Liz from 3Cs recently participated in a the Community Mapping of Miles Platting in Manchester in collaboration with the University of Sheffield Urban Institute’s “Whose Knowledge Matters?” Project and the Manchester Community Grocer. The process involved a series of workshops with residents of the neighborhood of Miles Platting about how urban redevelopment projects are shaping their neighborhood and the lasting impacts of austerity. The map is currently on display at the Manchester Central Library as part of the Manchester Histories Festival. Here she shares a few reflections from her experience:
functions as collective research. Making
the Community Map of Miles Platting functioned as a form of
collective research in various ways. First, it allowed different
residents to share the knowledge they already have based on their
everyday life and experiences living in Miles Platting. Of
course these experiences differ, based on how long people had lived
in the neighborhood, their age, gender, race, ethnicity, education
level, whether they have children or sick or elderly residents to
care for, etc. etc. The
first workshop served as a space to share those experiences, without
attempting to come up with one dominant narrative, and then to
identify common themes and concerns
that would then serve as the basis for the icon-stickers we used in
the following workshops. Second,
the mapping also allowed us to identify new questions and things that
were unknown: Who
owns that plot of land? What are they building there? What
will happen to that abandoned building? Where is the new park they
promised us? Identifying these questions served as the basis for
further research and also allowed us to question why it was that
neighborhood residents didn’t have access to this information. Why,
despite promises of consultation and participatory planning
processes, were residents not only being left out of decision-making
processes, but also not even able to access information about what
was going on? Thus we decided to use blue stickers to indicate all of
these “mystery spaces” on the map.
3Cs’ Maribel Casas-Cortés on Against the Grain talking about precarity
From the show’s description:
To many people and activist networks in Europe, “precarity” denotes the insecurity and vulnerability experienced by workers, immigrants, tenants, unemployed people, and others as attacks on labor protections and welfare supports continue. Maribel Casas-Cortés views precarity as a toolbox concept capable of uniting diverse struggles.
And, check out Maribel’s article “A Genealogy of Precarity” here
An interview with the Q Mary Countermappers came out in Lateral a few months ago: http://www.culturalstudiesassociation.org/lateral/issue1/countermapping.html
There’s also a nice online version of the map and the game!
3Cs not only drifts through the global knowledge machine, but occupies parts of it as well:
See the Guardian’s map of Occupies & the map of Oct. 15 events around the world.
1. an encampment in the Puerta Sol
consisting of: tables for the different working groups and committees; 3 food stations; 2 infirmaries; a library (with a comfy couch and lots of books); a children’s space (with matted floors, toys and books); an art space (where people make signs and other artworks for the encampment); a tent offering free massages and “psychological help”; numerous sleeping areas and tents; and a lot of other stuff i’m forgetting. basically, everything one needs to live here (except for showers).
(this is the most recent map i could find, but as it’s a few days old,
it’s no longer exactly accurate)
food comes from donations and the 3 kitchens cook and distribute it
(The first in a series about the protests in Spain. Disclaimer: I’m in Madrid, therefore my posts are from the perspective of Madrid. There are marches, camps and assemblies in cities and towns across Spain – I would love to hear reports from more of them. Also, the pictures are not mine but have borrowed from other sources.)
I had the good luck to arrive in Spain on May 14, the day before the “#spanishrevolution” was to begin. Of course, it wasn’t entirely luck, I had been inundated with tweets and FB posts about May 15 for months, mostly by friends from Barcelona. That was enough to get me to pay the $40 extra and very quickly move out of my apartment to get to Madrid by the 15th. (point 1 about social media: if it got me to go to Madrid from the US, think how many people were encouraged by social media to travel much shorter distances.)
When in London recently, Liz met with the Carrotworkers’ Collective – a collective of ex-interns in the cultural sector, working largely around issues of free labor. Their work counters some of the myths surrounding free labor in the cultural sector, which are very similar to some of those that we’ve encountered in graduate school – it’s a rite of initiation (you have to suffer as a grad student to eventually make it into the ranks of tenured faculty), we do this work out of love (therefore we don’t need to get paid a living wage), etc.
