Long Hot Summer of Exploration

Street Art group shot Star Yard Brick Lane good small.jpg

It’s been a long hot summer. And a lot of exciting exploration is already under the belt. But there’s more to come…

Hackney Tours has been out on the road this summer with Young Hackney, showing local kids how surprisingly rich their local history is and promoting civic ownership and pride. Older locals came out on a walk with Hackney Council to celebrate London National Park City Week and one lifelong Stoke Newington resident was heard to say of Hackney Marshes “I’ve never been here before.”

Side projects have included taking Londoners to Margate for art projects (under the Half Day Holidays banner) such as Lookers Watchers and Container Cult. And the Mobile Museum made its debut for a special Fringe-style wander around Dalston to celebrate links between East London and France. Topics ranged from the links between Newington Green legend Mary Wollstonecraft and the French Revolution to the Huguenot influx in Spitalfields in the late 1600s and the sobering fact that there are refugees in the UK who find themselves in the Kafka-style situation of Indefinite Detention.

We took a walk with Antiuniversity in both Hackney and Margate, using Situationist techniques to explore the changes in Hackney Wick – a unique part of East London that’s been under the Hackney Tours spotlight for nearly a decade – and looking out to the rest of the world from the cliffs at Margate to engage with global issues.

And at Stoke Newington Literature Festival, there was a trip into the darker side of Gothic London in the Victoria era. Also on the streets of Stokey, a big group of us took a wander around N16 to see if we could find the mythical ‘beach’ that the Situationists of ’68 spoke about. There was art, play and more.

For the Wick Award, people from Hackney Wick came out to go deeper and pry open the past of a place rich in industrial and social history. Then we had a party with a rich mix of ages and backgrounds.

So what do these varied activities all have in common? Exploration and connection: connecting with the outside world, with each other and ultimately with ourselves. Some great people turned up and threw themselves into the walks that were interactive. Call it Creative Tourism, call it performance art, call it larking about. Whatever it is, it’s the good stuff and there’s more to come.

Sunday 12th sees our first literary walk in conjunction with Pages of Hackney. We’ll be exploring how the Situationists influence our popular culture now and digging up some surprising facts about Clapton. It’ll be arty and interactive. Book here.

Wednesday 8th sees a family-friendly walk with the Wick Award to explore Well Street. More here or see the front page ‘Tours‘.

And the end of September sees several strands of activity, on the strand (beach), at Margate Bookie where Lookers Watchers will be interacting with visitors and connecting us to the act of watching and also to the sea itself. More here.

If you’d like to collaborate, or see the Hackney Tours Mobile Museum at your event or have a walkabout or you’d like to help get the word out about Hackney history and contemporary culture, just get in touch.

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