Road

Poverty and the Media Films Feedback

Below is some feedback from two events in London and Glasgow where clips of Spectacle’s Poverty and the Media Project were shown

Faces of Poverty: How do Images tell the Stories?: London
Spectacle film was really positive- people’s own voices and own directing etc. The film showed people who are knowledgeable commenting on things that mattered to them.
Alison Whyte: Mark Easton said he’s interviewed 100s of people like those in spectacle film. These people are not empowered like those on spectacle. There can be really bad examples of editing and stigmatising.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Anne Marie-Smith: ‘Spiritual Poverty’ – very dangerous, causes lows and depression; Heart warming to hear this phrase on the Spectacle DVD
Problem of stereotypes. Judging people, by their image (e.g. gold chain, lipstick, nice clothes etc.)

Olympics ‘not worth it’ say Hackney footballers

Spectacle went to Hackney Marshes to interview local footballers on what they thought of plans to turn their pitches into a coach car park for the Olympic stadium.

The East marsh, has a reputation all over the world for being home to the largest number of outdoor pitches in Europe. It is not just this reputation that will be lost if Olympic plans go ahead says locals. The deep community spirit the football games bring to Hackney will also disapear.

As one female footballer pointed out, they could play in Walthamstow but why should Hackney women’s team play in Walthamstow ‘its not right’. Many were highly sceptical that once the Olympic games were finished their precious  pitches would be returned to them.

The East marsh football games have been taking place for over 50 years. They have been kept going through rain or snow by the local community and easy availability of space.  Anyone who wants to can play.  For many who take part, losing all this for a the Olympics, which will only last 3 weeks, is just not worth it.

For more information on Spectacles Olympic Project please visit our Project Page

For Spectacles latest film on the Olympics please visit our archive page.

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Secret Millionaire

Secret Millionaire: Who benefits?

Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire prides itself on bringing to light the social inequalities in Britain and highlighting the importance of ‘modern day philanthropy’.

By sending an undercover millionaire into deprived areas looking for worthy causes to give their money to, the program aims to uncover the secret heroes of deprived areas.

But who is it really for?

Is the focus ordinary people who daily struggle with poverty or the emotional journey of the millionaires themselves?

Though undoubtedly moving, this program disenfranchises the local people it tries to help but by making them lucky receivers of charity, grateful that one ignorant rich person has been educated in how hard it is to be poor. Rather than forcing the viewer to question a society where so much social inequality exists, it simply makes the millionaires feel better about being rich because they have helped a few poor people.

There is very little that is ‘modern’ about this ‘modern day philanthropy’. Is it not just the same as Victorian philanthropy where the wealthy would give alms to the poor and if this is the case what does it say about ‘modern-day Britain?’.

Watch a clip from The Secret Millionaire below and let me know if you agree or disagree

Is exclusion from education exclusion from representation?

According to a recent article in the Guardian, ‘only 176, or just over half a percent, of nearly 30,000 pupils who got three As at A Level last year were eligible for free school meals’.

If these statistics are correct, it  indicates that the poorest in society are still not accessing higher level education.   You cannot attend a good university, in most cases, if you do not have good A Levels.

What affect does this have on the media?

If you do not go to University, what chance do you have of working at the BBC or one  of the mainstream newspapers? And if none of the poorest social groups work in the main stream media, what are the chances of a fair representation of this social group?