04 May is Altab Ali Day

4 May marks the 42nd Altab Ali Day, held to remember the young man whose brutal murder moblised East London’s Bengali community to take a stand against racism.

The unprecedented protests triggered a turning point in UK race relations, and represent a moment of both local and national resistance against discrimination.   

As there will be no physical gathering to commemorate Altab Ali Day this year, we will be joining many others marking this important moment with the launch of a new animated film, Battle of Brick Lane, which premieres online on Monday.  

Made in partnership with Tower Hamlets Council and Loughborough University’s Migrant Memories and the Post-colonial Imagination project, the moving animation was led by young people who were inspired to tell Altab Ali’s story.  
To watch the premiere of the film visit www.memoriesofpartition.co.uk from 10am Monday 4 May.      

Paul Trevor in Conversation

On 23 April our volunteer team met up with Paul Trevor for an in-depth discussion about his Brick Lane 1978 protest photographs.

Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, the event took place via video call. Paul beamed in from his home in Spain, sharing photographs that sparked a lively conversation encompassing his politicisation as a photographer, Camerawork magazine’s progressive use of the term ‘institutional racism’, and the sociopolitical situation in Britain that led to the 1978 protests.

The event was recorded and will be available to view here soon.

Paul delves into his photographs with the volunteer team.

Discovering archives and oral histories

It’s been a busy fortnight for the Brick Lane 1978 project. Our new team of volunteers visited Tower Hamlets Local History Library&Archives and the Bishopsgate Institute to learn more about researching archives, before diving into an oral history training session. They’ll carry these new skills to the next stage of the project: identifying and interviewing original Brick Lane activists. Here’s how they got on…

Archivist Steph Dickers introduces our volunteers to the collections at the Bishopsgate Institute
Discovering the radical history on our doorstep with Halima Khanom , Heritage Officer at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library&Archives.
Volunteers take part in a workshop on archival research at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library&Archives
Learning oral history interview techniques with Rib Davies from the Oral History Society

Photos by Anser Ullah and volunteers.

And we’re off!

October saw the launch of the Brick Lane 1978 project. The gallery was packed-out with prospective volunteers eager to explore their local history. Against the backdrop of Paul Trevor’s breathtaking photographs, a lively talk with 1978 activists honed in on the importance of the project – all fuelled by scrumptious locally-sourced samosas. 

Student journalists seeking stories at the launch.
1978 activists Dan Jones and Jamal Hasan reconnect.
Original protest banner painted by Dan Jones.
Launch attendees. Their family members were involved in the 1978 protests.
Tower Hamlets Mayor John Briggs praises the importance of the project.
Attendees listen to talks by original activists.
Activist Jamal Hasan points to a 1978 photograph by Paul Trevor.
[left to right] Local Councillor Sabina Akhtar, Tower Hamlets Mayor John Briggs, David Rosenberg, Dan Jones and Jamal Hasan.

Photos by Katy Palmer