40 years of Birmingham Friends of the Earth

Birmingham Friends of the Earth are celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year. To help mark four decades of campaigns and action, I am working with local historian, Liz Palmer,​ on a Heritage Lottery Fund supported project.  It will involve working with activists, past and present, to explore memories and archives.

Back in April I attended the 40th Anniversary Party.  The fact that it was so well attended (see above!) really shows what an important role Birmingham Friends of the Earth, and The Warehouse, have played in people’s lives.  So much has been achieved, so many friendships formed and so much creative and committed work has been put into making positive and sustainable environmental change.

If you want to get involved with delving into archives or recording oral histories, there is an informal meet-up next Tuesday, 8th August at 6pm at The Warehouse on Allison Street. Or, if you would like to be kept in the loop with news and events, you can subscribe to the project newsletter for occasional updates.

Reflections on ‘Breaking the Silence’

I’m currently trying to take in the impact that this film that I edited for Remembering Srebrenica has had since its launch. 370,000 views so far and rising, and an overwhelming response from a packed audience at London’s Guildhall for Srebrenica Memorial Day last night.
Journalist Peter Oborne, who compered the evening, struggled to compose himself after it was shown, whilst Nicola Sturgeon told the room that it was powerful, moving and that it was important for everyone to view it.
On a day when partial remains of 71 people were interred near Srebrenica, at an event where two women spoke of the atrocities committed against their children and husbands, in a city coming to terms with attacks by extremists, these horrors feel very real, raw and present.
This edit has been a huge emotional undertaking, despite the fact that I have not met the interviewees in person. There are hours of interviews which didn’t make the cut, pages of transcripts which are equally horrific in their account of extreme brutality, huge files of unused archive material showing the darkest side of humanity. Thanks to Joe, Amelia, Amra and Amy at Remembering Srebrenica for their hard work in bringing it all together.
There is no real pleasure or joy in seeing the response. It is, however, immensely satisfying that I have been able to edit something together which does justice to the brave survivors who entrusted me, a distant and unknown film maker, to edit together their stories. My hope is now that these testimonies lead to more people breaking their silence – not just against sexual violence, but to raise their voices to counter those who seek to dehumanise others.