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Capital City: Q&A with Dean of Media Steve Cross


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Published date
17 April 2018

London College of Communication is pleased to present Capital City, an exhibition and series of events that examines the relationship between money and property in London, and its effects on all our lives.

Students from the College’s Media School have collaborated with artists, campaigners and researchers. Work produced looks at the political and economic factors that affect London’s skyline, property market and housing stock.

The work addresses challenging and sometimes controversial topics such as estate regeneration, the influx into the London housing market of money from overseas sources, the effect on our lived environment of monumental glass towers and debates over gentrification. These are issues that have an impact on all of us across London, including here in Elephant & Castle, currently the site of multiple redevelopment projects including a proposed new building for London College of Communication.

We caught up with London College of Communication’s Dean of Media, Steve Cross, to find out more about the exhibition…

Why is it important to hold public exhibitions in College gallery spaces?

We are a vibrant academic community. It’s crucial that we regularly showcase work that the College is engaged in making. Staff and students critically and creatively respond to and intervene in public debate and, as such, we want the work we produce on an on-going basis to reach as wide an audience as possible.

Partly, this is to extend the critical conversation around the important areas that we deal with, and partly to demonstrate the specific value that a creative, collaborative approach contributes to vital issues. We want our public programme events to be the starting point for further debate and it’s in that spirit that work is on display – not as objects for contemplation, but as spurs to critical thinking and for lively debate.

Can you talk about some of the controversial themes explored in this exhibition?

Controversial? Is it? I’d say that what, and who, cities are for, how we live in them and under what conditions are crucially important questions for a very large number of people (and especially young people). Thinking about what the long-term prospects for sustainable, human-centred urban living are is of necessity in London and other ‘global’ cities. As such, these are urgent themes but not controversial ones – unless we believe that thinking about the meaning and purpose of where and how we live is ‘controversial’!

What parts of the Media School are involved in this exhibition?

The whole School has been involved in this exhibition. With backgrounds in journalism, photography, critical theory, filmmaking and publishing this exhibition brings together over 50 students and members of staff with exciting mentors and collaborators including artists Kennardphillipps, film producer Dionne Walker, researcher and photographer Will Jennings, and Steve Goodrich and Ben Cowdock of Transparency International. Working in multi-disciplinary groups, students from each of the programmes have been involved in producing a range of media, from photography, film and text to collage and installation.

Who is this exhibition for?

Anyone and everyone. We want as many people to engage with this exhibition as possible, whether you’re from Elephant & Castle, Southwark, London or further afield! Capital City isn’t just for staff and students – so come on down!

Find out about Capital City.