A crucial part of this project is creating and maintaining a continuous dialogue between academic and non-academic activists about our research. To this end, we have set up an advisory group consisting of educators, researchers and practitioners linked in some way to autonomous political movements. We held two highly productive and enjoyable advisory meetings in February 2006 and March 2007 (transcript of 2006 session).
For the past few years, Alex Plows has been working on a research project entitled The Emerging Politics of Human Genomic Technologies at the Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (cesagen) hosted by Lancaster and Cardiff Universities. Alex got involved in direct action in 1992 with the infamous ‘anti roads protests’ and has taken direct action on many issues in a variety of forms at both local (gwynedd and mon earth first!) and national levels. Her PhD was on Praxis and Practice: the ‘What, How and Why’ of the UK Environmental Direct Action Movement in the 1990s. Her research interests include the social, ethical and political implications of human genetic technologies, social movement theory and ethnography, the epistemology and practice of qualitative research, ‘green’ politics, feminist theory, globalisation/neo-liberalism, Welsh rurality and identity issues, and sustainable development, and she has published widely in these fields.
Alice Cutler is part of the Trapese Popular Education Collective. Trapese formed in 2004 and in the run up to the G8 summit in Scotland they carried out over 100 workshops and events engaging people with a radical analysis of the G8 and climate change. Since then they have continued to develop and promote popular education and have recently edited a book, Do It Yourself: a Handbook for Changing Our World, published by Pluto. Alice is involved with campaigns and educational projects about climate change and migration issues and also with Brighton’s Cowley Club Social Centre.
‘Bob Black’ is the pseudonym of a London-based anticapitalist activist who would prefer to remain as anonymous as possible. Bob has been involved in numerous political struggles and actions over the past seven years with particular focus on precarity, migrant struggles, anti-gentrification, and occupied social centres. The kinds of groups Bob has been part of include No Borders London, Wombles, and Voices of Resistance from Occupied London.
Tragically, Duncan Fuller died shortly after the end of the project. His loss is seismic, he was just a great, great human being. A tribute page has been set up here. His original biography is retained below. Before he left us to cope with the impending meltdown of the planet, Duncan gave birth to an amazing new project that we are involved in – Engaging Geography
Duncan is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Northumbria University, UK. His main research interests are the emerging new economic geographies of social and financial exclusion and inclusion, credit union development, alternative economic spaces and proliferative economies, graffiti, participatory methodologies, and geographies of the academy. He is co-author of Social Geography: An Introduction to Society and Space (Arnold, 2001), Thinking Geographically: Space, Theory and Contemporary Human Geography (Continuum, 2002), and The Academics’ Guide to Publishing (Sage, 2005). He is also Director of PEANuT, which provides a range of services in participatory appraisal, and supports users in north-east England.
Jai Redman is Creative Director of UHC Collective, an inter-disciplinary art collective, based in Manchester in the UK. He is a founding member of the Collective and a director of the company. Jai Redman graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Reading University in 1993. He has been variously employed as a prop builder, computer games developer and exhibition designer, as well as spending nearly 10 years as an environmental direct activist and social justice campaigner. He has spoken on the importance of art in political resistance at the ICA and curated shows of politically engaged art. Currently occupied as Creative Director at UHC, and as an artist on his many personal painting, installation and sculpture projects.
Javier Ruiz currently works as a trade union organiser of cleaners on the London Underground with UNITE the Union (a recent merger of TGWU and AMICUS). He is a longstanding alternative media activist, principally as a volunteer with Reclaim the Streets, London Indymedia and under the ‘alt-tech’ stream of the World Social Forum process.
Katie Griffiths is a community development worker in Little London, Leeds. She works for Community Action Little London and Servias, a resident-led, independent community group that aims to empower local people to help themselves and their community. CALLS successfully campaigned for a new pedestrian crossing, organises the annual community day, supports a local film-makers’ club, runs regular community clean-ups and participates in important meetings about area management and service delivery. The role of CALLS has been particularly relevant in an area facing regeneration under PFI.
