Founded in 1969, Islington People’s Rights celebrated its 50th anniversary with a programme of events and activities, from November 2019 – March 2020. This page documents the programme, which sought to demonstrate the impact of IPR’s work over the past five decades, and highlight the organisation’s ongoing commitment to reducing poverty and the effects of debt in Islington.
Exhibition at Islington Museum
From 2 November 2019 – 21 January 2020, an exhibition at Islington Museum charted IPR’s development over the past five decades in the context of ongoing welfare reform and its continuing work to meet the needs of local residents.
Attracting 4,379 visitors to the museum, the exhibition featured a timeline of the past five decades recording the ever changing landscape of the welfare system and how IPR has evolved in response. Photographs, archival material and statements from both staff and recipients of the organisation’s services brought the timeline to life.
Highlights included a display of the 1978 handbook published by IPR; an extract from Ken Loach’s 2016 film ‘I, Daniel Blake’; an interactive allowing visitors to experience completing a Universal Credit claim form; and a display of ceramist Raewyn Harrison’s ‘Protest Bottles’, including a group of newly commissioned bottles with messages written by IPR staff, trustees and clients.
The exhibition content was also published in form of a commemorative booklet, available to download here.
In order to capture the stories of founding members and Islington residents and organisations that have come into contact with IPR, a series of oral histories was recorded. Listen to them here:
Carol O’Brien (IPR founding member and caseworker 1969) – IPR’s early years
Saiqa Pandor (IPR trustee 2019 – present) – An Islington resident since the 1980s
John Muldoon (IPR caseworker, treasurer & chair 1979 – 2000) – IPR 1980s – 2000s
Yussuf Ahmed – (coordinator, Islington Somali Community) – The Islington Somali Community and IPR
An accompanying events series ranged from weekly drop-in advice sessions with IPR caseworkers, guided walks around Clerkenwell with author David Rosenberg looking at local radical history, a talk on the impact of Universal credit, to storytelling and family activities for under 5s.
Concluding the 50th anniversary programme was an exclusive screening of 1969 BBC drama ‘Cathy Come Home’ directed by Ken Loach, followed by a Q&A with the critically acclaimed director himself and Jo Littler, Professor of Social Analysis and Cultural Politics at City, University of London on 19 March 2020 at Rio Cinema.
Islington People’s Rights received considerable local press coverage in relation to the exhibition and linked programme of events: