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The River Resurfaces - reflecting on politically engaged art from the 1970s to today

The River Resurfaces – reflecting on politically engaged art from the 1970s to today

    I’m sitting talking with Caroline Tisdall, a friend who has known Platform since 1986. We first came into contact with her via the producer and curator Richard Demarco: along with him, she was among the first to champion artist Joseph Beuys in the English-speaking world. Beuys’ art and politics were critical influences in...
Conversations with Suzi Gablik  - Living in wartime.

Conversations with Suzi Gablik – Living in wartime.

  I’ve recently returned from a visit to my friend and mentor, Suzi Gablik, in Virginia, USA. She has been an inspiration to so many over the past 33 years since the publication of ‘Has Modernism Failed’, and later her book ‘Conversations Before The End of Time‘. Her work harnessed an ecological sensibility in the...
UK-based and angry about #MuslimBan? Here's 5 things to do.

UK-based and angry about #MuslimBan? Here’s 5 things to do.

UK people. Are you angry about Trump’s attempts to deport people from the US? Did you perhaps go to the Women’s March, or sign that oddly-worded petition about cancelling Trump’s visit? Well, we’ve got more work to do (join a protest against the #MuslimBan this week), and more importantly, more work to do at home. Muslim lives, the...
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...
“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...
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...
2015 - The End of the Eternal Present

2015 – The End of the Eternal Present

Notes after a conversation with Doreen Massey, which took place ten days before the one-year anniversary of Syriza’s landslide victory of 25th January 2015. We were reflecting on the past year. What an extraordinary set of events has unfolded in those twelve months – the Syriza election, The Green Surge of last Winter, the transformational...
This Bitter Earth - rendering the invisible visible

This Bitter Earth – rendering the invisible visible

During my leave over the summer I was really glad to catch the performance Arctic Requiem outside the Shell Centre in August. Here’s a piece I wrote about it, prior to Shell’s decision to cease drilling in the Arctic Ocean. The rain lashes down. A strong south westerly drives it along the Thames, across Jubilee...
"This is a victory for the people, especially the Inupiat"

“This is a victory for the people, especially the Inupiat”

Seven years, $7 billion, and hundreds of protests was what it took. Shell is leaving the Alaskan Arctic. This morning we were outside Shell’s HQ on London’s South Bank to celebrate.  I ended up sharing the stage with Aurora – Greenpeace’s spectacular bus-sized polar bear puppet – and Emma Thompson. But I really wish I...