GLASGOW event – Saturday 1st November 1-5pm. CCA, 350 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow, G2
EDINBURGH event – Sunday 2 November 7.00–9.30pm. ACE, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh, EH7 5HA
Free films and discussions bringing together representatives of community & activist groups – including local groups from Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and Manchester – to share their experience of community-based engagement in the planning processes of urban regeneration and the built environment.
In the British-wide context of gentrification, and with a failing
neo-liberal economic model, questions surrounding the ownership and
management of social space have never been more relevant. The language
of regeneration in fact sugar-coats the reality of gentrification: the
privatisation of essential infrastructure is a policy of liberating the
forces of greed.
It is important to remember that “ideas have consequences”, and
important to question what happens when these are tested in the real
world. In response, we need better ideas and solidarity strategies. The
worsening financial crisis provides the public with an opportunity to
redefine what constitutes ‘the public interest’ and to reassert its
claims over how finance should be managed and allocated and in whose
Film excerpts will be used to inform the discussions: a strong
dimension connecting the diverse groups is their shared interest in an
engaged film making practice as a basis for connecting people.
Anthony Iles – Mute – http://www.metamute.org
Mark Saunders – The Spectacle – http://www.spectacle.co.uk
Martin Slavin – Games Monitor – http://www.gamesmonitor.org.uk
Jonathon Atkinson – Urban Research Collective
Neil Gray – Variant – http://www.variant.org.uk
Libby Porter – Planners Network UK – http://www.pnuk.org.uk
PROGRAMME: 1.00-5.00 CCA
Welcome – brief intro (10-15 mins).
FILM: ‘The Occupation’ (London Particular, 15 mins)
Anthony Iles – Discussing the broad context of regeneration in the east
of London, framing regeneration discourses surrounding the Olympic
Games (10-15 mins)
FILM: ‘The Fog of Games: Legacy, Land grabs and Liberty’ (Mark Saunders
Mark Saunders – Discussing clays land and gentrification, and
displacement in the Olympic Games (10-15 mins)
Martin Slavin – More on the Olympic Games and the work of the Games
Monitor website in particular (15 mins)
FILM: ‘Five Rings’ (excerpts from the DVD 10 mins)
BREAK 15 MINS.
Jonathon Atkinson – Neo-liberal city: the legacy of the 2003
Commonwealth Games in Manchester and the response of activists. (10-15
FILM: ‘M74: Heading in the Wrong Direction’ (Neil Gray, excerpts 5-10
Neil Gray – Discussing the broad context of regeneration in Glasgow,
including the east of Glasgow and the Commonwealth Games (10-15 mins)
Libby Porter – the role of planning in the regeneration process leading
up to the Commonwealth Games, and the possibilities for constructive
forms of collective action (10-15 mins)
BREAK 10 MINS.
ROUND TABLE – discussion about the possibilities for collective action
in regeneration struggles, with particular emphasis on the dramatic
shift of economic context wrought by the ‘credit crunch’ .
Q AND A TO FOLLOW.
NOTES on PARTICIPANTS
Mark Saunders (Spectacle)
Mark Saunders, a film-maker, writer and activist, will be showing some
work in progress extracts from Spectacle’s film on the London Olympics.
Spectacle is an independent television production company specialising
in documentary and community-led investigative journalism.
Martin Slavin (Games Monitor)
Games Monitor is a network of people raising awareness about issues
within the London Olympic development processes. The network operates
with an open, dynamic principle, and functions as a discussion forum,
research body, press and political lobby. Martin Slavin is a writer and
activist associated with the site.
Libby Porter (Planners Network UK)
Planners Network UK (pnuk) is an organisation seeking to establish a
network to support critical thinking about the current state of
planning in the UK. Libby Porter is a lecturer in the department of
Urban Studies at Glasgow University assocaited with PNUK. Her interests
include urban regeneration and urban sustainability.
Neil Gray (Variant magazine)
Variant Magazine makes lateral links across media in both a local and
international context and examines how this manifests itself in visual,
intellectual and social cultures. Neil Gray is a writer, researcher and
film-maker associated with Variant.
Anthony Iles (Mute magazine)
Mute magazine is an online magazine dedicated to exploring culture and
politics after the net. Anthony Iles is a writer and researcher
associated with Mute, the Broadway Occupation, and Games Monitor.
Jonathon Atkinson (Urban Research Collective)
Jonathon Atkinson is associated with The Urban Research Collective, a
new project based in Manchester which provides a framework for
associate researchers and activists to explore and engage in urban
scenarios, which: increase the participation of the citizen in
governance; challenge economic and power inequalities within cities;
aid the process of social change; incorporate the highest levels of
environmental sustainability; and promote co-operation in all aspects.
NOTES on FILMS.
‘The Occupation’ (The London Particular, 2001, 15 mins)
A short, very precise film about social cleansing and recolonisation in
London’s East End: “In the name of inner city rebirth and renewal,
regeneration gives us state-sponsored gentrification and an intensified
attack on the working class. It obscures its true objectives behind a
dense and proliferating fog of quangos, agencies, partnerships, and
funding bodies. Unaccountable and untransparent, they collectively
dictate the new shape of the city through a pseudo-democratic discourse
of consultation and participation.”
‘Five Ring Circus’ (Conrad Schmidt, 2007, excerpts)
The “Five Ring Circus” exposes a side to the Vancouver Olympics which
has not been revealed before. This film shows how this three week
event is changing Vancouver forever. Find out what mayors, activists
and residents think of the 2010 olympic games. With three years to go
before the games, this documentary examines how the commitments to
environmental, social and economic sustainability have not been kept
and how the preparations for the games are affecting diverse
‘M74: Heading in the Wrong Direction’ (Neil Gray, 2006, excerpts)
The M74 motorway in the Southside of Glasgow is the largest and most
expensive road project in Britain: A five-mile concrete monster on
stilts. Through lyrical yet horrifying imagery, this film documents the
existential nightmare of living by a motorway; and borrowing from past
experience in Glasgow, questions and challenges the proposed re-shaping
of urban space in an area already blighted by previous planning
‘The Fog of Games: Legacy, Land grabs and Liberty’ Mark Saunders,
Spectacle 2008, excerpts).
In the Fog of Games the first victim is the truth. The Olympics, like
other sporting spectaculars, are only brief and transitory television
events that disguise and justify Mega projects of vast urban
restructuring that permanently distort our cities for the benefit of a
few business interests . The common features of these Mega projects are
unprecedented land grabs, the peddling of myths of “regeneration” and
“legacy” benefits for the host community, the sweeping away of
democratic structures and planning restraints, the transfer of public
money into private hands and “information management” to hid truths and
silence of critics.