Reviews


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The Queen vs Trenton Oldfield: A Prison Diary

Trenton Oldfield , (Myrdle Court Press: London, 2013)

"A book for our time...prison life as a reflection of society. I highly recommend this book. It not only tells the story of contemporary prison life in England, it also raises questions on the place of prison in society."  Elizabeth Fonseca, environmental engineer

"A must read! This is such an important work and should be read by everyone. It demystifies all the rubbish propagated about the prison system and shows clearly how reactionary and obsolete the current regime is. This is all done in such a human, compassionate and readable way. 'The visual essay' is also incredibly powerful. This work is an important contribution, not only about the prison system and Trenton Oldfield's case, but also about the wider issues about protest and the state. I couldn't put it down. A brilliant and compelling read!" Stefan Dickers, chief archivist and librarian, Bishopsgate Institute

"A thoughtful, illuminating and timely book.Raises important questions about the ethics and efficacy of the British criminal justice system. Alongside this narrative is a selection of essays by other writers, exploring what is perhaps the most alarming issue highlighted by Oldfield's protest and punishment: the ongoing criminalization of protest in British society." Thom Carter, archivist, Bishopsgate Institute

"Very useful addition to the arena of prison books. The most important section of the book is definitely the 'Visual Essay', the photographs of all bits and pieces, the detritus and endless prison forms and notifications that every prisoner and ex-prisoner will recognise. These alone make the book a valuable resource that I would certainly offer to anyone facing a prison sentence for the first time." Bra Black, Campaign Against Prison Slavery

"An Excellent Read. There is another aspect to the book which gives us a glimpse into the way the UK state deals with political dissidents. This is a topic that merits further scrutiny." John Maclean, AOP

"This is a wonderful read. Mr Oldfield writes from the heart and the book is full of humour and compassion which despite the adversity, is never jaded. Not only did the book make me laugh but it also challenged my perspective on being English." Tayieba Shah

"This book is more than just a prison diary. Although it follows Trenton Oldfield's sentence for disrupting the Oxford-Cambridge boat race, a protest against the issue of elitism in British society, this book reflects on wider issues of incarceration and the growing difficulties for those involved in legitimate public protest." Ed Wall, The School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Kingston University

"It brilliantly illustrates prison life with photos of everyday objects, scans of paperwork necessary to navigate the bureaucracy of the prison regime." Steve Dowding, Games Monitor

"When the political becomes the personal. It is a fascinating read, rendered without glamour or sensationalism. Trenton is an insightful commentator and not just on the prison system." Carolyn Smith, Games Monitor



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"Estate is a compelling, critically important contribution to public housing - and a provocative intervention into one of the most pressing social crises facing Britain."  
Owen Jones, author of Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class

"Estate is touched with love and unflinching observation and the respect which the acknowledging eye can give, full of pragmatism, humour and goodness. It portrays with unerring precision the character of the big London estates I have known well: the inventive beauty, caged poverty, self-respect, bitter fury, sickness, dirt and hope." 
Jay Griffiths, award winning writer and author of Wild: An Elemental Journey, Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time, Anarchipelago and A Love Letter from a Stray Moon

"The public imaginary of social housing in Britain is a wasteland of journalistic clichés, political pieties and economic lies. Estate tells an entirely different story, and brings to life a real housing estate in east London, conjured forth in sympathetic words and photographs, and based on direct action to bring about change. A beautiful, heartfelt, path-breaking work." 
Ken Worpole, environmentalist and author of Towns for People, Staying Close to the River and Here Comes the Sun: Architecture and Public Space in 20th Century European Culture

"In Nero times like ours, a rhetoric or polemic of opposition, however lucidly proposed, is no longer enough. Cultural activism needs to embody a poetics of resistance - a richly textured territory which in and of itself challenges prejudice and marks the beginning of a fresh way of being in the world. Passionately engaged, running on a lyric defiance and profoundly empathetic, Estate offers just such a space: building a new architecture of belonging that sears with loss while refusing to yield."
Gareth Evans, writer, editor and curator
 
"Estate is a beautiful book full of fragility and human life, apparently focused on the the Haggerston West & Kingsland Estates in Hackney, East London, but broadening out to touch on a variety of topics from public housing to art to innovation. The book contains 56 pictures ... full of the improvised solution that necessity brings on and the discarded remnants of life. They stand in stark contrast with the playful, sometimes opaque art that housing associations and others commission to rejuvenate areas." Thomas Neumark Jones, author and organiser

"An excellent and important polemic".
Owen Hatherley, author of A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain
 
"This is an incredible book that will move you deeply... 5 stars"
Andrea Gibbons, author, organiser and PM Press editor

 




CC3 Cover SmallCritical Cities: Ideas, Knowledge and Agitation
from Emerging Urbanists Volume 3

