Me and Riot Cops

Petersen, Vinca
Since the 1990s, Vinca Petersen’s work has remained an authentic voice of European counter-culture, providing a diaristic window into alternative spaces and lifestyles. As a multidisciplinary artist who works in the area of social practice, her works emerge from an engagement with underrepresented communities, giving them a voice and recognition. Petersen left home at the ages of 17 to live in a London squat, and quickly became immersed in the emerging rave scene that characterised Britain’s youth throughout the 1990s, before the lifestyle was outlawed by the British authorities. Her series Raves and Riots brings together a collection of photographs that capture a period spanning 1990–2004, documenting the artist’s experiences of this cultural moment. With unique access, Petersen’s archive documents a way of life, recording a creative response to breaking barriers between individuals. The images juxtapose the sense of escapism and euphoria associated with this movement and draw attention to Britain’s politically divided society particularly in the content of the 1994 Criminal Justice Bill. This Bill created a hostile environment for the squatters, travellers and rave organisers that made up the artist’s immediate circle. In response, Petersen and those closest to her adopted a nomadic lifestyle, transporting powerful sound systems across Europe in truck convoys, setting up parties in countryside locations and on the outskirts of urban areas. Petersen remained on the road until a few months before the birth of her son in 2005.
  • Artwork Details: 50.8 x 76.2cm
  • Edition: 1 of 10 + 2 AP
  • Material description: C-print
  • Credit line: © the artist. Image courtesy of the artist and Edel Assanti, London
  • Theme:
  • Medium: Photograph
  • Accession number: ACC8/2021



The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.