Photo exhibition ‘Guardians: the school we lived in’


is proud to present

GUARDIANS: the school we lived in

An exhibition of portrait and still photography, with an accompanying soundscape, documenting nine property guardians living in an abandoned school in Hackney Downs.

‘Guardians: the school we lived in’ is an exhibition that documents the last hurrah of a disused school in Hackney Downs, in which its final earthly purpose was to be a home to nine property guardians.

The school, built in 1969, was in use until 2014 for children with learning difficulties. Despite the school’s uncertain future the property guardians remained creative and resilient; repurposing the space and breathing new life into the old classrooms. They lived there for 14 months before the school was demolished in 2016.

The single-storey breeze-block building had a distinctive architecture featuring semi-circle windows in ultramarine blue and all the regular school facilities: a jungle gym, basketball courts, assembly hall. Unique to the school was what the guardians dubbed ‘the emotion room’ a small box room with long-forgotten pictograms of faces on the walls representing different emotions, which will be reproduced in the exhibition.

Essentially an installation of portraits, stills, found objects, and a soundscape, the work aims to immerse you in the property guardian experience and explore themes of uncertainty, change, our inextricable link to the temporary nature of things, and the question of our legacy: what do we want left standing and what do we leave to be destroyed?


Above: ‘School photo’ will be shown at the exhibition.  

At the BSMT Space, Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BH
Gallery opening hours:
Fri 19 May: 7pm – 11pm (opening night)
Sat 20 – Mon 22 May: 10am – 7pm
Tues 23 May: 10am-6.45pm

For more information please email: