In 2004 I set up a non-profit arts organisation called On Site Arts with artist Caroline Christie to explore the profound changes taking place in East London’s Lower Lea Valley / Olympic Park area. In parallel with our own visual art practices we led extensive photographic projects with Traveller and Gypsy communities going through the process of displacement from the Olympic site, and beyond this to relocation. For the latter we handed over cameras and taught photographic skills to children, teenagers and families.

On Site Arts’ photographs and installations were exhibited across London: on four number 38 Routemaster buses; at Space Gallery, Hackney where they built a 40 tonne interactive sandpit in the shape of the proposed Olympic Park (2007); on construction hoardings along Carpenters Road inside the closed-off Olympic site; in a Luton van turned gallery that toured the local Traveller and Gypsy sites; with a caravan parked in central Hackney for Holocaust Memorial Day; at the V&A’s Museum of Childhood, Tower Hamlets; at City Hall and at Hackney Picturehouse. In 2012,  at the invitation of families living there, the artists installed an exhibition of photographs taken by the community both inside a caravan and across their new site (Parkway Crescent Romany Gypsy site) in Newham.

The collection of postcards OLMYPICS included 16 photographs taken from both the artists’ and the Traveller and Gypsy archives, and marked the final Olympic Park area project for On Site Arts. The entire archive of photographs is in the process of being acquired by Hackney Archives (2022). 

Using Format