Good news for London 2012: Performance arts and film to enhance East End life in run up to Olympics

East London life will be celebrated and enhanced in the run up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games after Queen Mary, University of London successfully secured two funding awards.

Senior Drama Lecturer Ali Campbell was awarded £18,000, while Mile End Films received £5,000 from the High Street 2012 Heritage Culture and Community grants programme.

The grants will be used for local projects benefiting the high street route from Aldgate to the Olympic Park at Stratford.

Ali Campbell will map and celebrate community identity across the ages, using performance arts. Called LIVING MAP, the technique has previously had great success in settings as diverse as Rio de Janeiro, Lewes and Beckton.

“Working with local community groups our LIVING MAP will use interactive performance techniques to research and articulate personal and collective visions of Mile End Road,” explains Ali. “The results will be part-performed, part-displayed as mini installations suitable for bus shelters, shop fronts and other window-sized spaces the length of Mile End Road to be admired, wondered at or simply happened upon.”

Established in September 2009 by Assistant Technical Director for Film Studies at the College, Athena Mandis, Mile End Films is a cutting-edge production unit based within the College, run by its film graduates. For the High Street 2012 grant, MEF has established the project ‘Walk with Me’, researching how communities living and working along Whitechapel High Street and Mile End Road use local cinema spaces and their cultural significance in east London.

The project will be recorded using film and displayed online as well as public spaces within Tower Hamlets in 2012 to coincide with the celebrations in the run up to the Olympics.

High Street 2012 is an ambitious scheme to regenerate the East End high street route prior to the Games, offering better walking and cycling opportunities and increasing green spaces, improved traffic routes, facilitating cultural celebrations and the restoration of historic buildings and spaces.

Our thanks to Simon Meadows and The Optemist for this article}

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