The Rio Tape / Slide Archive

In the 1980s, Hackney was one of the most deprived parts of the UK, its citizens ignored by Margaret Thatcher's new vision of Britain. But at Dalston's Rio - London's oldest community cinema - the Tape/Slide Newsreel Group was giving unemployed local youth a voice.

Set up in 1982, it taught photography and sound-recording skills, and championed an alternative, left-wing perspective on Hackney life. In 2016, thousands of slides were found in a filing cabinet in the Rio's basement, a legacy of this ground-breaking project. The book presents the best of the slides that were shown in newsreels before the main feature at the Rio, alongside recollections of the Tape/Slide Newsreel Group participants. This important oral history places the photos in the cultural and political context of Hackney in the 1980s, meaning that, unlike some photobooks about East London, it is connected to the communities it portrays and remains true to the original radicalism behind the Tape/Slide Newsreel Group.

There are introductory essays by Andrew Woodyatt (of The Rio), about the cinema's activities in the 1980s, and by Alan Denney (the photographer and local historian who digitised all the slides) putting the archive into the context of the contemporary movements in radical community photography, plus forewords from Michael Rosen and Zawe Ashton. The archive is presented chronologically and themes include: activism, parades and protest marches; art, culture, music and festivals; social problems and community action; street life and style; urban landscapes and dereliction; work and everyday life; young and old.