Ken Worpole: The Politics of Place
20 Jul 2012

Writer Ken Worpole talks about the current interest in writing, photographing and representing post-industrial landscapes or edgelands. How do we both represent place and the spirit of the people who have lived there?

What are the aesthetic issues raised by a study of these complex and initially hostile or brutal landscapes, and how can artists help us re-imagine them? Refamiliarisation not defamiliarisation.

Is the vocabulary of 'regeneration' a trap - where has a respect for past lives and landscapes been truly embodied in regeneration practices, especially in inner urban or post-industrial areas? 

Ken Worpole's own work in the area goes back to the two volumes of oral history Hackney Working Lives which he organised and edited at Centerprise in the 1970s, very much under the influence of Agee & Walker's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, and Berger & Mohr's A Fortunate Man.

He will talk about briefly and read from an interview he did with Alf Dedman, Foreman Lighterman on the River Lea, and lock-keeper at Old Ford, in the early 1970s.

The talk will be followed by open discussion, chaired by Dr Toby Butler.

"…for many years, Ken Worpole has been one of the shrewdest and sharpest observers of the English social landscape.” Independent