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The Invisible Machine – a gas pipeline in the Caucasus and a handshake in No10

The Invisible Machine – a gas pipeline in the Caucasus and a handshake in No10

On the evening of Thursday 26th April 2018, it was warm and sunny in London. President Ilham Aliyev strode down Downing Street and was met by Prime Minister Theresa May with smile and a handshake. They posed for the cameras on the red carpet outside No 10 and then retired inside. A short formal chat...
Aliyev re-elected as President for another 7 years – the chain of oil autocracy that binds Azerbaijan

Aliyev re-elected as President for another 7 years – the chain of oil autocracy that binds Azerbaijan

On 18th April Ilham Aliyev will be inaugurated for the fourth time as President of Azerbaijan. His re-election comes as no surprise. It is so predictable that it barely counted as ‘news’ and consequently got next to no coverage in the international media. Originally the election was scheduled for 17th October, but at nine weeks...
Spring in the Thames Valley – The extraordinary resistance of the more than human

Spring in the Thames Valley – The extraordinary resistance of the more than human

  Even in the dark the Blackbird sings. The bubbling song fills the night outside our bedroom window. You sleep silently, the bedclothes rising and falling, as the notes of the bird flow over you. Hours later, the grey light of dawn has come and with it the calls of Song Thrush and House Sparrow....
Avebury and the infrastructure of community

Avebury and the infrastructure of community

Over the Winter Break I walked at Avebury in Wiltshire with Nick Robins, a long term Platformer, who’s worked on several projects and was a Trustee. We had the chance to reflect on time and community. The soft whale back curve of the Ridgeway rose to the left, its skyline punctuated by barrows ringed with...
‘Art - Possibility – Action’ - creating spaces that are equal, democratic, free and luminous.

‘Art – Possibility – Action’ – creating spaces that are equal, democratic, free and luminous.

The storm of political events tosses us this way and that – first the election of Trump in the wake of Brexit, then the rejection of the far right Presidential candidate in the Austrian elections and the inspiring victory at Standing Rock in Dakota. Somewhat becalmed in the midst of the roaring gale, my mind...
Paradigm shift in the House of the North – reflecting on ‘The Sky’s Limit’

Paradigm shift in the House of the North – reflecting on ‘The Sky’s Limit’

  I’m trudging towards the top of Am Faochagach following my dear friend Greg Muttitt, who was for a long time central to Platform and is now part of the wider family. The smooth crest of this mountain rises like a whale’s back. Its lack of crags must have led to its name – Am...
For Lucy Fairley, founder of Helix Arts and Crossings

For Lucy Fairley, founder of Helix Arts and Crossings

My friend and Platform ally Lucy Fairley has died, aged 70. We’ve known her and her work for nearly 25 years and worked especially closely with her in the late 1990s. She founded Artists Agency in Sunderland in 1983, and in 1987 appointed Esther Salamon to join her initially as Placement Officer, then as in...
Strip away the carapace – the Ice Age, BP, and the British Museum

Strip away the carapace – the Ice Age, BP, and the British Museum

It pushes me quickly to tears. I’m kneeling on the cold stone floor of the Great Court, legs tucked beneath me, one foot crossed under the other. I’m listening to a rendition of A Requiem to Sinking Cities – an agit-performance in the heart of the British Museum. Silent figures hold up two banners, ‘#DropBP’...
The changing wind - shedding the carbon skin

The changing wind – shedding the carbon skin

  I am cramming chocolate into your mouth. I feel the dampness of your lips against my fingertips and see the brown squares tumble into the darkness. It takes seconds to complete the task, but the time draws out, slows down. All around is mayhem. The wind makes the shrouds howl. The sound thrusts a...
“Unprecedented Change”? What does a corporation in transition look like? - notes from the Shell AGM 2016

“Unprecedented Change”? What does a corporation in transition look like? – notes from the Shell AGM 2016

“Innovation and care are in our DNA”, says the soft female voice-over that accompanies the new promotional video by Shell. We, the attendees at the corporation’s 2016 Annual General Meeting in the Circus Theater, Scheveningen, sit comfortably in our red velvet seats watching the massive screen above the heads of the Shell directors on the...
Ffos-y-Fran and Nant Llseg - the struggle to #keepitintheground

Ffos-y-Fran and Nant Llseg – the struggle to #keepitintheground

On the morning of 3rd May 2016 there was a successful occupation at the Ffos-y-Fran opencast mine in South Wales by Reclaim the Power. This blog was written in the build up to that action. We’re heading for our tent in the incessant drizzle, weaving between clusters of newly sprouted tents and trying hard to...
Drawing Red Lines - from Paris to Ffos-y-fran

Drawing Red Lines – from Paris to Ffos-y-fran

I watched the twitter feed and followed the news early last December filled with a mixture of excitement at what unfolded in Paris and mild envy of companions who were immersed in the ebb and flow of events around COP 21, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. As the reports of the...