Public House: Ground-breaking Community Arts Project Film

Public House, a new feature length film for cinema by award winning artist and academic, Sarah Turner, Director of Research in the School of Music and Fine Art, explores the centrality of pubs and social spaces to communal narrative and memory and takes participatory documentary to a whole new level.

Sarah lives near the pub in London SE15, and has been documenting key moments of the community take over since April 2012. Then, the pub’s staff were given a few days notice of eviction and closure; the cherished Ivy House had been sold for conversion into flats. However, the community ensured the sale was blocked through an English Heritage listing, the pub was registered as the first Asset of Community Value in the UK, then purchased and re-opened in August 2013 as a community pub, hosting events as diverse as folk music, swing classes, knitting circles, big band Sunday roasts and samba workshops for pre-schoolers. The film mirrors this cultural transformation in a movement through documentary events, to forms of community participation that are rooted in pub culture – in this case, spoken word and performance poetry – to a minimalist opera that is composed of ambient sound and the collective voice.

Sarah, an artist, filmmaker, writer, curator and academic, whose feature films have been broadcast on Channel 4 and who has had scripts commissioned by the BFI, Film Four Lab and Zephyr Films, is now editing the footage, which offers an alternative portrait of Peckham Rye. Public House is funded by a production award from Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN), a research award from the School of Music and Fine Art, University of Kent and is supported by Arts Council England. For more information go to:

Sarah is giving a talk about the work and its progress on July 8th, which includes a screening of her moving image work and an exclusive preview of the first act of Public House, followed by a discussion with Rebecca ShatwellDirector of AV Festival, addressing the concepts and approaches involved in her practice.  For details go to: