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A University of Liverpool research fellow is leading a protest event against plans to dramatically alter the area around London’s Bunhill Fields – the final resting place of writers William Blake, John Bunyan and Daniel Defoe.
Despite opposition from Islington Council, the former Mayor of London gave the green light to plans that will see the north east corner of the cemetery significantly transformed through the development of six multi storey office blocks.
Bunhill Fields is one of only ten parks in the capital to attain the status of Grade 1 listed park and garden and, as well as providing a popular and important area of green space in the heart of the city, the cemetery is linked to a rich history of non-conformism, with many leading radical writers and artists buried there.
Now, Emma Hayward, AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellow in the Department of English, has organised a walking tour of the area, with readings and the opportunity for discussion, to try and highlight the threat posed to this culturally important site.
Emma, whose research centres on urban space in 20th and 21st century writing and the interdisciplinary connections between literature and architecture, said: “Voices of Radical London is a wonderful opportunity to mobilise the wider community, not just against the proposed development threatening Bunhill Fields, but against similar kinds of developments endangering all sorts of cultural heritage sites, local communities and green spaces across the metropolis.”
The event, Voices of Radical London, takes place on Friday 10 June from 2pm to 8.30pm and features writer Niall McDevitt, artist Robert Montgomery, poet Emily Berry, writer and film-maker, Iain Sinclair and writer and researcher Lauren Elkin. A poetry reading in Bunhill Fields with Niall McDevitt and Robert Montgomery takes place between 4.15 and 5pm.
Participants are invited to meet outside the Savoy Hotel on Strand at 1.45pm for a walking tour of Blake’s London, led by Niall McDevitt. From 5.15pm the activity will move to the University of Liverpool’s London campus on Finsbury Square, a short walk from Bunhill Fields, for further talks and debate around the issue.
All are welcome to attend either the full event, or join in at any point, but places are limited so registration is advised. Please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/voices-of-radical-london-tickets-24834889824 to book your place. For more information, email event organiser, Emma Hayward on firstname.lastname@example.org
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