From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

RampART in 2006, prior to eviction

rampART was a squatted social centre in the Whitechapel area of east London. It was established in a derelict building in Rampart Street which was previously used as an Islamic school for girls. The centre operated as a private members club providing a space for a wide range of groups to carry out their activities. It was managed by volunteers without any funding and with a strong emphasis on consensus decision making and DIY culture.

The centre was variously known as rampART Social Centre, rampART creative centre and social space, or more commonly as rampART.

The centre lost a court case brought by the owner and awaited eviction from 3 January 2008. It was finally evicted on 15 October 2009.[1][2]

Developments at rampART[edit]

rampART was open for five and a half years, hosting meetings, screenings, performances, exhibitions and benefit gigs. During that period the building and resources evolved to adapt to the demands of its users. In November 2007 property developers planned to partially demolish the squatted houses next to the social centre and build three new properties at the back.[3] rampART itself was under no immediate threat and regular activities continued as normal; however in December 2007 the centre received eviction papers. The date for eviction was set at 3 January 2008.[4]

The day after the 2009 G-20 London summit protests, the rampART squat was raided by a large force of police. There were reports of violence and tasers pointed at unarmed people.[5][6]

On 15 October 2009 rampART was evicted.[7] 45 police officers, several bailiffs and a priest were present, and a chainsaw was used to enter the building. Climbers also used the roof as a means of access.[8]

After the eviction, the collective, still named "the rampART collective", stayed together and temporarily moved to a new space in Walworth in South London where they continued to hold weekly meetings.


rampART was opened in May 2004 and was located at 15 to 17 Rampart Street, London E1 2LA. The project was initiated by a mixture of artists, community groups and political activists. Within the first year, the building had hosted over 100 cultural and political events.

The centre was run by an open collective as an autonomous space. It was open to all on the basis of equality for all. Projects were run on an entirely voluntary basis by the people involved. They were not charity workers or social workers. The projects were run in the spirit of co-operation, solidarity and mutual aid. It was not a commercial enterprise run for profit—instead it was funded day-to-day by donations given by users, or by raising funds through benefit events such as gigs, cafés or film nights.[9]

The rampART constitution stated that:

The rampART is run collectively. Any one is free to get involved or make proposals relating to use of the space by come along to one of the weekly meetings which are held Mondays after 6pm. We attempt to make all major decisions relating use of the space by building a consensus, both out of a desire to avoid hierarchies and also in recognition that decisions are more likely to be carried out when decided by consensus.[10]

Projects at rampART[edit]

Cultural activities[edit]

  • Amateur theatre, art installations, acoustic concerts
  • Film nights (weekly), poetry, photography exhibitions, political discussions and meetings

Skill sharing and workshops[edit]

  • Samba, radio, juggling, banner making, computer skills training, screen printing

Resource exchange and other projects[edit]

RampART free shop
  • Free shop, info library, media lab, wireless Internet, kitchen / café. rampART had a library of donated books, as well as a BookCrossing zone.

Events at rampART[edit]


Film nights[edit]

  • Since the closure of The Other Cinema, Indymedia London used rampART as a venue for a series of film festivals. These included Caminos De Resistencia (Paths Of Resistance) and the Middle East Film Festival.[citation needed]
  • There have been non-Indymedia organised festivals including Positive Global Movements, a week-long exhibition of stories of resistance from around the world.[12]
  • Prior to its official debut, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 was premiered at rampART on 4 July as part of an 'Independence FROM America themed evening.[citation needed]
  • A documentary about the McLibel trial and a premiere of Super Size Me were shown.[citation needed]

Benefit gigs[edit]

rampART was used as a venue for benefit concerts for causes such as Indymedia , No Border network, Rising Tide UK, Peace News , Real2Reel and Argentinian, Bolivian and Chilean solidarity groups.[12][20]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ UK Indymedia - rampART on the defensive Archived 16 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Social centre squatters finally evicted after five year battle". East London advertiser. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  3. ^ UK Indymedia - Developers make their move on Rampart Street Archived 6 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ UK Indymedia - Developments at rampART Archived 21 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ [1] Archived 18 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Topping, Alexandra; Sturcke, James; Weaver, Matthew (2 April 2009). "G20 summit and protests: live blog". Guardian. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Social centre squatters finally evicted after five year battle". East London advertiser. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  8. ^ Rampart Eviction – The Priest and the Chainsaw | rampART Archived 12 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Conlin, P (2014). "Neoliberalism out of joint: Activists and inactivists in London's social centres". Subjectivity. 7 (3): 270–287. doi:10.1057/sub.2014.8.
  10. ^ Mudlark121. "Today in London squatting history: RampART squat social centre evicted, Whitechapel, 2009". Past Tense. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  11. ^ UK Indymedia - "Rebel Clown Trainings Begin in London 4th April" Archived 15 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b c d e f "rampART 2 Years Birthday Anniversary Celebration". Indymedia. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Week of Solidarity". The New Agenda. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  14. ^ Papadimitriou, Tasos; Saunders, Clare; Rootes, Christopher (2007). "Democracy and the London European Social Forum" (PDF). ECPR. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  15. ^ "European Social Forum , London 2004". Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  16. ^ UK Indymedia - Anarchist Bookfair 2007 Archived 23 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Calais Photo Exhibition at G20 Infocafe, Rampart Social Centre". London No Borders. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  18. ^ Finchett-Maddock, Lucy (2008). "An Anarchist's Wetherspoons 1 or Virtuous Resistance? Social Centres as MacIntyre's Vision of Practice-based Communities". Philosophy of Management. 7 (1).
  19. ^ "SchNEWS in brief". SchNEWS. 18 February 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Social Centre". London No Borders. Retrieved 2 May 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′51″N 0°03′40″W / 51.5141°N 0.0611°W / 51.5141; -0.0611