Event Detail


The Crisis of London's Youth

Simon Wheatley
Monday, 14 May 2012
SKH Ming Hua Theological College, Glenealy, Central

Drinks 6.30 pm, lecture starts 7.30 pm

RGSHK members HK$100 non members HK$150

Acclaimed photographer and writer on social geography Simon Wheatley talks on "The Crisis of London's Youth ". He focuses on the crisis of youth unemployment and crime, which has become an issue in many Western cities, through the prism of western Europe's largest city, illustrated by his own stunning photography.

In August 2011, a peaceful community vigil against the police killing of a local civilian in Tottenham degenerated into an anarchic frenzy of looting that spread across the British capital for 3 nights, the original motive for the protest being soon forgotten. The events threw the issue of London's innercity youth into sharp focus. In this lecture, Simon Wheatley, a veteran of the Paris riots five years previously, charts the crisis of innercity youth as he saw it develop in the decade that preceded the London riots, where promises of regeneration and rapidly increasing prosperity in London overall had been failing to reach a generation of alienated youth.

Three months prior to the riots, Mr Wheatley had launched his book "DON'T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime ". Spanning 12 years, and taking the musical genre of grime as its prism, the book looked intimately at the crisis of London's innercity youth. Mr Wheatley's work had begun with an initial study on urban regeneration, focusing on the folkloric neighbourhood of Lambeth Walk, once home to one of the world's most famous street markets, but by the 1990s a desolate concrete jungle, doomed by the "futuristic " social architecture of the 1970s. The content of that book, which Mr Wheatley describes in this lecture, reflected the angst and frustrations of a generation of alienated youth locked into decaying housing estates in an evermore ostensibly materialistic society.

Simon Wheatley was educated in England at Charterhouse followed by reading American and LatinAmerican studies at Manchester University. He initially became a photographer on the streets of postcommunist Budapest and soon pursued a professional career upon winning Time Out London's Travel Photographer of the Year Award in 1996. After working for various newspapers in London he moved to Amsterdam to work for the magazine industry, where he took the pictures for his book "Liberal Limits ", which documents the changing social climate of that city. Joining Magnum Photos, he produced a groundbreaking study the French suburbs after the riots of 2005, which led to his being chosen by Leica as their worldwide ambassador for the release of the digital version of the legendary Mseries camera. His book "DON'T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime " was hailed as a classic upon its publication at the end of 2010, going to number one on amazon.com in the popcultural category. Mr Wheatley has recently also established himself as a successful filmmaker, director of music videos and as a photography and film consultant.

Members and guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$100 for Members and HK$150 for guests and others.

The Royal Geographical Society Hong Kong wishes to express its thanks to WYNG for its generous assistance in bringing this lecture to Hong Kong

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