Working River: An Oral History of London’s Boatyards

In 2018 I managed the project ‘Working River’, documenting the living history of London’s boatyards, from the Thames Barrier up to Teddington Lock. The project was run by the wonderful Thames Festival Trust, in partnership with the Museum of London, supported with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. To help make this project happen, 25 fantastic volunteers worked with me to interview 28 men and women who spent their lives working in, or with, London’s boatyards and shipyards. Ranging from aged 18 to 87 years old, we recorded their memories of these yards, their training and the development of their prolific boatbuilding skills, as well as the significant changes to this Thames industry during their working lives. 11 of the audio oral history interviews from this project have become part of the collections of the Museum of London, and another 15 are part of a film, made by Digital:Works, about this history. As part of the project we also had four exhibitions along the Thames, as part of Totally Thames festival 2017, attracting over 10,000 visitors to engage with this history. The project was recorded by contemporary photographer Hydar Dewachi, whose beautiful photographs captured the people and the yards today.

HD_170602_4143 © Hydar Dewachi
South Dock Marina. Photo © Hydar Dewachi
HD_170525_0206 © Hydar Dewachi
B J Wood & Son, Isleworth. Photo © Hydar Dewachi
HD_170614_2624 © Hydar Dewachi
Ted Leppard, Eel Pie Island Slipways. Photo © Hydar Dewachi.
HD_170621_5059 _ed © Hydar Dewachi.jpg
Bill Colley, Richmond Boathouses. Photo (c) Hydar Dewachi.

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For more information about the project, interviews, film, photographs and the book, go to www.thamesfestivaltrust.org.

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Thinking With your Hands

 

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Since 2014 I’ve been involved as a filmmaker with a series of workshops and events, originally organised by Professor Roger Kneebone and his team at Imperial College Hospital (ICCESS), engaging craftspeople, engineers, surgeons and scientists to exchange knowledge and expertise in their practices.

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These remarkable series of engagements have happened at the Art Worker’s Guild, culminating in the event ‘Thinking with your Hands’ in April 2016, which brought together a wide variety of practitioners (including lacemakers, colorectal surgeons, woodworkers, dentists, jewellers and plastic surgeons) to discuss and demonstrate their skills. The event also drew a large audience to discuss the necessities of tactile knowledge as crucial elements of education for the modern world, and as a stand against the current political devaluation of craft in the state curriculum.

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Here are a small selection of the videos I’ve been working on with these teams, which engage with different elements that have been provoked by these workshops and events.

 

Guts

A short film I’ve produced, written and directed by Eddie Bolger, is being screened as part of the East End Film Festival 2016 , on June 24th, Genesis Cinema in Mile End at 6.30pm.


The film is a black deadpan comedy, following the hapless Mike as he heads off to Norfolk to meet his girlfriend’s father for the first time. He’s hoping to make a good impression, but things don’t go entirely to plan. The two men clash at the breakfast table over their opposing philosophies on life, food and digestion. A battle of guts ensues..

Find out more about the film, cast and production team on our facebook page.

 

Personal is Political Choice

Working with my great friend, midwife and activist Jodi Garrod (@DoulaParis) over the past few months, I had the pleasure of meeting and filming the remarkable Renata Rodrigues, at the birth of her daughter Ludmilla. This short film is intended as a document of one woman’s personal choice and voice about her own birth, and a document to the normalisation of a natural, unobstructed birth. My role as a filmmaker was to tell Renata’s story, and hopefully create a resource which can be used in educational context for other Midwives and mothers.

 

 

Women in Film

Working with the London’s Screen Archives, I curated a programme, ‘Women in Film’, relating to London women’s representation on screen over the 20th Century. The programme includes footage from a Suffragette march in 1910, to the election of local MP Judith Church for the borough of Dagenham in 1994, and covers the various portrayals of women in London throughout the 20th century. From glamorized ‘objects’ of the male gaze, to sportswomen, working women, mothers, politicians and activists. I’ve been able to include material from the BFI Archive, with newsreels from the 1920s, as well as clips from Joan Littlewood’s Pleasure Reels from 1963, filmed by Walter Lassally as part of her ‘Fun Palace’ concept with Cedric Price.

The film programme was shown to audiences across London as part of Women’s History Month, from Barking to Hounslow, and was a wonderful opportunity hear the reactions and memories these film archives evoked.

 

 

 

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger

The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger’ is a feature length essay film of four parts, made over the past five years by the Derek Jarman Lab. I had the pleasure of being the Assistant Producer and a Camerawoman on this film, and to work with this extraordinary team. The film will be premiered in the Berlinale Special at the Berlin Film Festival 2016, with more screenings in London and internationally later this year.

More details will be on the film’s website www.seasonsinquincy.com.

East London on Screen: A Catalogue of East London Film and Video – pdf

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This is a resource for film historians or those interested in the history of East London. A catalogue from 1985, listing significant films, documentaries and clips, related to East London, compiled by Hilary Dunn, Karen Hamilton, Ric Mann and John Wallett at Tower Hamlets Arts Project (T.H.A.P) Books, in 1985.

East End on screen pdf (1985)