The Dialectics of Liberation international Conference, 1967 in The Roundhouse

It was in 1967 that Arnold Wesker took out a lease on a remarkable brick building in Chalk Farm as an accessible (not elitist) theatre venue and for other events under the logo 'Centre 42'. With colleagues he proceeded to oversee the renovation of the large circular building which was the terminus of a railway line that had been used for to turn railway locomotives around to run the opposite direction. The first event there was launched on July 15, 1967 and ran for two weeks. See this look back after 50 years at

As a contact person in Oslo for the conference, I set about getting some friends and progressive young academics from the University of Oslo to attend the conference, and eventually they were joined by others to make up a contingent of at least a dozen Norwegians. The fortnight was an eye-opened for most of them, as the invited speakers were well-known persons - a truly diverse and stimulating company - which attracted yet more diverse and extraordinary free-thinking and often anarchistic people. The events and activities arranged during this large get-together from across the Western world ranged from lectures, group discussions, singing (of Indian bhajans), unconventional, small theatrical events and unexpected 'happenings' that were now and again sprung upon the conference. There were get togethers on subjects like emancipation of various minorities (the 'black power' movement was present as were feminists, new ways of living such as in so-called 'communities' (now known as 'collective houses').

During the Conference fortnight the Beatles released the Sergeant Pepper album, which was played the same day in The Roundhouse to much admiration.

My wife took a number of photographs which have recently come to light, which I post forthwith for the interest of those who were there and posterity.

The Dialectics of Liberation

This image is a fair representation of the spirit of many of those who attended the conference.

The chair and banners of the Dialectics of Liberation

A pause in proceedings

Ronald Laing at the Dialectics of Liberation

The Chair with speaker and Ronald Laing (on the right)

Allen Ginsburg at the Dialectics of Liberation 1967

Allen Ginsburg sings 'Om Namai Shivaya' with Ronald Laing (on the right)

Herbert Marcuse at the Dialectics of Liberation Conference 1967

Professor Herbert Marcuse

Stokeley Carmichael & Allen Ginsburgh at The Roundhouse 1967

Stokeley Carmichael on 'Black Power' (see also Allen Ginsburg behind him and Laing with back to camera)

Member of the 1Black Power' group at the Dialectics conference

A participant from 'Black Power' (US)

LSE Professor talks to Robin Blackburn

A professor of economics from LSE and Robin Blackburn, LSE lecturer

A humorist no doubt

Audience at an al fresco session

A lecture in the open

A freestyle dance seance during the conference

Participants and the wall of photos

Danish professor and UK activist from Norway


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