Published: 15th Aug 2010

Soaring unemployment and welfare cuts led to riots in the 1980s. Has a quarter of a century of regeneration made us more resilient to such shocks? Clare Goff visits the scene of a notorious flashpoint to find out (First published in New Start in August 2010) ‘A lot of people have a lot of gripes and there isn’t an avenue for them to raise them.’ Vanley Burke has lived in the Handsworth area of Birmingham since 1965. His chronicling of life there, including the riots of the 1980s, have seen him dubbed the grandfather of black British photography. In 1985, with a microphone stuck to his forehead to allow him to simultaneously snap pictures and interview participants, he witnessed how police harassment of young black men turned into bloody riots in which two people died. ‘Youths had their backs pushed against the wall. The riots were against the system, and the unfairness … (To read the full article, subscribe below)