Refugee Week at Spectacle

This week is Refugee Week, a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998, Refugee week is held every year around World Refugee Day, which is on the 20th of June.

Across the country hundreds of organisations host programmes of arts, cultural, sports and educational events. At Spectacle we have been working with refugees in a variety of countries for many years, and this week we invite you to watch our films about refugees. 

Micronomics Refugee Youth Interviews

The Micronomics Project investigated an understanding of small scale self-organised (micro-)initiatives and whether the economy has room for them. The film considers their potential to challenge the dominant definition of ‘the economy’ and implication, when the value created and exchanged is of social nature

Interviews and footage from Spectacle’s Micronomics Project is now available through our Archive.

Quand le Papier Arrive 


Make yourself comfortable. Give yourself a few minutes to listen to what these people would like to tell us. This film is a succession of portraits of ‘Paperless’ people.

Filmed in Brussels and released in 2007.

The ‘Paperless’, the ex-‘Paperless’  and also their Belgian loved-ones answer the main question- “When the papers arrive, what would change in your lives? ” All of them reveal their hopes, wishes and plans. What would change in relation to the world or their relationships with others? What impact would that have on the image that these people have made for themselves and our society? Some of them original, some moving, their answers call out to us.

The Truth Lies In Rostock

In August 1992 Lichtenhagen estate, Rostock, in the former East Germany Police withdrew as fascists petrol bombed a refugee centre and the home of Vietnamese guest workers while 3000 spectators stood by and clapped. Using material filmed from inside the attacked houses and interviews with anti-fascists, the Vietnamese guest workers, police, bureaucrats, neo-nazis and residents, a story of political collusion and fear unfolds.

Refugee Week’s vision is for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely within inclusive and resilient communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution.

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30 Years of INURA

June 2021 marks the 30 years since the founding of INURA, the International Network for Urban Research and Action. In that time, INURA has developed into a resilient network for people involved in action and research in localities and cities. The Network consists of activists and researchers from community and environmental groups, universities, and local administrations, who wish to share experiences and to participate in common research.


INURA advocates for social justice. Most recently INURA spoke out against the arrest and imprisonment of Eugene Kalinouski, 22, urban geographer, who was arrested in Belarus for during a political protest. Belarus has a history of arresting those who dissent with the government, and are facing international sanctions after the recent extraordinary lengths they went to in order to arrest a blogger. Other examples of the issues that Network members are involved in include actions such as standing in solidarity with workers, criticising environmentally unsound development processes and research on major urban renewal projects, the urban periphery, community-led environmental schemes, urban traffic and transport, inner city labour markets, do-it-yourself culture, and social housing provision. In each case, the research is closely tied to, and is a product of, local action and initiative.

This year, INURA member Tomislav Tomasevic, activist, researcher, and organiser of the 2019 INURA conference in Zagreb, was elected as the new mayor of the city of Zagreb (population 805,000) winning more than 68% of the vote.

INURA was founded in 1991 in Salecina, Switzerland as a network with a self-organising, non-hierarchical, decentralised structure. INURA is also a member of the Habitat International Coalition, a global network for the right to housing and social justice.

Since 1991, INURA has held yearly conferences in cities around the world, although the 30th conference, which will take place in Luxembourg, has been postponed until 2022 due to the global pandemic. 

Spectacle’s founder Mark Saunders is a founding member of INURA and Spectacle’s archive contains valuable video footage or urban environments throughout the 80s, 90s, and 00s from Montreal to Brussels to Berlin which is available for the researchers in the INURA network. 

Spectacle has long focused on inequality in urban environments and precarious housing arrangements including squats, cooperatives, evictions, and estates. All this material and more can be explored through our archive



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Spectacle’s work shown at Airspace Gallery Exhibition

Material from the Silwood Project will be shown during the Small Change Exhibition at the Airspace Gallery, as well as some of Spectacle’s work with Brussels partner Plus-tôt Te laat.

small change flyer_web

Small Change focuses on change and place making in the city, seen both as a physical and imagined entity. The project comprises a group exhibition featuring existing and new work by four artists, a public intervention and a talk. Alongside artists, collectives from the UK and beyond contribute to the exhibition with audiovisual material that documents their engagement with the public realm. The exhibition is a response to the book Small Change by architect Nabeel Hamdi and its main idea that small-scale actions have the power to bring about positive change in urban communities. Acknowledging creative practice and collectivism as agents of change, the exhibition invites artists and collectives whose practice addresses issues of place and social change. The artists will realize new work, alongside showing existing sculptures, drawings and video’s. Audiovisual material from collectively-run projects that aim to making meaningful contributions to their environments, will open up the gallery space to various localities and concerns.

Small Change is curated by Sevie Tsampalla and the participating artists are: Jane Lawson, Noor Nuyten, Lauren O’Grady and Claire Weetman with contributions by collectives: Buddleia / public works, Network Nomadic Architecture, Plus-tôt Te laat, Quartier Midi and Spectacle.

Spectacle’s following Silwood video’s will be shown:

Work in progress. 13:49
Moving on 1:43
Time to move on 1:45
My walk home 3:36
Watercolours 2:34

The exhibition is running from the 8th of November till the 7th of December. Enough time to give it a visit. The opening hours are: Thu-Sat 11pm-5pm and Tue-Wed by appointment. Find out how to get there.

See our Spectacle Catalogue for buying video’s from the Silwood Project.
See our Blog Homepage for more information and videos.
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

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Urban Platform in Brussels

Brussels XL Bravo 04-04-07

This weekend, there will be a 3-day long conference in Brussels organised by City Mine(d) on urban issues and initiatives concerning how to make cities more liveable. The conference begins Friday 19th November at 19:00 with a panel debate on ‘small initiatives, big challenges’. On Saturday 20th November, closed workshops will be held in the afternoon, with group discussions from 19:00 to 23:00. And on Sunday 21st November, from 10:00 til 22:00, there will be a bazaar of idea-sharing and proposals.

For more information, or to register for this event, see their webpage: http://urbanplatform.citymined.org/