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From the Cubby: The Traveller’s Tale

Dir: Joe Spence Time: 60min, 18+

Wed 15 March 2023 // 20:00

Tickets: £5

The Traveller’s Tale explores the life and death of Martin. In a spirited attempt to educate the public around homelessness, Martin takes the filmmaker on a nerve-rattling journey. Acting as a gatekeeper to the rough sleeping community in Canterbury England, Martin introduces the filmmaker to members of the local street population, guides him through homeless encampments, and offers insights into his heritage and upbringing. When Martin disappears on Christmas Day, the circumstances are both harrowing and mysterious. Martin leaves behind a breadcrumb trail of clues, leading to Canterbury Cathedral, where an iconic sculpture springs to life with new meaning. At the end of the tale, the filmmaker is left contemplating the symbolism of a black cat stuffed inside a guitar bag. Meanwhile, Martin’s closest friend Nick is on the run from drug dealers, after being falsely accused of stealing a parcel of heroin. As an emergency measure, fleeing violence and faced with no other options, Nick seeks sanctuary in the filmmaker’s home.

Additional Information

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with part of the filmmaking team including Joe Spence (director and researcher) Nick Chamberlain (co-director and protagonist), and Khalil Avi Betz-Heinemann (producer). 

Background Information


From the Cubby derives its name from a makeshift encampment in Canterbury England that used to be frequented by members of the cities rough sleeping population. The Cubby also proved to be a geographical epicentre implicated in an outbreak of tuberculosis. The first episode in this film series (The Travellers Tale) serves to contextualise the precarious lives of the series protagonists as the disease takes hold in their community. This is the film that will be screened. The second episode (The Harmonicists Tale) will explore the treatment journeys of the people who were infected and the efforts of health and social care professionals as they battled to prevent further contagion. The third and final chapter (The Fishermans Tale) will take the form of a campaign where persons involved in the series build networks and advocate towards healthcare interventions and harm reduction initiatives. Building on six years of ethnographic fieldwork, the wider 'From the Cubby' project offers a blend of methodologies including documentary film making, storytelling, arts practise, public engagement, and participatory action research. The series aims to address barriers that many tuberculosis patients face, including mental health, inadequate housing, addiction, county-lines gang violence, poor nutrition, legal constraints, and impediments to welfare. From the Cubby is an extraordinary story, one that provides insights into lives on the brink, the challenges of conducting research with vulnerable populations, and a contribution to participatory and publicly engaged academia giving voice and visibility to people normally excluded from formal knowledge production. Half of the From the Cubby production team are former tuberculosis patients and co-director Nick Chamberlain brings lived experiences of rough sleeping whilst simultaneously attempting to recover from tuberculosis.

Website: www.fromthecubby.com