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The Shape of a Pocket

Events celebrating the world of John Berger

Photo of John Berger by Amarjit Chandan


"The pocket in question is a small pocket of resistance. A pocket is formed when two or more people come together in agreement. The resistance is against the inhumanity of the new world economic order."

Passing the Berger Baton

John Berger’s body of work; novels, poetry, essays, theatre, painting, drawing and his ground breaking art criticism remains vital, asking us to consider how things are going for humanity in the current world economic order. Class, migration, race and gender inequalities are all within his orbit.

Ways of Seeing, full of Berger’s heartbeat on the school curricula since the 1970s and has become a classic. His novel G won the 1972 Booker Prize and true to his principles gave half his prize money to the Black Panthers.

His revolutionary politics remained constant until his death in 2017 at the age of 90. What drove his politics was love - or ‘agape’ for, humanity, and the creativity that drives us. We thought there should be a John Berger Society – but he’d have hated that – so we call it a Pocket, that cosy place where phones and keys might be kept, or in times of political evil – pockets of resistance.

We therefore call this project The Shape of a Pocket after one of his celebrated collection of essays. No one is a member and no one is excluded.

As filmmaker Mike Dibb, his working partner on Ways of Seeing and other influential projects said,  ‘John Berger is for everyone.’ Berger’s life was dedicated to understanding the complexities and paradoxes of the human condition, the inequalities of Society and present day influence of post-colonial policies on most aspects of our modern world. His book A Seventh Man with long time collaborator photographer Jean Mohr depicted the eternal plight of migrant workers in exile.

His legacy of work served as a voice for the marginalised and voiceless as well as providing inspiration for all aspects of creative communication, inviting collaboration with multi-media institutions to partner and exchange the baton of Berger’s timeless wisdom.

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