London’s Olympic Waterscape

Posted by Bradley L. Garrett on Friday Feb 5, 2010 Under Archaeology, Cultural Geography, Film, Uncategorized


I haven’t been out exploring for some time. My energies as of late have been devoted to writing my thesis, preparing my students for a field class in New York City in March and getting ready to begin filming our Creative Campus Initiative project London’s Olympic Waterscapes. London is set to host the 2012 Olympic games and we have been generously funded to create a June exhibit about what this means for the city’s waterways. Wicked.

Well, I am happy to report that my students are off and running with their project proposals and that we have finally started filming for the Olympics project! It started last Sunday, rather unexpectedly, when William Raban, Director of Thames Film (1986) texted me in response to my inquiry letter and asked me to come along for an interview during the final day of his exhibit in East London. Amy Cutler and I went out and had a fantastic morning chatting with one of the legends of London filmmaking who showed us rushes from his new film and told us about the similarities he sees today with when he made Thames Film, just before Margaret Thatcher tore into the city.

William Raban

William Raban on the 21st floor of Balfour Tower over East London

The fun continued today with an interview at the Olympic site with Rob McCarthy, the Olympic area coordinator for the UK Environment Agency. Rob spoke to me, Terri Moreau and Michael Anton about how he has been working in the area for 30 years and how the Olympics has money pouring into the area causing unprecedented changes to the waterways. Rob was fantastic, fielding the interview in between trains, moving locations multiple times and in the end, driving us around to the Olympic Stadium to get some footage of the construction.

Rob McCarthy teaches us a thing or two

Monday we are scheduled to sit down with Iain Sinclair, one of the literary giants of our age and an unabashed critic of the Olympic development. In the meantime, rest-assured, an exploration is planned for Sunday so you can see more pictures of decaying, decrepit and disused dreadfulness. In the meantime, imagine this as a ruin in 2013:



One Response to “London’s Olympic Waterscape”

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