Film of the Month: Ordinary Streets

Ordinary Streets, an ethnography from local to global, is a short film based on an ethnographic and visual exploration of the spaces, economies and cultures of ‘street’.

Through the lens of Rye Lane in Peckham in South London, the film engages with issues of migration, urban multi-culture and resistance, via the stories of a trader, an activist and an artist. London School of Economics student Sophie Yetton has made this short film, based on research led by Suzanne Hall at LSE Cities. The fieldwork began in January 2012 on a 1km-long stretch of urban street, a team of researchers with backgrounds in sociology, architecture and international affairs surveyed, drew and observed the street. They found 199 formal retail units populated by proprietors from more than 20 countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Vietnam, Ireland and England. Almost a third of traders speak four or more languages, and a quarter of the shops are subdivided and sublet into smaller shops with shopkeepers from different parts of the globe. 

The research states, “the street is emblematic of the ordinary city, a common urban currency that transmits direct forms of exchange and expression. As a space constituted by ‘ordinary’ citizens, it has a volatile and a convivial capacity: a register for explosive protests as well as quieter, sustained transformations.”

Ordinary Streets 
Directed by Sophie Yetton, 2015, 10 mins

Watch the film here.

Image: Still from the opening sequence, the skyline view from inside the Peckham multi-storey car park.

Posted in: Film Of The Month
Date: November 26, 2015