Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IN-PERSON film screening: The Struggle for Stonebridge

14 October 2021, 6:30 pm–8:30 pm

struggle stonebridge

The IAS is delighted to host The Struggle for Stonebridge: Race, Architecture and the Harlesden People's Community Council. Dr Clive Nwonka will offer a 5-minute introductory talk on the Bridge Park complex and the film, followed by the film screening, a chair-led discussion and audience questions.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

Invitation Only






Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Forum
Ground floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building
United Kingdom

In 1987 the BBC would broadcast the film The Struggle for Stonebridge (40 mins), a documentary by Franco Rosso and narrated by the radical Black spoken word poet Linton Kwesi Johnson on the Harlesden People's Community Council (HPCC). Formed in 1980 by a small group of young Black residents from the Stonebridge Estate in Harlesden, Brent, the film documents their 6-year struggle to redevelop a disused London Transport bus depot into a dynamic community owned complex as part of the co-operative’s efforts to prevent Stonebridge from experiencing the same race uprisings that were witnessed in Brixton, Toxteth and other deprived Black urban areas across Britain that year. The Bridge Park Complex would become one of Europe’s largest Community Owned Enterprise Centres on its opening in 1988. However, despite its cultural, educational and economic importance to the local community for over 20 years, in 2017 Brent Council would begin attempts to sell the complex to international developers, resulting in a High Court case between Brent and the HPCC in 2020.

This intimate screening will be followed by a talk by Leonard Johnson, founding member of the Harlesden People’s Community Council, that will detail both the unique history of the HPCC captured in a radical Black documentary, and set the context for the present-day struggle for Stonebridge and the multiple ways in which questions of social/spatial justice, community mobilisation, legislation and local council policy are manifested in HPCC’s continued battle to save the Bridge Park Complex. He will be joined by Professor AbdouMaliq Simone, Professor of Sociology and Urbanism at the University of Sheffield and Dr Suzi Hall, Associate Professor in Sociology and Director of the Cities Programme, LSE, in exploring ideas of community ownership as it challenges and is challenged by the powerful intersections of neoliberalism and urban regeneration, and how they can be addressed.

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