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The Art of Squatting

A detailed and entertaining look at England’s squat scene

Year: 2012, 22 mins
Code: GAL-Art

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The ‘Art of Squatting’ is a film which takes viewers into the squatting subculture, exploring why young people squat today, how they live, and what defines them. The film addresses the important question of whether squatting is essentially good or bad for society, at a time when the law and the country is radicalising the issue.  

I am a journalism graduate (MA) who enjoys making documentaries and being part of creative projects. For my day job, I work in a special educational needs school. The inspiration behind this documentary is the lack of affordable housing, shelter, and closing down of creative space in today's Britain.

I believe art and culture must thrive and must remain new and free, which is why I made this documentary. This documentary takes a contemporary look at squatting in England. Mostly filmed in South London, it is set against the backdrop of the approaching Olympics and the new law (passed 31st August) which makes the practice of living in unused properties illegal. It explores the kinds of people who live in squats and why, and addresses how these places contribute to society. The film takes the view that squatting in itself is an art form. The film explores an underground punk gig at a squat, and we meet some of the people who help the night happen. We also learn a bit about squatting in the 1970's. I talk to a band popular on the south London squat scene. We visit the oldest squat in England and see how they open their arms to the public.

We are introduced to a campaign group opposed to the law criminalising squatting, and we hear from the council and a housing association. We also visit an art exhibition with work from people who have been living homeless - George Allonby

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