ASH Films: News Reports, Interviews, Presentations, Counter Propaganda, Documentaries

Cotton Gardens Estate, Lambeth

News Reports and Interviews

Housing Hell (January 2016). RT UK News, 4:25.

Sink Estates (January 2016). Channel 4 News, 3:21.

UK Housing Crisis and Regeneration (April 2016). Windows on the World, 1:19:36.

‘Great guests, excellent discussion. It’s shocking what’s happening to this country. I wish people wouldn’t just see it in party political terms. Waiting for the next den of thieves to get in won’t get us anywhere.’ – Natalie Minnis

Heygate Estate Redevelopment (October 2016). ABC News, 7:28.

‘This is a complete scandal, like many other such local authority projects. What an appalling deal Southwark cut for residents, for public funding and assets, and for London.’ – S. Keene

Roofless Times (December 2016). RT UK News, 6:04.

London Tower Fire (June 2017). RT UK News, 3:46.

Grief of Grenfell (May 2018). RT UK News, 4:06.

Empty Housing in London (June 2018). Designing Buildings Wiki, 22:12.

Interview on Grenfell Tower fire with LBC Radio (June 2018). LBC Radio, 14:06.

Interview on Estate Regeneration, part 1 (August 2018). Wandsworth Radio, starts at 1:41:20.

Interview on Estate Regeneration, part 2 (August 2018). Wandsworth Radio, starts at 21:10.

Presentations

An Opportunity for a More Ethical Architectural Practice (October 2015). Architectural Association, 1:54:13.

Tower, Slab, Superblock: London (December 2016), Architectural League of New York, 1:33:33.

The Truth About Grenfell Tower (July 2017). Woolfe Vision, 1:21:08.

‘As a construction professional I thought that all of my concerns and thoughts were covered in this great, well organised meeting. This team should, in my view, form part of the Moore-Bick investigation. Well done to you.’ – Colin Beadle

‘This was an excellent forum for people of different backgrounds to come together and discuss and share experiences. Thank you to ASH for organising this. The social housing dilemma is nationwide and is fundamental to the plight of many peoples in many different areas.’ – Dillip Phunbar

Radical Kitchen (August 2017). Serpentine Galleries, 1:13:41 (episode 4).

Gentrification: Urban Renewal or Social Cleansing? (March 2018). BDP, 1:48:52.

Central Hill: A Case Study in Estate Regeneration (May 2018). Woolfe Vision, 46:28.

Presentation to Chelsea College of Art (May 2018). ASH Films, 1:23:43.

Counter Propaganda

The Aylesbury Wall (April 2015). ASH Films, 6:37.

Sweets Way (May 2015). ASH Films, 10:35.

Anti-Tory Protest (May 2015). ASH Films, 8:43.

Central Hill: Not Ready for Demolition! (February 2016). Woolfe Vision, 5:49.

Campaigning with Khan and Corbyn (March 2016). Woolfe Vision, 6:17.

Decision to Demolish Cressingham Gardens Estate (March 2016). Woolfe Vision, 6:17.

Savills Protest (April 2016). Woolfe Vision, 4:06.

Open Garden Estates: Central Hill (June 2016). Shendao Silent Films, 7:36.

Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do: Macintosh Court (June 2016). Shendao Silent Films, 8:51.

Fighting Spirit: Macintosh Court (June 2016). Woolfe Vision, 6:51.

Campaign for Beti: Court Hearing (March 2017). Banyak Films, 30:27.

Bermondsey and Old Southwark Hustings (May 2017). ASH Films, 16:31.

Lambeth Estate Hustings (May 2017). Produced by Kiran Acharya, 2:55.

Documentaries

Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle (March 2017). Velvet Joy Productions, 1:22:00.

Concrete Soldiers UK (December 2017). Woolfe Vision, 1:03:00.