We talked about different forms of militant research, including mapping and graphing, and ways of doing both quantitative and qualitative research. They emphasized the importance of having at least some quantitative data on the cultural sector, as well as documenting the subjective experiences of interns. One technique they’ve used is to have folks graph how they spend their time in terms of unpaid vs. paid labor and the trends and transformations over time and how people would ideally spend their time.
They are currently working on a Counter Internship Guide
We’re planning on doing a collaboration with the Carrotworkers and students at Queen Mary University in April and May of this year, more coming soon…
Liz recently got back from a visit to Bologna…
My first night in Bologna I gave a talk at Bartleby – an occupied space at the university and spoke about university struggles in the US and the edu-factory project. The talk was part of a week of events leading up to the strike on Friday that included other talks, meetings, music and parties. Some themes that came up in the discussion during my talk were:
– the relationship between autonomous movements and major trade unions
– the effects of student debt (universities in Italy are now beginning to charge tuition fees, forcing students to go into debt in order to study – like the US!)
– the effects of the Bologna Process and other efforts at standardization of university curriculum
The next day, I participated in the autonomous student & precarious workers’ march during the general strike, as part of the Yes We Cash campaign for a guaranteed minimum income.
Back in NC, our discussions focused on the importance and the pragmatics of having a space – in Bologna, as many other places around the world, taking over a space, not only as a temporary tactic, but to create a more permanent presence, an alternative space. These spaces are used for talks and discussions like the one I participated in, and also more generally as meeting places, spaces to enact the kind of university we want. Could we do this? It seems much harder to permanently occupy spaces within our university campus. For one, there is much less unused space to occupy and secondly, the administration is much less willing to negotiate with students for the control of a space. Yet this shouldn’t serve as discouragement, but rather open up new lines of inquiry and action. In Italy and other places, it is the strong base of student power that forces the administration to negotiate with students – building this power from below must be one of our starting points. Some questions that might merit further research – how are spaces used and controlled on our campus? What would we like that to look like? How might we begin to go about occupying university spaces differently? What about creating alternative spaces of knowledge production outside of the university?
The Anomalous Wave cannot be arrested! Let’s support the students against the repression of the italian governement!
Please sign and circulate the call in solidarity with the students arrested (add also your affiliation): http://www.PetitionOnline.com/wave/petition.html
At dawn this morning, in the framework of an investigation ordered by Torino’s Public Prosecutor office, Italian police made dozens of unwarranted house searches against students and activists. 21 of them are under arrest: 15 in prison, 6 under house-arrest.
This is the unjust response of the government and the Public Prosecutor Giancarlo Caselli to the mass demonstrations in Torino on 18-19 May against the G8. This is a clear suspension of any form of democratic right: the charges don’t justify remands after two months. Therefore, we are facing a direct attempt of intimidation against the Wave just a few days before the G8 in L’Aquila, a forum which clearly no longer has any democratic legitimacy now.
The answer of the Wave is instant. Immediately, students from all Italian cities have organized demonstrations, occupations, city blockades and meetings against the police’s heavy-handed operation. The slogan is one: freedom for all now! In the Wave there are no good or bad students: it’s one huge movement that expresses the main form of social opposition in this country in the last months.
We demand an immediate, clear and unequivocal statement by the university institutions against these arrests. Otherwise, deans and their offices will be under remand by the Wave. For this reason we have begun to occupy the dean’s offices of our universities and we’ll not stop until the last student is released.
Let’s generalize the Wave, generalize freedom! Freedom for all now!
news from our friends in Italy:
The Anomalous Wave has invaded the streets, and blocked the cities again, and again has conflicted on the link education-work, starting from the protests against the unsustainable and illegitimate G8 University Summit. In Turin, ten thousands students, moving from the Block G8 Building,decided to march across the centre, sanctioning banks and temporary employment agency, crying again that “We won’t pay for your crisis”. The whole Wave decided to break into the red zone, not to accept prohibitions to the freedom of movement, and to try to reach the venue of the illegitimate summit of the chancellors’ baronial lobby: we protected the demonstration from the charges and we denounce the massive and excessive use of tear gas thrown at eye level against students. Yet another Wave that subverts the G8 University Summit, once again we demonstrate our dissent, day after day in every faculty we build up the autonomous university by the “self reform”, we build up the reappropriation of income and the autonomous production of knowledge!