Wivenhoe Bookshop Magazine & Newsletter | Wednesday 29 January 2020

‘Archive That, Comrade!’ – Book Launch

‘Archive That, Comrade!’

Book Launch

Phil Cohen in Conversation with John Wallett

6.30pm Friday 29th June

Wivenhoe Bookshop

Phil Cohen will discuss and read from his new book exploring the changing nature of political memory and the legacy of 1968.

We are also celebrating an exhibition of recent prints and collages by Jean McNeil in the Over the Sofa Gallery.

All are welcome – RSVP here


About the Book

Archive That, Comrade! explores issues of archival theory and practice that arise for any project aspiring to provide an open-access platform for political dialogue and democratic debate.

It is informed by the author’s experience of writing a memoir about his involvement in the London underground scene of the 1960s, the London street commune movement, and the occupation of 144 Piccadilly, an event that hit the world’s headlines for ten days in July 1969.

About Phil Cohen

Phil Cohen played a key role in the London counter culture scene of the 1960s. As “Dr John” he was the public face of the London street commune movement and the occupation of 144 Piccadilly in July 1969.

He subsequently became an urban ethnographer, and for the past forty years he has been involved with working-class communities in East London documenting the impact of structural and demographic change on their livelihoods, lifestyles, and life stories.

Currently he is Research Director of Livingmaps, a network of activists, artists, and academics developing a creative and critical approach to social mapping. He is also a professor emeritus at the University of East London and a research fellow of the Young Foundation.

About John Wallett

John Wallett is an artist, designer and educator. He is Design Director and founder member of Living Maps. With a background in fine arts, he worked for many years in arts and community education in East London. He was also secretary of Exploring Living Memory, a London-wide oral and community history project.

Praise for ‘Archive That, Comrade!’

“This is Phil Cohen, the irrepressible agent provocateur, at his majestic, top-ranking best: reminiscing, time-travelling, subverting easy nostrums too many of us buy into without a second’s thought. With much care and beauty he explores how we have it within us to make the past live, looking all the while to the future. There is darkness here, but so too a tough intelligence. The street communard comes of age. But not too much.”
—Bill Schwarz, author of Memories of Empire

“In examining past, present, and potential in archival practice and theory, Phil Cohen draws on his own activist past and the history of left politics since the 1960s, especially but not only in the UK, and brings to bear theories and arguments from a wide range of European thought. Politics and the personal weave in a continuing dance as he tells stories, classifies and analyses, and asks questions about what people remember and forget.”
—Anna Davin, History Workshop Journal

“Has the Left got a past? And if so, is that past best forgotten? Who was it who said, ‘Let the dead bury their dead’? Phil Cohen’s book is a searing meditation on the politics of memory, written by someone for whom ‘the ’60s’ are still alive–and therefore horrible, unfinished, unforgivable, tremendous, undead. His book brings back to life the William Faulkner cliché. The past for Cohen is neither dead nor alive. It’s not even past, more’s the pity.”
—T.J. Clark, author of The Sight of Death