About this event
This exhibition focuses on Adam’s photography documenting pioneering Summer Play Programmes that took place in North Kensington from 1967-69. Documenting intangible culture in this unique patch of London, it presents joyous, poetic and exuberant images of kids, freed to have fun, captured at sites of a Summer Play Programme that local people set up and ran on 12 sites with the help of 200 invited students, who were housed and fed in a disused school.
In experiencing these images, there is a bittersweet irony. This was the very era in which the cultural melting pot of North Kensington saw marginalised and minority groups support each other in resisting racism and many other forms of open prejudice and neglect. It was also simultaneously a hub for extreme creativity offering new social models.
This broader political landscape may not be manifest in many photos included in the exhibition, but it hovers like a spectre at the edges of all of the images. The groundbreaking Summer Play Programmes were partly a response to the harsh reality that many local parents could not afford to take time off work: summer school holidays were a childcare challenge. Thus, the exhibition is at once celebratory, but simultaneously a reminder of social realities experienced by economically excluded communities, perhaps all the more timely in our current landscape of a return of a cost of living crisis and erosion of social provision.
The exhibition is open at the following times:
- 24-25 November, 10am-4pm
- 27 November - 8 December, 10am-4pm
- 18-21 December, 10am-4pm
About Adam Ritchie
Adam Ritchie is a British photographer primarily active in London and New York. As well as teaching in UK institutions, he is perhaps best known for his work capturing the London and NYC band scenes of the 1960s.
In addition to this work as a photographer, Ritchie is an activist and social organiser strongly linked with North Kensington. Together with community activist John O’Malley, he campaigned for four years, a founding member of the organisation that subsequently became Westway Trust. John sadly died of COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic.
With its Portobello Road, Ladbroke Grove, Golborne Road and Westbourne Grove areas arguably London’s first notable intersections of the 1960s Bohemian arts scene and multicultural (immigrant) communities, Adam’s photography has always included pointing his lens at the lived experience of these communities. ‘Playspace 67-69’ is a key survey of such work from 1967-69.
About Westway Trust
Westway Trust is the charity charged with managing the 23 acres of land under the Westway in west London for the benefit of the local community. It subsidises rent to third sector organisations, provides grants for arts and cultural activities as well as community groups delivering in the area, runs adult learning courses and manages the provision of supplementary schools.