16 July 2015
Hackney Gazette (p.3)

Discussions ‘could get quite heated’ on ride around the Olympic Park.

Politicians will be quizzed in a round table discussion whilst touring the Olympic Park on a seven-seater bicycle, as part of a quirky ‘festival of curious adventures’ taking place in the Olympic Park.

The Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick has joined forces with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for Walkie Talkies, a programme of eight events, running from today (Thursday) until Saturday, August 1.

The first – This Is What Democracy Looks Like! – has been dreamed up by artist Ellie Harrison, who wanted to give people a chance to meet their elected representatives in an informal setting.

People are invited to sign up for a place on the unusual contraption, as politicians take it in turns to spend an hour cycling around the park with them.

Hackney Wick councillors Guy Nicholson and Nick Sharman will appear on the unique ‘conference bike’ today, while Christopher Kennedy and Jessica Webb appear on Friday along with MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, Meg Hillier.

Ms Harrison said: “We have had a little go on the bike, everyone smiles when it goes past, and everyone wants to have a go.

“I like the idea of there being people being in the park who want to go on the bike and then they will have to chat with the politicians when they are on it.

“Everyone pedals and faces inwards to a shared handlebar, but there’s only one steering wheel, so we as a group will decide which way to go through the park.

“I’m going to be on every single ride, I’ll have to be the responsible one, steering it I guess.

“I want everyone to contribute what they want, to ask questions of the politicians, to find out how councils work or their thoughts on the Olympic Park– but if they have specific gripes it could get quite heated I suppose.”

Emma Bartholomew