Take Stock Exchange have been busy. They’re a socially responsible organisation, all about increasing empathy and creating space for what they call ‘dialogue through difference’. They’ve got an event on this Saturday 23rd June, when they’ll be sharing the results of their listening project at Rich Mix, on Bethnal Green Road.
You can reserve the free tickets here. We caught up with them to hear more;
Hello TSE crew! Tell us about what you’ve been up to in Tower Hamlets?
Tower Hamlets in an extremely diverse part of London that has gone through change after change after change. It has seen nearly every immigrant group come through and was one of the first places in the capital to see gentrification. People have always talked about the area in terms of figures and facts. But what about the people. The people that have lived here forever, the ones that have arrived recently, the ones that work here, and all the others. We wanted to meet them. Hear their stories. Hear about what they think, feel and can reveal about the area. And what’s amazing is both the similarity of the things we hear, but also the huge differences – and this project is all about enabling everyone to hear that huge diversity of voices.
Why Tower Hamlets, and how are you finding working in the area?
We’ve been working in East London since 2013, and we set out with two aims – that have remained the same ever since: to increase empathy, and create what we call a ‘dialogue through difference’ – whatever that difference might be. In that time what has become clear to us is that you can live next door someone for many years and know nothing about them, you can work with someone for years and know nothing about them, you can have no idea of the amazing stories of struggle, success, joy, anger and sadness belonging to the thousands of strangers you walk by on the street everyday. What if you did? This is no different in Tower Hamlets. We want to help people to understand each other a little better in this area which has a multitude of different people all living together – a multitude of communities living within one bigger community. So, we have met a array of groups and people spanning different ages, economic situations, ethnicities and cultures. We asked them all the same questions and they all gave answers… some similar, many different… all fascinating.
We’re into it! What’s the concept for the event on 23/06?
At Rich Mix on the 23rd June at 1pm we will share a meal. After that, at 2pm, accompanied by live music, we will share some of the stories we have heard from the people we have met over the last year. Stories about survival, friendship and struggle. Stories about change, love and the future. It will be an opportunity for people to meet, eat and chat, and hear the stories of their neighbours. And it’s all for free – that’s very important to us, that this work is free for all to access and hopefully learn from.
Sounds like a lovely format. What have you got coming up later this year?
We are committed to the communities of London. We have worked in Redbridge, Newham, Hackney Wick and now Tower Hamlets. We will continue to collect and tell stories bringing understanding and empathy to our city.