Portraits from A Hackney Autobiography is the story of Centerprise: the radical bookshop, publisher, café, legal advice centre and community space that opened in Dalston in 1971, and the people who made it happen.
Run as a cooperative, Centerprise set out to offer Hackney people a place to read, write, and tell their own story: collecting, nurturing and publishing tales by and about local people. From Asian housewives to young school children; from the unemployed to elderly factory workers; from first-time mothers to undercover anti-fascist activists: these are the stories of the people who made Hackney.
These portraits by Sophie Polyviou form a snapshot of the people who worked at Centerprise from 1971 until it closed its doors in 2012, and are presented alongside a glimpse of the vast and diverse material they produced not only as a publisher, but also as centre for anti-deportation and social housing campaigns, youth clubs, adult education classes and so much more.
Launch Saturday 3rd November, 3-6pm, free entry
Open daily until 21st Nov, 9am-5pm, free entry (Extended opening times on select dates see Facebook for details)
About the Project:
A Hackney Autobiography was a project into the history of Centerprise run by oral history cooperative On The Record between 2014-2017, in collaboration with the Bishopsgate Institute. These portraits are an extract from the full project, which includes a publication The Lime Green Mystery: An Oral History of the Centerprise Co-operative, and a free mobile app, which offers GPS located audio-tours.
Visit the Hackney Autobiography website to explore the food cultures & frontlines of Dalston, birth & madness in Homerton, or a lost Island near Rectory Road.
For the best experience download for free on Google play and the iTunes App store. You can also get free learning resources and discover more about the people who visited or worked at Centerprise at www.ahackneyautobiography.org.uk
Writing Hackney Autobiographies Workshop
Date & Time details TBC
Centerprise published the – often brilliant – writing of Hackney’s people: schoolchildren, garment workers, literacy students. This workshop with Rosa Schling and Laura Mitchison, the authors of A Hackney Autobiography – the project that recorded the history of Centerprise and beyond – delves into Centerprise’s books and archive to find fresh inspiration for telling the stories of Hackney’s people today.
Free/optional £5 donation.