Brian Barnes MBE made his mark on London, and his native Battersea in particular, as both an artist and community activist. Whilst some of his most iconic murals have been lost, many remain and continue to brighten the urban streetscapes they occupy. These include Nuclear Dawn (1981) in Brixton and the Stockwell Memorial (2001). Sadly, Brian passed away in November of last year (2021). To celebrate his work we will be releasing a series of short films featuring Brian talking about his process and the political impulse that shapes his work.
Spectacle filmed many interviews with Brian Barnes over the years covering both his art and activism. The first of our films on Brian Barnes was filmed by students on one of Spectacles training courses. It features Brian discussing the his Stockwell Memorial mural and can be seen in full here:
Spectacle is launching a new library of films on Vimeo on demand. This will allow viewers to rent all of our films relating to Guantanamo Bay and people’s advocacy work for those imprisoned there without trial. The collection includes the films Outside the Law: Stories From Guantanamo and Shaker Aamer: A Decade Of Injustice as well as short films on the various groups campaigning for Shaker’s release and never before seen interviews with politicians and campaigners including John MacDonald and Sadiq Khan. The library will be free to access for one month starting on the 6th of December to mark Human Rights Day (10th Dec).
After 20 years of protracted conflict and attempted nation building in Afghanistan, the Taliban are back in the seat of government. Politicians in the UK and America are scrambling to justify these 20 years: the lives lost and billions spent. In the midst of these speeches on noble intentions it is important to look back at the war on terror and remember the basis on which this war was waged.
It was a moment when the USA and its allies in NATO decided that human rights and habeas corpus were not in fact universal principles and did not apply to anyone deemed an “enemy combatant”. Moazzam Begg (a former detainee of Guantanamo Bay) summed up this thinking in a Q&A after a screening of Stories from Guantanamo with the George Orwell Quote: “we are all equal but some are more equal than others”. Everything was justifiable in the name of stamping out global terrorism. Innocent men from around the world were sent, not just to Guantanamo, but also Bagram prison in Afghanistan and other “black site” secret prisons, to be tortured and interrogated.
Spectacle has documented the story of the Guantánamo Bay Detention Centre and the wider context of extraordinary rendition and secret prisons that were central to Bush and Blair’s War On Terror in two separate films, available together here for the first time along with extras and archive materials.
Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” provides a
powerful rebuke to those who believe that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the
worst” and that the Bush administration was justified in responding to the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by holding men neither as prisoners of
war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects with habeas
corpus rights, but as “illegal enemy combatants” with no rights whatsoever.
The film is based around interviews with former prisoners including
Moazzam Begg and Omar Deghayes in his first major onscreen interview. The film
also contains interviews with lawyers for the prisoners, journalist and author
Andy Worthington, Guantánamo’s former Muslim chaplain James Yee, a London-based
Imam, and the British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce.
“Outside the Law is a powerful film that has helped ensure that Guantánamo and the men unlawfully held there have not been forgotten”.
Kate Allen , director Amnesty International UK
Shaker Aamer: A
Decade of Injustice
This film was made to mark the 10th anniversary of Shaker
Aamer’s detention in Guantanamo Bay.
Shaker Aamer was one of the 171 men still held in detention
in Guantanamo Bay on the camp’s 10th anniversary. Despite never having had a
trial, having been approved for release twice, and there being a large campaign
supporting him, Shaker remained in detention until 2015.
During the 13+ years that Shaker Aamer was incarcerated in
Guantanamo Bay, he was never charged, and he has never denied his innocence. He
has continuously lobbied for the welfare of other Guantanamo inmates from
within the system. Many believe that this, and his potential as a witness to
U.S. human rights abuses, are the reasons he remained captive for so long.
Shaker Aamer was finally released from prison on 30th October 2015.
The prolonged campaign for the release of Battersea resident Shaker Aamer, a Guantanamo Bay military prison inmate, resulted in success. It is now five years to the day since he was released from prison after serving 13 years without charge or trial. We have followed the case of Shaker Aamer in detail since the completion of Outside The Law: Stories from Guantanamo in 2009 up to his arrival at Biggin Hill airport on 31st October 2015. Here are all our Guantanamo campaign videos which chronicle the series of events surrounding this story of injustice.
Documentary telling the story of Guantánamo, extraordinary rendition and secret prisons, focusing on the stories of three prisoners, Shaker Aamer, Binyam Mohamed and Omar Deghayes.
It examines how the Bush administration turned its back on domestic and international laws, rounding up prisoners in Afghanistan and Pakistan without adequate screening (and often for large bounty payments), and why some of these men may have been in Afghanistan or Pakistan for reasons unconnected with militancy or terrorism; for example as missionaries or humanitarian aid workers. Focusing on the stories of three particular prisoners — Shaker Aamer (still detained. November 2009), Binyam Mohamed (released, February 2009) and Omar Deghayes (released, December 2007).