Edited by Deepa Naik and Trenton Oldfield 
(Myrdle Court Press: London, 2012)

“Critical Cities Volume 3 is a compilation of impressive proportion. Working from the starting point of “city as inequality,” over 40 contributors from all around the globe offer essays and photo-essays, articles, criticism, reflections, and interviews that strive to answer questions about the emptying of the global countryside and the outcomes for millions of dispossessed rural-to-urban migrants; about the role of the urban industry in this mass migration; and about the future class conflicts that may come as a result of this new urban class order. Coming from a place both within and well beyond the confines of academia, in the end, Critical Cities Volume 3 is yet another excellent contribution to the process of imagining our post-capitalist urban futures.” John Finn, Book Review Editor, Human Geography: A New Radical Journal

"This edition of Critical Cities - as well as the previous ones - is of great interest for better understanding the anthropology of cities in the current times; the grade of conflict, and the scale of social unevenness. Problems that are challenging social order, both, in Eastern and in Western countries; in so-called 'upcoming economies', or in those territories that will lead the world economies soon." Menene Gras, art critic and Director at the House of Asia

"Critical Cities Volume 3 is not a university book and doesn't fall into the mainstream of urban or architectural scientific/academic production. Even better, as it speaks about the city in an unusual and refreshing way - even though often pessimistic - it is an approach that is unusual for university lecture halls, an approach which stands back and is opposite of sterile rules and limits. The city is usually discussed in a dry and one-dimensional way, ignoring the 'dirt' of human relationships - power, class, politics, money and memory. While the profession was sleeping, while everyone was asleep, the city changed from its roots." Dominko Blažević, architectural critic



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Critical Cities: Ideas, Knowledge and Agitation
from Emerging Urbanists Volume 2

Edited by Deepa Naik and Trenton Oldfield
(Myrdle Court Press: London, 2010)

"This is such an important contribution that helps to fill a yawning gap. There is a dearth of critical commentaries examining the changes in cities wrought by neo-liberalism. At last a multi-disciplinary collection of writing that brings together some of the best." 
Anna Minton, journalist and author of Ground Control

"Let me make this clear right from the start: I recommend you read Critical Cities Volume 2. I predict you will find many of the pieces gathered together within it interesting, informative, passionate, thought-provoking, and ultimately enriching. It is also quite possible that you will find the book infuriating and throw it down in exasperation once or twice, but then let me clarify: I think you should read this book because it will be good for you to do so." 
Dominic Church, Architectural Review  

"This collection explicitly and honestly wears its politics on its sleeve, a necessary counterpoint to the political disavowal or equivocation of too many urban actors. The exhilaration in the book lies in the stories told and in their transformative potential." 
Professor Jeremy Till, author of Architecture Depends
 

"Critical Cities 2 is a fascinating, challenging and insightful critique of contemporary urbanism and gives a voice to many who are often overlooked and bypassed in development processes. It is an essential counterweight to the glib assertions of many urban commentators". 
Julian Dobson, co-founder of New Start Magazine and author of Living With Rats Blog



 

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Critical Cities: Ideas, Knowledge and Agitation
from Emerging Urbanists Volume 1

Edited by Deepa Naik and Trenton Oldfield
(Myrdle Court Press: London, 2010)


"Critical Cities does not attempt to give answers to issues afflicting London’s urban environment, nor does it preach a new way to reshape the city. It has been written with the intention of reaching an audience beyond architects and urban planners… The book is filled with facts and ideas, and resists academic form and terminology, which can be exclusive… Critical Cities is an essential read, which provides a clear and honest approach to issues inextricably linked to the built environment and, most importantly, on a human scale." 
Gian Luca Amadei, Blueprint Magazine 
 
"… enterprising group This Is Not A Gateway (Deepa Naik & Trenton Oldfield) released Critical Cities, which includes compelling essays about public space in relation to park benches, local cafes and Bollywood cinemas, all of which contain more meaning and beauty then any new Gormley is likely to give us… When are we going to start using the intellectual and artistic power of people who are involved in the contemporary debate about what public space should be." 
Kieran Long, Architectural Journal
 
"Every mayor should read this! Especially in Romania!" 
Davidsign, Dezeen



More:

Urban Design Magazine CC Vol 2 Review FORTHCOMING

Home Cultures Estate Profile: 'In Wait' by Andrea Zimmerman & Lasse Johansson, Vol 8 Issue 1

Good Reads Review of Estate Feb 2011

MAJA Critical Cities Volume 1 Review Jan 2010

On Office Critical Cities Volume 1 Profile Dec 2009

Blueprint Magazine Critical Cities Review Dec 2009

Architectural Journal Leader Comment: Critical Cities Volume 1 Nov 2009

Architectural Journal Critical Cities Volume 1 Profile Nov 2009