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The Art of Gentrification

When:
Venue: External

Note: this event takes place in two locations external to Birkbeck.

MayDay Rooms Archive, 88 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1DH
56a Infoshop, 56 Crampton Street, London, SE17 3AE 

This day of workshops includes two site visits to grassroots archives to spend time with materials relating to artists practices that have documented and intervened in the gentrification of London. In-person.


Living, working, and studying in London there is no way to ignore the effects of gentrification on the city. The tropes are unavoidable: co-working spaces with expensive coffee– provided to make up for the substandard housing available to those moving to the city–who in turn are making housing stock more scare and the coffee more expensive. Contemporary art has long been associated with the processes of gentrification, and artists have been marked as its agents, driving up rent prices with their studios and adding decoration to, or distracting from, development sites. But beyond the cliches what does the word gentrification actually mean, how long has it been going on, and is the gentrification of London distinct from other capital cities? Furthermore, beyond their systemic contribution to the process, what practices have artists and documentarians engaged in to study and resist London’s changing social and economic landscape? 
  
This day of workshops includes two site visits to grassroots archives to spend time with materials relating to artists' practices that have documented and intervened in the gentrification of London. Starting in the morning at the 56 Infoshop in Elephant and Castle, we will talk with long-term archivist and activist Chris Jones about local and international resistance to the redevelopment of the area and arts’ role in the process and explore the archive. In the afternoon the group will travel to the MayDay Rooms Archive on Fleet Street where we will handle and discuss Terry Dennett’s Crisis Project, a document of street photography, spanning three decades, that documented property foreclosure and homelessness.
  
MayDay Rooms is an organising and educational space for activists, social movements, and radicals. We proceed from the understanding that social change can happen most effectively when marginalised and oppressed groups can get to know – and tell – their own histories “from below.” Our archive focuses on social struggles, radical art, and acts of resistance from the 1960s to the present: it contains everything from recent feminist poetry to 1990s techno paraphernalia, from situationist magazines to histories of riots and industrial transformations, from 1970s educational experiments to prison writing. We aim to counter narratives of historical inevitability and political pessimism with living proof that that many struggles continue.  
88 Fleet Street, London, EC4Y 1DH  
  
56a Infoshop is a long-term volunteer-run, 100% unfunded, DIY social centre in Walworth, South London since 1991. we sell radical books, zines, magazines, pamphlets, and other printed matter on a wide variety of topics from Anarchism to Zapatistas via everything in between. You can read and research about local and international politics in our extensive open-access archive and find out about what’s going on with other centres, squats, struggles and campaigns. 
56 Crampton Street, London, SE17 3AE 
  
  
Recommended reading: 
https://tovarna.org/files0/active/2/7275-the_fine_art_of.pdf 
https://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/pyramid-dead-artangel-history 
 

About

This event takes place in-person at at MayDay Rooms and 56a Infoshop, as part of Arts Week 2022.  https://www.bbk.ac.uk/annual-events/arts-week/arts-week/arts-week-2022
Communication about this event will be sent from messenger@bbk.ac.uk. Do check your Spam/Junk/Other inbox if you are looking for emails from this address.

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