Curated by Dr Isabelle Fremeaux and presented in collaboration with the Birkbeck Film Society as part of the Reveal King's Cross Festival on Friday 30 April, this screening and discussion reflected and questioned the relationship between art, activism, urban regeneration and gentrification.
Three films offered different perspectives on these issues: Dereliction of beauty (dir. Shehani Fernando) (8mins) described the day long experience in March 2009 during which 70 artists took over London's doomed Market Estate. Nike Ground (dir. Franco Mattes) (6mins) related the spoof renaming of Karlplatz in Vienna into Nikeground to critique the corporate take over of publuc spaces. The Battle for Broadway Market (dir Emily James) (75mins) followed the 3 month long occupation of a local cafe to resist demolition and protest against the gentrification of Broadway Market in East London.
Dr Paul Watt, Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies at Birkbeck College and Andrea Gibbons, a Los Angeles based organiser of tenants rights movement and PhD student at LSE, were guest speakers and analysed some of the most salient issues with "culture-based urban regeneration". About 20 people attended and joined a very lively discussion about the problems, most notably the deep inequalities, which processes of gentrification too often entail.