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The Power of Residents

A fundraiser and film programme of shorts, ticket sales go towards Phoenix Food Shop

“How is a film going to change public opinion?” – Dear Babylon, Ayo Akingbade

This screening of three shorts has been curated to support the release of A Difficult Place filmed in Brighton by John Edwards and Katy Beinart in partnership and collaboration with Phoenix Food Shop and Phoenix Arts Space in 2023.

Each film is connected by its core of working with and giving voice to communities impacted adversely by gentrification and the politics of austerity with the event highlighting filmmaking as a tool for activism through a range of means, including testimonials, storytelling, collaborative scripts, and found footage. Narratives shape our realities; this screening looks to address the widening inequalities of our time by sharing knowledge and perspectives.

Dear Babylon (2019) by Ayo Akingbade blends fact and fiction to increase awareness of social housing, and explore themes of gentrification and poverty in London. Set in London’s East End, the future of social housing is threatened by the AC30 Housing Bill. A trio of art students are eager to raise awareness about their neighbourhood, especially the lives of tenants and people who work on the estate. Shot in the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, the artist highlights the area’s rich history, celebrating and giving voice to cultures and communities that are currently underrepresented in the visual arts and wider media in the UK.

A Difficult Place (2023) by filmmaker John Edwards and artist Katy Beinart is a film that reveals the true cost of the cost of living crisis, and its devastating effect on individuals. In a series of conversations filmed at Phoenix Art Space, the Phoenix Community Centre, and on the London Road in Brighton, the group discuss how rising food prices, together with the added changes to their local shopping area, have drastically impacted their lives. The film documents individual experiences and perspectives at a local level during this challenging time and shows how the community has come together to support each other through the Phoenix Food Shop. It provides a platform for residents to share their stories more widely, highlighting personal narratives beyond the statistics.

A Bedroom for Everyone (2023) is an animation by filmmaker and researcher Ed Webb-Ingall stemming from a long-term body of work that asks what the role of filmmaking is in response to the current housing crisis in the UK. The project explores the power of grassroots activism and organising in the face of this ongoing emergency, while making space for the camaraderie that unfolds in the community centres and meeting halls where this work takes place. Following time spent with housing and migrant-support groups from Glasgow, Nottingham, Liverpool, Birmingham and London, Webb-Ingall has collaborated with members of these groups to co-write the script for this new animation, illustrated by lead artist Sofia Niazi and animated by Astrid Goldsmith.

Run by local volunteers, the Phoenix Food Shop works towards making food accessible and affordable for the local community.

Phoenix Arts Space is a unique arts organisation, located in the centre of Brighton.

This project was part of the University of Brighton’s Ignite (2022/23) community-university partnership programme (CUPP). Ignite is supported by the University’s Impact Acceleration Account, which is funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation. It was supported by Phoenix Arts Space and the Phoenix Food Shop.

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25th Apr




Duke’s at Komedia

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90 minutes