As we’ve become more dispersed geographically, now spanning three continents, and temporally, with different rhythms of everyday life and precarity and different care and community responsibilities, we often find it hard to work together on big projects. But our collective thinking still informs work that we are all doing and we continue writing and theorizing about maps and counter-maps, precarity, migration, care, and militant research, among other things…Continue reading
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:
1) Mapping 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.Continue reading
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!
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).
(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
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?
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.
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!