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Barbican launches The Edge of the Centre, a new events programme inspired by the Centre’s surrounding creative communities

Beginning in May 2022, The Edge of the Centre is a new public programme of talks, screenings and performances, that invites artists, writers and organisations working in the areas surrounding the Barbican to curate and co-produce events in various venues across the Centre. The eclectic programme will convene stimulating debates, enquiries and insights into London’s cultural histories, diasporas, sites of memory, archives and folklore.

The Edge of the Centre is one strand of the Barbican’s programme of change and new creative vision exploring the cultural histories and perspectives of organisations and individuals connected to the Barbican and its neighbourhood.

Matthew Harle, Curator of Public Programme and Archives, Barbican, said: We’re excited to launch this new events programme and work with some remarkable names from so many disciplines and backgrounds. Every Edge of the Centre event delves into the boundaries of where London’s art-making, culture and everyday life coincide.”

Full programme details below


Obsolete Spells and Neon Hieroglyphs: An Evening with Strange Attractor
Tue 31 May 2022, 19:00, Auditorium 1

A talk on independent publishing of ‘unpopular’ culture with cult publishing house Strange Attractor Press, featuring book presentations by Turner Prize-winning artist Tai Shani, writer and BFI curator William Fowler, author and historian Phil Baker, and writer Justin Hopper and musician Sharron Kraus


Words, Worlds, Whirled: Poets, Place and the Barbican in Translation
Wed 29 Jun 2022, 19:00, Barbican Library

An evening of poetry, reading and discussion with the acclaimed poet, translator and language activist Stephen Watts exploring the cultural dimensions involved in the translation of poetry and living in the city. Stephen will be joined by a number of poets local to the Barbican working in other languages, including his long-time collaborator Shamim Azad, and the co-editor and translator of the seminal PEN Award-winning poetry anthology, Bones Will Crow: 15 Contemporary Burmese Poets (2013), Ko Ko Thett.


The Lock-In
Fri 1—Sun 31 Jul 2022, Barbican Cinema 1 foyer

The Lock-In is a video installation celebrating the British pub as it emerges from the challenges of the pandemic. Trawling through every episode of the iconic soap opera EastEnders, film director Stanley Schtinter spent lockdowns using video editing software to create a 100-hour loop of every EastEnders scene at the Queen Victoria pub. The Lock-in will be presented in our Cinema 1 foyer after it finishes an eleven-pub tour of the East End. This event is free, and no ticket is required.

The Strangeness of Dub: The Last Angel of History & Gangsta Gangsta
Sat 23 Jul 2022, 16:00, Barbican Cinema 1

The Black Audio Film Collective redefined the documentary genre, chronicling Britain’s multicultural past and present. Co-founder and writer Edward George will present two rare films that engage with black popular and political culture.

Framed by the fictional story of a time-travelling ‘Data Thief’ played by the film’s writer Edward George, The Last Angel of History (1996) is director John Akomfrah’s hybrid documentary exploring the idea of Afrofuturism and the displacement of Black culture.

Gangsta Gangsta: The Tragedy of Tupac Shakur (1998) was the last film made by Black Audio Film Collective. Under George’s direction, the biopic of one of the most celebrated rappers in history becomes a mediation on revolutionary nationalism, ideas of a ‘destructive character’ and the intensity of life.

The Strangeness of Dub: Genealogies of Rock Against Racism
Tue 26 Jul 2022, 19:00, Auditorium 1

Founder-member of the Black Audio Film collective, Edward George excavates a musical history of the anti-fascist movement Rock Against Racism in this live recording of his radio show.

Writer and researcher Edward George’s radio show The Strangeness of Dub dives into dub, versions and versioning, drawing on critical theory, social history, a deep and broad musical selection, and live dub mixing. For this latest episode, he’ll be our guide on an exploration of the 1970s social movement Rock Against Racism, which saw punk, reggae, post punk and two tone mobilise against the rise of the far right in Britain at the time.  


Throughout August, archivist and creative producer Abira Hussein will present a sound piece exploring intangible heritage in the Somali community neighbouring the Barbican. Through workshops with Somali diaspora women in London, Hussein will be inviting these women to share memories and experiences around Somali pastoral culture. Using binaural audio, this layered sound piece will contextualise Somali folk songs and dance with the people and traditions to which they belong.


Stewart Home’s Occasional Barbican Film Club: Ireland Behind the Wire
Sat 24 Sep 2022, 16:00, Cinema 1

This event is the beginning of a screening series presented by the artist, writer and activist, Stuart Home, inspired by the names of the Barbican residential blocks, opening with The Berwick Street Film Collective’s Ireland Behind The Wire (1974), a radical work of moving image that captures Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles mediated through the Collective’s reflexive, oppositional filmmaking.


Black Arsenal: Race, Cultural Memory and Black British Identity
Tue 25 Oct 2022, 19:00, Auditorium 1

An on-stage discussion between scholars Clive Nwonka and Paul Gilroy, reflecting on the socio-historic relationship between Arsenal Football Club, London and Black Britain across a range of media, from television, photography, social media fandom to the city’s social and public spaces

All events are ticketed and a detailed overview of the programme for each month can be found on the Barbican website here.