Larch Maxey gained a Law degree from Manchester University in 1993. Whilst completing an MSc in Environmental Policy in 1994 he co-founded the NO M65 direct action anti-road camp where he lived for one year. He has since founded grassroots direct action campaigns on a range of issues including genetic engineering and aviation. He completed his PhD on sustainable communities in 2003 and has researched and published broadly within the fields of sustainability, resistance and children’s geographies. He is chair and co-founder of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Children, Youth and Family Working Group. From 2004-6 he directed a Welsh Assembly Government funded project integrating Sustainability training in staff development within Welsh Universities. He is currently a keen Welsh language learner and a core group member of the Lammas Low Impact Settlement Project.
Simon Tormey is Professor of Politics and Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham. His research interests concern the interconnections between continental thought, normative political theory and radical political practice. Current projects include work on the crisis of representation in democratic theory; the trajectory of post-Marxist thought since 1968; and the nature of resistance to neoliberal governance, locally and globally. He is the author of numerous books and articles including Anti-Capitalism (Oneworld, 2004), and Exploring Post-Marxisms (Sage, forthcoming). Professor Tormey is also Director of the new Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice based in the School of Politics. A selection of his work can be found on his website.
Steffen Bohm is Lecturer in Management at the Department of Accounting, Finance and Management, University of Essex. He is on the editorial collective of the journal Ephemera: theory and politics in organization and founding co-editor of the new publishing press Mayflybooks. His book Repositioning Organization Theory: Impossibilities and Strategies reads a range of critical and post-structural philosophies in order to critique the political positioning of the field of organization and management theory. He has also co-edited Against Automobility (Blackwell). He is currently involved in the Alt Media Res Project and has recently produced a video montage IM-Material Siberia. Check out his website.
On 28-29 August 2009 in Manchester, activist geographers from around the world will share experiences, insights and methods in relation to defending people’s ‘right to stay put’ and resisting gentrification, displacement and privatisation as part of urban regeneration schemes.
‘Third time lucky’ was Lammas’ motto as they resubmitted their planning application in November 2008. Despite being beleaguered by Byzantine bureaucratic bungling the group remain committed to developing nine eco-smallholdings and a community hub building on their first site in Pembs, Wales and the land purchase is going ahead.
A new book on Low Impact Development has just been published. Edited by Jenny Pickerill and Larch Maxey, with contributions from Simon Fairlie, Tony Wrench, Simon Dale and many more, Low Impact Development: The Future in our Hands explores the radical form of sustainable housing and livelihood in tune with the natural environment and offering innovative solutions for the environmental, social and economic challenges of the 21st century.
Engaging Geography is a seminar series (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council) that aims to explore and respond to key challenges facing geography in 2008 and beyond. Our first seminar will be held on Friday and Saturday January 23rd and 24th, 2009 at the Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK (see www.starandshadow.org.uk ): ‘How did that happen?’ The creation of time and space for public geographies.
University of Leeds, Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre, 6-8pm.
The teach-in will examine the origins of the credit crisis and why it has become so severe; the policies now being pursued nationally and internationally; and the long-term economic and political implications, particularly in relation to financial regulation and global governance.
The Permaculture Association (Britain) is a small education and research charity that supports individuals and groups to learn more about the theory and practice of permaculture. It is currently advertising two vacancies for a Project Coordinator and Finance Clerk at its Leeds office. Closing date: 27 June 2008. More information can be downloaded from its website
A former PhD student and current employee Nottingham University faces deportation to Algeria on 1 June following his unjust arrest under the Terrorism Act 2000 after he printed an Al Qaeda manual as a favour for a research student. Read on and see the Free Hicham Yezza campaign.
A new book has been published bringing together the diverse stories about many of the UK’s social centres, along with thoughts on their effectiveness, the problems they encounter, and the political ideas they encapsulate. What’s this place? has been written by activists involved in social centres with support from the Autonomous Geographies project.
Undercurrents have released the latest episode of their video series ‘Living in the Future’ about Lammas and many other ecovillage type projects around the world. Living in the Future highlights how people have come together to build their own homes, grow their own food, and create lively and sustainable communities.