Architects for Social Housing

Architects for Social Housing is a Community Interest Company (no. 10383452). Although we do occasionally receive minimal fees for our design work, the majority of what we do is unpaid and we have no source of public funding. If you would like to support our work, you can make a donation through PayPal:

Mapping London’s Estate Regeneration Programme

1. The List

As I turned to camera and explained why I had just pursued first Sadiq Khan and then Jeremy Corbyn in opposite directions down the same Islington street, asking them questions they both resolutely refused to answer about their support for the estate regeneration programme being implemented by London’s Labour councils, a Labour activist stood behind me and held up a ‘Vote Labour’ placard, as if this would somehow compensate for the silence of the Party’s Leader and future London Mayor. At this point Sid Skill (not his real name, unfortunately) stepped forward and held up, in front of the Labour placard, an A3 sheet of paper bearing a list of about 40 names printed in red, below which was written in large black capital letters: ‘JUST SOME OF THE ESTATES SOCIALLY CLEANSED BY LABOUR COUNCILS IN LONDON’.

It was 26 March 2016, the elections for London Mayor were six weeks away, and we – that is, members of Architects for Social Housing, Class War, the Revolutionary Communist Group, several film crews and a bunch of press photographers – had just ambushed a publicity stunt designed to heal the public rift that had opened that week when it was revealed that the Labour candidate, Sadiq Khan, had appeared on another list of names, this one leaked to the press and identifying the MPs designated as ‘hostile’ to Corbyn’s leadership. I don’t think this was the first time I had seen the list Sid and L.G. had compiled and posted on ASH’s Facebook page, but it may have been the first time I had seen Sid use it as a weapon to combat the lies of the Labour Party. As I spoke to camera I held up another sheet of paper, this one bearing a map of Islington – the constituency of the Labour Leader who had just run away from me – on which every council estate had been outlined in red. I had taken this map from a report published in March the previous year by the Institute of Public Policy Research titled City Villages: More homes, better communities, which we had just exposed as the basis to the housing policies of both the Labour and the Conservative candidates for London Mayor. In this report the editor, the onetime Labour Peer, Andrew Adonis, had argued that the greatest source of brownfield land available for redevelopment in London is what Yolande Barnes, the Director of Research at Savills real estate firm and co-author of the report, estimated are the 3,500 existing council estates on which roughly 360,000 homes are built and in which over a million Londoners currently live.

It’s hard to say exactly when ASH had the idea of mapping London’s estate regeneration programme, but this is as good a moment as any; and I recall it here to distinguish our purpose in creating this map from a purely academic exercise that is content with recording the actions it maps but does nothing to oppose them. ASH’s map of this programme is first and foremost a weapon in the fight against the propaganda war waged by the political parties whose housing policies are based on this programme, the London councils implementing it, the housing associations receiving public funds to profit from it, the public think tanks employed to justify it, the estate agents that produce the viability assessments that demand it, the builders, property developers and architectural practices getting rich from it, and the press that promotes the lies and silences the truth about it. That’s a lot to place on one map, so we decided to make it as big as we possibly could. This article is how we went about creating it.

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ASH Retrospective at the ICA

From the 14-20 August ASH had a residency in the Upper Galleries of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. During the week we hosted several talks on aspects of London’s housing ‘crisis’, including a presentation by Co-ops for London, a workshop by Achilles Fanzine, and an ASH meeting on the terms of reference in the Public Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire. During our residency we created a wall-size map identifying the site of every London estate regeneration, and on the weekend we exhibited both this and the design alternatives to demolition ASH has produced in the two-and-a-half years between March 2015 and August 2017. And since the estates the ASH designs are made to save from demolition are occupied by the people that are always absent from architect’s masterplans, we also invited individuals and groups with whom we have collaborated to exhibit photographs and films documenting some of the estates threatened by the London programme of estate regeneration and the campaigns by residents and other groups to resist the demolition of their homes. This is a record of the exhibition at the ICA.

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In formation: ASH Residency at the ICA

In 1960 the Fourth Conference of the Situationist International was held in London’s East End. This was the SI’s only visit to the land of Les Rosbif, and while here they were invited to speak at the Institute of Contemporary Arts at its old site in Dover Street. After their presentation – which largely consisted of rejecting the art world’s attempt to recuperate their actions as ‘Situationism’ – the British public – which largely consisted of that mix of bourgeois, bohemians and bankers still recogniseable today – started demanding clarifications. At which point Guy Debord got up to leave, but not before saying in demotic English: ‘We’re not here to answer ******* questions!’

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