Field Research: Skinned
In groups of 4, we were handed an envelope containing our task for a field research. As a team, we had to gather research materials regarding our given location (Bermondsey High Street) in three hours and present our findings immediately after. Here is the end result!
Transcript (Interview with Alan Rackman)
I started my business in No.2 Morocco Street. 99% of businesses in this area were to do with the leather trade. The building at the top of Leather Market Street was the main exchange for buying and selling leather. This here used to be a yard where they cleaned skins. The smell was awful, it really was. In the summer, it was terrible. All the pubs have become gastro, except the Leather Market Arms. Before they called this Morocco street, this was called Russel Street. But the thing that brought hundreds of people here was the Caledonian market. It was an antique market. One day, somebody decided that it should become residential. It must have been 1965-1966. The change is unbelievable, it really is. Because nobody lived here. Except what we call the council flat. It was one of those areas in London where if you left your door open that much, someone would come in and steal. I’ll put it very very bluntly. English people are very poor. Then colored people and immigrants. Then over the time, it does complete a circle. Now, one time, you could have bought Bermondsey for a quarter of a million pounds. Now you can’t buy one bedroom apartment for a quarter of a million pounds. And what happens to majority of the Londoners? When you start work, you move out to the suburbs, then you get a divorce, and then you move back. Everything repeats itself, it’s amazing.
You can call it a beautiful coincidence, but we managed to produce this video because we were rudely ushered our of a cafe with poor customer service just opposite the Fashion and Textile Museum, which was supposedly one of our research subjects. The museum was unfortunately closed on Monday and their cafe was closed for the day as well. It sure seemed as though our journey was off to a very bad start, but who would have thought that this series of unfortunate events led us to the right place, at the perfect time, for a divine meeting with Alan Rackman.
We met Alan at another cafe (eaTalia) down the road — definitely a more warm and welcoming cafe as compared to the earlier one. Francesco, the owner of eaTalia, connected us with Alan after finding out that we were doing a field research about this area. We hit off so well that he kindly invited us over to his office down the road for a proper chat. His warmth and hospitality touched us deeply as we listed intently on the insights that he openly shared with us.
We were left with about an hour to consolidate our data and present it to the class. Tamara and Kristina started on the slides while Ana worked on the mock up for our upcoming zine. I started to organise my footages and recordings to ensure smooth and effective workflow during post production. I know renaming files are seemingly unimportant especially with a deadline that's less than an hour. But trust me, it makes a whole lot of difference and streamlines your entire editing process.
After naming my files, I listened through the 20-minutes long interview and condensed it, taking only the important portions out and stitching the audio clips together. I then synchronised the audio files with my video footages, added the cutaways and dropped the start and end frames in. Tada, time was up! We presented our findings to the class and beautifully painted an alternative picture of Bermondsey High Street for our audience.
At the end of the day, I looked back and realised that I learned so much in that short span of 3 hours!
- What goes around comes around
- Misfortunes can lead to beautiful accidents
- It was actually possible to gather concrete data in 2 hours
- Working with a dynamic team is the most exciting part of the journey
- Don’t be satisfied with mediocre answers, ask the right questions!
- Most importantly, have fun along the way