The documentary provides a powerful rebuke to those who believe that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the worst” and that the Bush administration was justified in responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 by holding men neither as prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects with habeas corpus rights, but as “illegal enemy combatants” with no rights whatsoever.
The film contains interviews with former prisoners (Moazzam Begg and, in his first major interview, Omar Deghayes) lawyers for the prisoners (Clive Stafford Smith in the UK and Tom Wilner in the US), and journalist and author Andy Worthington, and also includes appearances from Guantánamo’s former Muslim chaplain James Yee, a London-based Imam, and the British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce.
“Outside the Law is a powerful film that has helped ensure that Guantánamo and the men unlawfully held there have not been forgotten” – Kate Allen , director Amnesty International UK
February 2012 – Tuesday 14th marked 10th anniversary of Shaker’s detention, which was marked in England by a series of protests, and in Guantanamo by a hunger strike.
Spectacle has made this short film about Shaker Aamer to mark the 10th anniversary of his incarceration.
Shaker Aamer was one of the 171 men held in detention in Guantanamo Bay. Despite never having had a trial, having been approved for release twice, and a growing number of people from all walks of life campaigning for him, Shaker was remained in detention (released from prison on 30th October 2015). His physical and mental health deterioration is a prevalent concern. During the 10 years that Shaker Aamer has been incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay, he’s has never been charged, and he has never denied his innocence. He has continuously lobbied for the welfare of other Guantanamo inmates from within the system. Many believe that this, and his potential as a witness to U.S. human rights abuses, are the reasons he still remains captive.
Through conversations with activists and former detainees; the film paints a picture of who Shaker Aamer is, the injustices he has endured and what his life has involved for the last decade. From Bagram and Guanatanamo Bay prisons, to the unknown dark prisons throughout the world, Shaker Aamer’s story illustrates the lengths to which the U.S. and U.K. governments will go to justify their despicable War on Terror.
London Guantanamo Campaign Demonstration in Trafalgar square on May 23rd 2014. Interview with Aisha Maniar, London Guantanamo Campaigner and organizer of the event, and Noel Hammel, Chair of Kingston Peace Council.
In the playground of Chesterton School, Battersea SW11 is a much-loved mural painted by the talented Brian Barnes.
Due to construction work on the school ground, the top part of the mural was damaged and needed repair. Watch our video below of Brian explaining the different panels.
Below is a log written in his own words about the process of repairing the mural.
“The mural needed repairs because the wall was replaced taking away about 200 sq ft. of the painting equivalent to a quarter of the mural. All above the climbing studs which tended to be the most detailed.
Morgan Paton helped me in the weeks of the summer holidays. The weather was very warm with a very hot day of 38 degrees in the shade but little shade, Morgan made a tarpaulin shelter. We had a few volunteers Omero painted the blue arc on 27th August. Then we also had help from Fraya and Liam. Morgan painting Downe House home of Charles Darwin near Bromley. I painted a new version of the portrait of Darwin from a photo.
We went on Saturday 21st September to complete the repairs having painted for 10 days for 120 hours (not including an extra drawing for the Darwin portrait on paper)”
Brian Barnes is the founder of the Battersea Power Station community group. You can follow the links below for more updated information on the campaign to save the power station.
We are pleased to announce that after a few months of filming and collecting stories from Battersea residents, we are ready to screen our project to the public!
Memories of Battersea is a video oral history project run by Spectacle and part funded by the Wandsworth Grant Fund. The project gave 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.
The screening will take place on Monday, 15th October at Senior Citizen Club 234 Carey Gardens London SW8 4HW.
4.30pm – 5.30pm – walking tour of the Carey Gardens Estate with Mark Saunders – filmmaker, Brian Barnes – mural artist and Nick Wood – architect
5.30pm – 7.30pm – screening and discussion with contributors and filmmakers
Memories of Battersea is an oral history video project run by Spectacle and part 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, Spectacle met Nick Wood, the eclectic architect who designed and built the Carey Gardens estate in the early 70s in SW8 Battersea in Wandsworth.
Nick Wood, the GLC architect of Carey Gardens estate
Throughout his successful career at the London County Council and the Greater London Council, Nick aimed to create “council estates that didn’t look like council estates”, designing buildings that could provide an enjoyable living environment for its residents. Nick applied Sir Leslie Martin’s theories on land use to design Carey Gardens estate and his model proved that it was possible to achieve high density with low-rise buildings. During this time period, this was seen as revolutionary seeing as high-rise blocks were seen as more fashionable but cost more to build.
