An Introduction to No Comply: Skate, Culture and Community

Through the work of leading photographers, designers and filmmakers, No Comply celebrates the country’s vibrant and diverse skateboarding scene, documenting the transformative influence the subculture has played in shaping people, cities and culture in the UK, and beyond.

By Somerset House

Aimee Gillingwater, No Comply (2018) by Jenna SelbySomerset House

‘A skateboard exhibition at Somerset House - **** off!’

– Nick Sharratt, Palomino 

Since its arrival in Britain in the mid 1970s, the British skateboarding scene has evolved into a diverse and dynamic force, and has had a transformative cultural influence, shaping both cities and communities.

Iain Borden riding at Knebworth Skatepark (1980) by Iain BordenSomerset House

In its early days, skateboarding allowed a sense of belonging and empowerment to the people on the fringes of society; but now it reaches out to the masses. The recent surge in skateboarding’s popularity during the Covid ‘Lockdowns’ of 2020 and 2021 has emphasised its growing inclusivity, extending its reach far beyond the outdated stereotypes of society’s rebels, to embrace a wider variety of ethnicities, genders, ages, identities and disabilities.

Hackney Bumps, Betongpark by Sam ElstubSomerset House

This exhibition explores the cultural, creative and emotive qualities of skateboarding, showing how it can nurture freedom of expression and resourcefulness, empower diverse communities, and have a positive effect on well-being. 

Aimee Gillingwater, No Comply (2018) by Jenna SelbySomerset House

These themes are celebrated through personal and shared stories, captured in photography, filmmaking, poetry, magazines and personal objects, giving a glimpse of the many opportunities skateboarding has to offer, and the different places it can take you.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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