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Altab Ali’s Whitechapel murder protest march depicted in Four Corners radical archive launch of 1970s life

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 June 2018 | UPDATED: 07:56 22 June 2018

A rich source of radical photography and film-making showing East End community life and political struggles of the 1970s and 80s goes on public show for the first time today at Bethnal Green’s Four Corners studio.

Filmset of 1970s documentary 'A Kind of English'. Picture source: Four Corners StudioFilmset of 1970s documentary 'A Kind of English'. Picture source: Four Corners Studio

The ‘Radical Visions’ exhibition shows how feminism and anti-racist protest helped document working-class struggles like the 1978 protest march through Brick Lane after the murder of textile factory worker Altab Ali in Whitechapel.

A digital archive is also being launched at the exhibition at the studio in Roman Road, bringing a little-known part of British cultural history to general audiences for the first time.

“This significant work is at last being documented and made available to the public,” Four Corners’ Loraine Leeson said. “The impact that Four Corners and Camerawork had on the independent film and photography industries enabled many people from underprivileged backgrounds to develop significant artistic work.”

The archive includes all 32 issues of the radical Camerawork magazine made available online for the first time.The exhibition includes the renowned Camerawork magazine, and Four Corners’ work with underprivileged youngsters.

Archive material and photographs from Daniel Meadows, Nick Hedges, Peter Kennard, Mike Goldwater, Paul Trevor, Jenny Matthews, Ed Barber, Jo Spence, Susan Meiselas and others are on show, along with extracts from Four Corners’ films such as Nighthawks, Bred and Born and A Kind of English.

Its all aimed to be a visually-inspiring appeal to new, younger audiences.

The archive project funded by a £100,000 Heritage Lottery grant was put together by 50 contributors since 2016 who gained skills in archive research, digitization and oral history techniques.

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