British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Whose Town is It Anyway? (8 Parts)

Synopsis
A series of eight programmes focusing on the economic and political crises facing British towns and cities and looking at how local councils, voluntary groups and the communities most affected struggle to make their voices heard.
Part 1: A portrait of a working class community after 25 years of traditional local government. Includes interviews with local community activists, a meeting in a pub, the editorial office of ‘The Voice’ community newspaper and discussion with unemployed young people. It conveys their sense of powerlessness and anger at the failure of the authorities to get to grips with the massive housing and employment needs of their area.
Part 2: A portrait of Sheffield, where the Labour controlled city council is trying to develop a new kind of politics which seeks to involve workers and community groups in the activities and plans of the Council. In contrast with Glasgow, controlled by the same political party, with this more participatory style of local government, decisions are encouraged, if not always taken, from the bottom up.
Part 3: Looks at how local communities affected by closure of major industries in their areas can influence economic decisions. Coventry has gone from boom to slump in a few years. In London’s docklands, transfer of shipping to Tilbury and elsewhere brought unemployment on a massive scale. Looks at how the people affected feel about what has happened and what alternatives they propose for the future.
Part 4: Examines two very different philosophies for changing the way councils provide their services to the public. In Wandsworth the Conservative philosophy of privatisation is being put into practice - services like refuse, street cleaning and maintenance are contracted out to private firms. In Walsall a group of Labour councillors reorganised the housing department into 32 neighbourhood offices to make the services more personal and accessible to the local communities.
Part 5: Looks at the deteriorating conditions on many council housing estates and what results from tenants demanding more say. On the Kellet Road housing estate in Birmingham, a tenants’ group describe their 10-year contest with the council to get renovations. Birmingham’s Conservative councillors from the housing Committee take up the issues and describe their views on tenant consultation.
Part 6: The involvement of members of London’s black community in the community politics of Brent. Thirteen of the 66 borough council seats are occupied by black councillors, but still many black people are sceptical of the councillors’ ability to influence policy in their favour in this inner city area. Shows several black community projects which allow positive outlets for feelings of anger and frustration.
Part 7: How local people and community groups can be assisted to get more involved in community politics and local projects. Examples shown are the Hillingdon Legal Resource Centre, the Easterhouse Festival Society assisting community development on a huge housing estate in Glasgow and Coventry Workshop’s activities. Such groups often wish to be critical of authority and their funding is then under threat.
Part 8: Draws together and discusses some of the themes in the series, which include: How can people get more say over decisions which affect their lives? How can local government be more accessible? Should businesses be more accountable for their actions? How can small campaigns change national policies? What about rate-capping, etc.?
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Video; Videocassette. Standard formats. col. 8 x 30 min.
Year of production
1984
Availability
Hire
Sale
Documentation
Accompanying booklet.
Uses
Politics undergraduates.*
Subjects
Politics & government
Keywords
community action; local government; urban communities

Credits

Director
Tony Freeth
Producer
Michael Jackson
Contributor
John Silverside

Sections

Title
Easterhouse: people and power
Synopsis
Part 1: A portrait of a working class community after 25 years of traditional local government. Includes interviews with local community activists, a meeting in a pub, the editorial office of 'The Voice' community newspaper and discussion with unemployed

Title
Sheffield: what future for local government?
Synopsis
Part 2: A portrait of Sheffield, where the Labour controlled city council is trying to develop a new kind of politics which seeks to involve workers and community groups in the activities and plans of the Council. In contrast with Glasgow, controlled by t

Title
Coventry and docklands: whose economy?
Synopsis
Part 3: Looks at how local communities affected by closure of major industries in their areas can influence economic decisions. Coventry has gone from boom to slump in a few years. In London's docklands, transfer of shipping to Tilbury and elsewhere broug

Title
Wandsworth and Walsall: challenging the town hall
Synopsis
Part 4: Examines two very different philosophies for changing the way councils provide their services to the public. In Wandsworth the Conservative philosophy of privatisation is being put into practice - services like refuse, street cleaning and maintena

Title
Birmingham and Glasgow: council housing: demands for change
Synopsis
Part 5: Looks at the deteriorating conditions on many council housing estates and what results from tenants demanding more say. On the Kellet Road housing estate in Birmingham, a tenants' group describe their 10-year contest with the council to get renova

Title
Brent: after the riots
Synopsis
Part 6: The involvement of members of London's black community in the community politics of Brent. Thirteen of the 66 borough council seats are occupied by black councillors, but still many black people are sceptical of the councillors' ability to influen

Title
Resources for community action
Synopsis
Part 7: How local people and community groups can be assisted to get more involved in community politics and local projects. Examples shown are the Hillingdon Legal Resource Centre, the Easterhouse Festival Society assisting community development on a hug

Title
Cities and people: what future?
Synopsis
Part 8: Draws together and discusses some of the themes in the series, which include: How can people get more say over decisions which affect their lives? How can local government be more accessible? Should businesses be more accountable for their actions

Production Company

Name

Beat Productions

Name

Channel Four Television

Phone
071-396 4444
Address
LONDON
SW1P 2TX
Name

Rainbow Tapes

Distributor

Name

Concord Media

Email
sales@concordmedia.org.uk
Web
http://www.concordmedia.org.uk/ External site opens in new window
Phone
01473 726 012
Address
Rosehill Centre
22 Hines Road
Ipswich
IP3 9BG
Notes
A long-established, not-for-profit organisation with a large collection DVDs, specialising in the sectors of general and mental health, child care, race relations, war and peace, addictions, the third world, ecology, civil rights, personal relationships, educational issues, and social work training. Concord also handles titles made for the Graves Medical Audio-visual Library. Sale on DVD. Formerly known as Concord Video and Film Council. In 2014 Concord began to offer selected films as Video on Demand, via Vimeo.

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