On Tuesday 15 September we hosted Ken Worpole via Zoom, where he gave a talk titled ‘A view on to the street: a short history of community research, oral history and local publishing’. This talk is now available to watch on Vimeo below.
The late 1960s saw a disillusionment with the conventional school curriculum that was failing to reflect the changing, multi-cultural world re-making itself in the streets outside. The work of the anarchist town planner Colin Ward in ‘The Exploding School’, and the influence of Ivan Illich’s ‘De-Schooling Society’, encouraged teachers and pupils to find out what was going on in the neighbourhoods where they lived. Using tape-recorders, cameras, video-cameras, and employing the resources of cheap offset litho printing, they created a new culture of books, exhibitions and films based on the children’s own experience – as well as that of their parents and grand-parents.
In this talk, writer and social historian Ken Worpole charted this documentary arts movement through the work of a variety of community arts groups in Hackney and beyond, from the late 1960s to today. His presentation was illustrated with examples of this work, discussing how this movement challenged popular culture and pedagogy for ever.