Guest speakers, Intersections, professional practice

Matthew Smith guest speaker – Professional Practice

His topics cover:

  • Raves
  • Protests
  • Performances/festivals
  • Carnivals

Smith discussed many riots going back as far as the Poll Tax riot in the 80’s.  This is one topic he was  interested in.  He achieved Politics and Communication A level in 1985

He starts off with his video where he introduces his work by saying “Exist to resist”.  His book cost £12,00 to produce and he reached out via social media to help with donations.

Smith mentions how there were very little  restrictions back in the day, and how things such as protests and festivals  have become increasingly difficult to access or to photograph in recent years, due to tightening up on security.

Smith also expressed how in 1971-1989 there were no Police at Glastonbury festival and how it was the era of the Hippies mainly a festival for that culture back at that time and by 1989 Rave hit Glastonbury.

Smiths book is a ‘Social history photo book’  on politics and social awareness of the land and environment.  He covers aspects such as mobile home living which was increasing, the era of Margret Thatcher, when she sold off the council houses…

Glastonbury Festival was Smiths largest first project, that he worked on during his second year of his degree.

As time evolved he began recording changes such as  security fences and security  in general, emphasising how free the children were, with elements such as travellers, atmosphere and how political correctness has influenced a huge change to festival culture.

He photographed the phone inside of Glastonbury Festival, where people would buy a phone card and queue to make calls to family and friends, expressing how technology had advanced, that now we have mobile phones etc…..



Mother free festival (Image by Matthew Smith)

This festival like the Glastonbury Festival was once  a free entry zone.

The Mother  Free Festival  was held on Steart Beach near Hinckley Point nuclear power station, this photograph shows the campers relaxing as the sun goes down



Wanstonia Eviction 1994  (Image by Matthew Smith)

The protest was massive, and was the longest eviction…It was on the M11 link road in Leytonstone London.  At first there was a tree to be taken down on George Green which is in the east of Wanstead, this caused some upset with local residents and outside protesters.   Once the property demolition began mainly problems emerged and protesters stood their ground in Claremont Road in Leyton.  Some properties in Fillebrook road in Leytonstone became filled with squatters.  The road was built as planned and opened in 1999.




Forest Fayer in Colford 1994.  (Image by Matthew Smith) at the festival

“New age travellers’ whoever they might be, were referred to in the press and by politicians as “scum”, “vermin” and “subhuman with no rights” (Smith 2016)

VelvetRevolutionTourBrighton18Oct942656Velvet Revolution (Image by Matthew Smith)

Art and performance to promote awareness about the civil liberties implications of the Criminal Justice Act, called The Velvet Revolution Tour.


I found Smiths work interesting as well as extremely educating, on historical social issues.  It seems that many people over the years have expressed their views and tried to have  a voice regarding the environment and politics.  The projects show the extent that many went to in order to put their point across.  Whether they are right or wrong it seems that the government regardless has the upper hand.



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