The Rio Tape/Slide Archive Book

Radical Community Photography in Hackney in the 1980s


In the 1980s, Hackney was one of the most deprived parts of the UK, ignored by Margeret Thatcher’s new vision of Britain.

But at Dalston’s Rio – London’s oldest community-run cinema – the Tape/Slide Newsreel Group was giving unemployed local young people a voice. It taught photography and sound-recording skills, and championed an alternative perspective on Hackney life.

In 2016, thousands of slides were found in a filing cabinet in the Rio’s basement, a legacy of this groundbreaking project.

They document vibrant communities, street scenes, markets and social events. They also report on the social problems of a corner of London left behind, and on local activism against racism, police brutality, deportations, AIDS, the miners’ strike and nuclear weapons.

This book collects images and oral history. It is a story of community, resistance and hope, told by the people who lived it.