Photograph by Paul Trevor
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Four Corners recruiting volunteers for Brick Lane 1978 project

Roman Road’s Four Corners gallery and Swadhinata Trust are looking for volunteers to support their upcoming Brick Lane 1978: The Turning Point research project.

This major new heritage project will focus on the anti-fascist uprising of the Bengali Community around Brick Lane following the murder of Altab Ali on 4 May, 1978.

The riots that ensued were as momentous for the East End as the Cable Street riots in 1938 when the Jewish community protested against Mosley’s Blackshirt fascist.

With populism on the rise worldwide, anti-fascist history is possibly more important now than it’s ever been.

Volunteers will help to research and record memories, photographs, films, and documents from this watershed moment in opposing racist right-wing groups.

Ansar Ahmed Ullah, Director of Swadhinata Trust said: ‘This year is the 41st anniversary of Altab Ali’s killing. It is important to capture and document that period before it’s too late.

‘It is the most important aspect of the Bengali community’s history in the UK. To capture that struggle with those who were there physically and in images is very exciting.’

A total of 18 volunteers will work with a collection of archive images by photographer Paul Trevor, using them as a catalyst for further research and discovery.

Volunteers should be available for half a day a week for three months and have a connection to the East End or a keen interest in its story. They should also have spoken and written communication skills with basic computer knowledge.

Paul Trevor said: ‘They say a photo is worth a thousand words. But sometimes, as in this case, words are essential. This project is an opportunity to add the voices of those who made history to the images of that story.’

Brick Lane 1978, which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, aims to create a lasting, first-hand record of local peoples’ memories, as well as make Trevor’s photographs publicly accessible.

Planned outputs include 30 to 40 oral history recordings, a short film of interviews, a learning pack to be distributed to local secondary schools, and a touring exhibition launching in Spring 2021.

Apply to be a volunteer by filling in this form.

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Frederick O'Brien

Fred is a writer and researcher with a background in sustainable development. His research has featured in The Independent, the Evening Standard, and the New York Post, among others.

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