What is the future of common spaces and community gathering spots in the UK? At a time when so many spaces that once were shared are now either derelict or in private hands, when it can be difficult to find somewhere to gather with friends without buying a latte in order to do so, how might the future be different? How might we rethink our relationship with public space, the land, and each other?

Those are the questions that audio producer May Robson set out to answer in a new series for BBC Sounds Audio Lab called Now Here. Over six episodes, she travels from the Scottish Isle of Ulva to community gardens in Birmingham to a pie shop in Liverpool to a queer pub in the East End of London, meeting people who are fighting back against neighbourhood decline and neglect. In this conversation, she discusses what she found on the journey: community undertakings with deep roots in radical history, from the civil rights movement to workers education to fights against the enclosures of common land.

Photo courtesy May Robson

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