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Radicalism of Hackney in the 80s captured in crowdfunded Rio Cinema book

PUBLISHED: 14:24 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:38 12 June 2020

Protesters demonstrate against the death of Colin Roach, a 21-year-old black British man, who died from a gunshot wound inside the entrance of Stoke Newington police station on January 12 1983. Picture: © Rio Cinema Archive

Protesters demonstrate against the death of Colin Roach, a 21-year-old black British man, who died from a gunshot wound inside the entrance of Stoke Newington police station on January 12 1983. Picture: © Rio Cinema Archive

© Rio Cinema Archive

Local photographers are putting together a photobook capturing life, radicalism and activism in Hackney during the 80s.

The Rio Cinema's Tape/Slide Newsreel group helped give young people in the area a voice in the 80s. Picture: � Rio Cinema ArchiveThe Rio Cinema's Tape/Slide Newsreel group helped give young people in the area a voice in the 80s. Picture: � Rio Cinema Archive

In 2016, thousands of slides were found in a filing cabinet in the Rio Cinema’s basement in Dalston. The photos reveal a project launched by London’s oldest community-run cinema which worked to give unemployed local youth a voice.

Set up in 1982 the Tape/Slide Newsreel group taught photography and sound-recording skills. It championed an alternative left-wing perspective while Margaret Thatcher was rolling out her new, conservative vision of Britain “leaving Hackney behind”.

The Rio Cinema in Dalston in the 80s. Picture: � Rio Cinema ArchiveThe Rio Cinema in Dalston in the 80s. Picture: � Rio Cinema Archive

Tamara Stoll met fellow local photographers Alan Denney, Andrew Woodyatt from the Rio Cinema and Max Leonard of Isola Press whilst making a book about Ridley Road Market for the Save Ridley Road Campaign.

READ MORE: Photographer Tamara zooms in on Ridley Road Market’s past, present and future.

The Rio Cinema Archive - Radical Community Photography in Hackney in the �80s - captures Hackney and community activism in the 80s. Picture: � Rio Cinema ArchiveThe Rio Cinema Archive - Radical Community Photography in Hackney in the �80s - captures Hackney and community activism in the 80s. Picture: � Rio Cinema Archive

She told the Gazette: “This book, with photographs of the Rio Cinema Archive, shows life in Hackney in the 80s, alongside oral histories of the people who took the photos and were active in the community at that time.

Looking at the photographs - of local campaigns by people of all ages, communities supporting each other’s struggles, of protests defying Thatcherism and police brutality, of street life, festivals, of coming together as one - has been so affirming in these weeks of lockdown and social distancing.”

Local photographers involved in the book’s creation think it’s important to connect the bookt with the communities it portrays and remain true to the radicalism behind the initiative. Picture: © Rio Cinema ArchiveLocal photographers involved in the book’s creation think it’s important to connect the bookt with the communities it portrays and remain true to the radicalism behind the initiative. Picture: © Rio Cinema Archive

The book will display the best of the slides. They will also be featured at screenings at the Rio Cinema alongside recollections of people who were directly involved in the ground-breaking Tape/Slide Newsreel project.

Those involved in the book’s creation think it’s important to keep it connected with the communities it portrays and remain true to the radicalism behind the initiative.

Activists desmonstrate to save the NHS. Picture: © Rio Cinema ArchiveActivists desmonstrate to save the NHS. Picture: © Rio Cinema Archive

Tamara told the Gazette: “We are crowdfunding now to make this happen! If you’d like to get a copy and support us, you will help publish a book that will, at its heart, tell of the powerful and inspiring communities and histories of Hackney in the 80s.”

The Rio Cinema Archive Book has already reached it’s target of £15,000 and any extra cash raised will go towards printing more books and to the Rio cinema and its community workshops.

Police evicting squatters in Hackney. Picture: © Rio Cinema ArchivePolice evicting squatters in Hackney. Picture: © Rio Cinema Archive

Max Leonard said: “I’d like to print a good few more books than we get pledges for on the Kickstarter, so the book remains in print for as long as possible - organising reprints is usually impossible for a tiny one-person publisher like me.

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It’s a project close to my heart. I grew up near the Rio and went there as a kid, so to be able to give it some support during this difficult period of closure is brilliant.”

The photographers plan to have the book in shops by November, but people and get more information at preo-rder at Hackneyinthe80s.com

To back the project click here.


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