TripWires is a collaboration between Index on Censorship, Britain’s leading organisation promoting freedom of expression, and Phakama UK, a charity committed to the practice of cultural exchange and the celebration of shared experiences that promotes a non-hierarchical educational philosophy through the medium of the arts that actively encourages trainees to become trainers. This workshop provided that very opportunity with two students of the TripWires programme sharing the skills they have developed during the project with a group of participants at the Free Word Centre.
Whilst Dr Blaug’s book and its focus on day-to-day corruption and power dynamics informed the discussions during the week, the How Power Corrupt project as a whole sought to challenge the censorship imposed by the high price and restrictive culture surrounding academic publishing. This led the Roundhouse Group to invite TripWires to conduct a drama workshop to see if the arts could help us explore the complex issues covered in Dr Blaug’s book and offer another way of approaching the subject matter.
The workshop demanded participants to reflect on their own experiences of power. In groups we created freeze frames, depicting scenes when we had felt powerful or powerless; in pairs we led our partner round the room, giving them a subject matter to discuss and starting and stopping them from speaking at will; group members were asked to adopt what they thought to be the most powerful position in the room; games opened up and shut down space available and asked what the impact of this was on the individual. One exercise used key phrases from Blaug’s book; each member of the workshop was given a phrase and adopted a relevant pose whilst one person tried to discover the rest of the group’s ‘trigger’ which would spark them to say the phrase out loud, resulting at times in a sporadic cacophony. Some of the techniques were subtle whilst others bluntly addressed what it felt like to have your space and speech restricted.
The TripWires workshop sought to explore the emotional and experiential side of power and corruption, setting it apart from the other conference-style events during the week. The immediacy and physicality of the exercises ensured everyone participated, asking the group to reflect on their own personal experiences of power and censorship. Key themes, phrases and images were brought to the fore by the games and exercises stimulating deeper discussion, asking the group to reflect on the ways in which power acts on you, encroaching on your ability to think, act and move. Lots of the anecdotes shared related back to education, interactions with the law and memories from childhood. The workshop provided an accessible, personal and physical way of exploring the subject matter; underpinning the more abstract, theoretical discussions that went on during the rest of the week with the reminder that the personal is always political.
The Occupation Cookbook
or the Model of the Occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb
Introduction by Marc Bousquet
Translated from the Croatian by Drago Markisa
The Occupation Cookbook is a “manual” that describes the organization of the student occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences that took place in the spring of 2009 and lasted for 35 days. It was written for two reasons: to record what happened, and to present the particular organization of this action in such a way that it may be of use to other activists and members of various collectives if they decide to undertake a similar action.
What does it mean to “occupy” a school? A school occupation is not, as the corporate media like to portray it, a hostile takeover. A school occupation is an action by those who are already its inhabitants – students, faculty, and staff – and those for whom the school exists. (Which is to say for a public institution, the public itself.) The actions termed “occupations” of a public institution, then, are really re-occupations, a renovation and reopening to the public of a space long captured and stolen by the private interests of wealth and privilege. The goal of this renovation and reopening is to inhabit school spaces as fully as possible, to make them truly habitable – to make the school a place fit for living. – Marc Bousquet, from the Introduction
Free pdf can be found here
Radical Publishing: What Are We Struggling For?
19 March 2011
£12 / £11 concessions / £10 ICA Members / £5 students and ICA Members under 26 (call box office to book)
Last year’s student protests saw a new generation take to the streets. Much was made of the vandalism and disruption that occurred, with some arguing it eclipsed the protests’ intentions—but were the students’ demands ever clearly articulated? Did the protestors know what they were struggling for? From pamphlets and theses to journals and zines—the relationship between protest and print goes back a long way and has helped galvanise and articulate dissent, but do radical publishers and radical thinkers still matter today and how do they relate to contemporary protest?
For one day, the ICA will host some of the UK’s most exciting radical thinkers, published by British radical publishers such as Verso, Zed Books, Zero Books, Pluto Press and AK Press, to grapple with these issues and more.
From 12pm to 5pm, four panels will explore topics such as:
- Tactics of Struggle: with John Holloway, David Graeber and Carrot Workers
- New Psychic Landscapes: with Franco Berardi ‘Bifo’, Mark Fisher and Saul Newman
- New Public: with Peter Hallward, Hilary Wainwright and Richard Seymour
- New Economics: with Andrew Simms, Milford Bateman and Ann Pettifor
This event is organised as a collaboration between the ICA and Through Europe, with special thanks to Associate Producer Federico Campagna.
Walter Benjamin’s The Life of Students
“Benjamin makes an intelligent and eloquent case against the poverty of student life under capitalism in this early essay, written more than fifty years before the Situationists would tackle the same subject. He argues against the intellectual frigidity and alienation of the university as a factory of future workers, and for a genuine “community of learning.” Wider social issues that affect the university environment such as student activism, gender, and sexuality are also dealt with.”
Taken from libcom.org