****Film will be available 24 hours before this conversation event***

‘If you have had this in your community, how on earth do you ever square it again? When you have been at war like this? Then when it is over back to normal?’

– Charlie Hardwick discussing Keith Pattison’s Easington Strike photographs

On August 24th, six months into the miners’ strike of 1984-’85, 2,000 police descended on this small colliery village with the aim of getting one man across the picket line. Easington became a village of occupation.

Thirty-five years later, on August 24th 2019, Amber helped stage a Miners Picnic to remember with pride the efforts the people of Easington had made to save their jobs and protect their community.

In 2019 Amber had been invited to take part in the National Trust’s People’s Landscapes programme. This was an opportunity to re-engage with the ex-pit villages of East Durham and in particular Easington Colliery.

‘What Happened Here’ is the film that came out of this year long engagement. It makes extensive use of photographs by Keith Pattison, Isabela Jedrzejczyk, Aidan Doyle and John Davies and film footage that Amber shot in Easington and Durham during the strike and its aftermath. It looks at what happened during the strike through the eyes of the community itself and what has happened to the community since..


Amber Collective is one of the longest running workshops having begun in 1968 and continuing to this day. The collective set out to reflect working class experience in the industrial and rapidly deindustrialising North of England.

Since 1972 in the Durham Coalfields, we worked with the community to commission 14 films including Amber’s CoalfieldTrilogy and 24 photographic projects including Hinterlands by Chris Steele Perkins and Coal Coast by Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen as well as acquisitioning 3 bodies of work including Easington 83/84 by Keith Patterson.

Amber Collective is based in Newcastle Upon Tyne and runs the Side Gallery, Side Cinema, Amber Production and the AmberSide Archive.

We will be joined by members of the Amber Collective and invited guests from Easington Colliery


– the link to the film 24 hours before the conversation event

– the Zoom link the day of the conversation


OFF SIDE CINEMA – a season of films and online discussions drawing from the Workshop Movement

Police brutality, media misrepresentation and resistance in 1980’s Britain

In the 1980’s Britain the dominant narrative was capitalist excess and wealth, but the reality was very different for many people. The streets were erupting in anger at inequality, discrimination, misrepresentation and police violence. From London, to Birmingham, Belfast and Easington Colliery the people of the UK were taking their resistance to the streets. The mainstream media portrayed the people as the aggressors while film workshops, responding from within the communities, set out to represent the lived reality. We are honoured to facilitate a season of films grown from this collective way of working to reflect and explore the experiences of people outside the mainstream representation in the 80’s. By screening 4 films and facilitating 5 online conversations with figures from the Workshop Movement and members of the community in which they worked, we will explore the lasting resonance of these seminal films and how they speak to this current moment of unease and protest.

Workshop Declaration:

The 1982 Workshop Declaration began a radical, defining era that brought diverse voices and perspectives into cinemas and onto British television. In 1981 Channel 4 began with a remit to provide innovative films from outside white, middle class and cosmopolitan experience. Under the declaration the Channel agreed to fund and screen films from the ‘alternative’ film and video collectives – known as workshops. Working closely with trade unions, local authorities, political groups, women’s organisations and ethnic minority communities, by 1988, 44 workshops had had films funded and screened by Channel 4. What followed was a decade of experimentation with politically progressive and aesthetically experimental documentaries and dramas screened on British television, which continued until 1990.

This season was made possible as part of a Respond and Reimagine Grant from Art Fund, with support from BFI Film Audience Networks and through donations from audience members.

Thu 15 October 2020

FREE - Reserve Tickets

Support Amber

Gallery • Archive • Education • Cinema • Production