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Social Housing Not Social Cleansing!

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Four Corners Gallery

121 Roman Road

Bethnal Green

London

E2 0QN

United Kingdom

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Talks by Focus E15 Campaign, Southwark Notes, Achilles St Campaign, and Save Cressingham Gardens, part of the exhibition Lived Brutalism: Portraits at Robin Hood Gardens

Free entry, but booking is essential

Robin Hood Gardens is one of scores of London council estates subject to the social violence of demolition and regeneration. This is a programme of social cleansing that exacerbates the crisis of housing affordability. Here, in boroughs run by all the political parties, public land is handed over to the private sector for capital investment and speculation, homes and communities are destroyed, people and families displaced, and temporary accommodation and street homelessness rocket.

It is becoming more common to decry this situation, but what can be done to stop it? In this afternoon of talks, campaign groups will discuss how they have been fighting the demolition of their council homes and estates, and what lessons they draw for other estates and the future of social housing. All welcome.

For information about the campaigns, and ways they can be supported, see these links:

Achilles St Campaign, in Lewisham

Focus E15 Campaign, in Newham

Save Cressingham Gardens, in Lambeth

Southwark Notes, in Southwark


About the exhibition:

Lived Brutalism: Portraits at Robin Hood Gardens. Photographs by Kois Miah

Four Corners Gallery. 121 Roman Road, London E2 0QN

22 May – 8 June 2019. Tues – Sat: 11.00-6.00. Admission free

A photography exhibition recording the lives of residents at Robin Hood Gardens in the estate’s last years before demolition. This ‘streets in the sky’ housing scheme has been celebrated as a masterpiece of concrete modernism and reviled as a ‘concrete monstrosity’, but in neither account do residents feature as more than bit players to someone else’s story. Against these representations, and the social-cleansing agenda that they serve, Kois Miah’s images chronicle the lives, emotions, and routines that animate this extraordinary council estate by ‘New Brutalist’ architects Alison and Peter Smithson.

In these photographs, people and place, architecture and home are interlaced, as the concrete forms and charged voids of Robin Hood Gardens project a vitality at the edge of demolition. The portraits bear not melancholia for an outmoded social experiment, as council estates are too often portrayed today, but a vibrant community and architecture cut short by the destruction of regeneration.

The exhibition is part of a research collaboration with Nick Thoburn, sociologist at the University of Manchester, whose interviews with residents and writing about the estate accompany the portraits. His article about the estate is available here.


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Four Corners Gallery

121 Roman Road

Bethnal Green

London

E2 0QN

United Kingdom

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