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Documentary Photography Review | 21st August 2018

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Environmental sustainability in Hackney – An exhibition by Colin Cafferty

Chris King

Opening night: Friday 8th February 2013, 6.00 – 7.30pm

Exhibition dates: 5 February 2013 to 23 February 2013 – Entry free

Location: Hackney Museum, Ground Floor, Technology And Learning Centre, 1 Reading Lane, E8 1GQ (located next to Hackney Central library on Mare Street)

Hackney has the largest expanse of green space (815 acres) within inner city London but can we take this as a symbol for how green the borough is in general? Environmental sustainability extends its broad reach across many aspects of modern life from recycling of natural resources to reducing our carbon footprint, from investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency to encouraging biodiversity and healthy ecosystems, from promoting cleaner air to growing more eco-friendly food. Environmental sustainability looks beyond short-term gains to the longer-term impacts of human activity on the natural world, in a holistic way.

Hackney, just one of 32 boroughs in London, offers a valuable snapshot of urban sustainability at a more local level. Too often, cities are given credit for their leadership on environmental initiatives whilst neglecting the valuable collective action taken by the many smaller communities that form the backbone of a city. In the absence of major private sector employment in Hackney, local government can often seem to dominate due to the power it wields over planning decisions and enacting local environmental policy. Fortunately, Hackney has a diverse range of other stakeholders who are also active in promoting environmental sustainability. Civil society organizations, local businesses, community arts groups, and concerned individuals are all equally represented in this exhibition.

Colin Cafferty is a local resident and environmental documentary photographer interested in engaging the public on energy, sustainability and environmental issues. In 2012, he graduated with an MSc degree in Climate Change Management from the University of London and set up a website with the aim of inspiring action on climate change through photography ( He also blogs regularly for the Sustainable Cities Collective.

This is the photographer’s second exhibition in Hackney. “Tilting at windmills” explored the visual impact of wind power on landscape and showed at Other café and gallery, Dalston in Sep-Oct 2012. He also presented a separate exhibition (London – a snapshot of urban resilience and sustainability) in support of the first major international conference on urban sustainability and resilience held at University College London in Nov 2012.

The current exhibition consists of 10 images taken between Oct 2012 and Jan 2013. Prints are also available for sale.


Opening times: Tues, Wed, Fri: 9.30am – 5.30pm. Thurs: 9.30am – 8pm, Sat: 10am – 5pm

Transport:Overground: Hackney Central, London Fields

Buses: 30, 38, 48, 55, 106, 236, 242, 253, 254, 276, 277, 394, D6, W15


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