The Carey Gardens estate model, designed by Nick Wood
This Memories of Battersea episode gives an insight into the history of social housing, focusing on the effort of building new homes for the Battersea community after the devastation of World War II. Nick also walks through his theory use and intentions on building Carey Gardens as he sits down with an aerial map of the estate. He also mentions the Carey Gardens Co-operative, the tenant management organisation that plans events and coastal trips for the residents, proving how good urban housing design creates vibrant and happy resident communities.
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.
Are you a small, socially engaged organisation? Do you want to promote the great work you do using video? You have no money to commission a promotional video nor enough confidence or equipment to produce in-house engaging video content? Do you have your promotional video idea in mind and need help to make it real?
Spectacle wants to support you by skilling you up while helping you produce your amazing first promotional video!
We are a small, socially-minded company whose profits go back in to funding our community based work. We therefore want to support other organisations with a bespoke programme that will help you produce your first video while being trained in video making. We have applied a generous discount to our standard prices in order to help you reach your aims and to contribute to your success.
Spectacle is an award winning independent television production company specialising in documentary, community-led, investigative journalism and participatory media. Spectacle’s documentary work has been broadcast and exhibited internationally. We have produced work on commission for clients including Amnesty International, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Howard League for Penal Reform, Council of Europe, Groundwork, the London Health Commission, the NHS, Big Local and the Wellcome Trust.
As well as undertaking productions, Spectacle runs short, sharp, affordable training courses and community based media workshops. We are based in London but can travel within Europe to deliver bespoke group sessions. We believe our courses are the best around, largely based on the exceptional feedback we have received from the hundreds of people we have trained over the years.
What will you get?
You will have your first video professionally produced by an award winning production company. You will also learn how to make your second video, building up confidence and practical knowledge that will scale up your outreach and marketing strategies.
What services are provided?
We are offering a bundle of services that will guide your staff (up to 8 people) through a specifically designed programme of training and production based on your video project.
You will attend practical workshops on video making and you will be assisted in your real shoot by our director. You will have complementary equipment (second camera, audio recording, lights) and extra crew if needed. Then we will train you on how to effectively use video editing software, sitting togetherin front of your project to get the editing process started. Our professional editors will finalise your video and guide you through uploading and promoting it on you social networks and media platforms.
Discount applies to voluntary sector only and is not applicable after 31/05/2018
We are offering two options, depending on how confident you are already in video making and on the nature of your projects.
Option1 (groups up to 8)
2 Day Bespoke Training in Videography
1 Day Shooting (assisted with extra equipment and crew if necessary)
1 Day Editing Workshop (Introduction to Software and workflow.Preparation of Edit)
4 Days Professional Editing.
TOTAL normal price 4000
TOTAL for voluntary sector 2000
Option2 (groups up to 8)
1 day Bespoke Training in Videography
1 Day Shooting (assisted with extra equipment and crew if necessary)
1 Day Editing Workshop (Introduction to Software and workflow. Preparation of Edit)
2 Days Professional Editing.
TOTAL normal price 2800
TOTAL for voluntary sector 1600
Contact us for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org
Memories of Battersea is a video oral history project run by Spectacle Productions 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 episode we met theatre director Christine Eccles in the Battersea Art Centre. Christine tells her story about Mayday Theatre, a politically engaged theatre company based in Battersea during the seventies and early eighties.
Christine moved to Battersea from Liverpool in the early seventies and, inspired by radical theatre and the political atmosphere at the time, started her own socialist community theatre group. Working with the local residents and the Labour council they put on shows around South London that were based on local issues and stories such as the lives of factory workers, the gentrification of Battersea and the growth of the National Front in the area.
In this short film she recounts stories from some of their most memorable performances, shares her photos from the time, describes her experiences of working with the local community, and explains why her work was an important political force in the history of Battersea. She describes the neighbourhood’s radical history, what it was like when she moved there, and the changes that have taken place since then, including the sudden switch from a Labour to a Conservative council and the rapid change in housing landscape.
Memories of Battersea: Free video film making training for young adults resident in Wandsworth
Continuing Spectacle’s oral history video project “Memories of Battersea” we are running a series of free video production workshops for young adults (18-30 year olds) resident in the Wandsworth Borough, particularly SW8 and the Queenstown Ward.
The workshops will run during November and December please contact email@example.com for dates / times and locations.
All equipment is provided, no prior knowledge is necessary and it is completely free. There are 10 places so book now to be sure to get your place.
The 2 day workshops will cover practical hands on digital video production including shooting an interview and shoot locations.
Other workshops will be scheduled in 2018.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book, we are happy to answer your questions and provide details.
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