'How you would have loved these times' - A conversation with Doreen Massey

‘How you would have loved these times’ – A conversation with Doreen Massey

The days tip towards the darkness of Winter. The world of the North comes into our lives. The year stops and takes a breath. It pushes me to reflect on the months past. It makes me think of you Doreen and how you would have loved these times.  You’d have been everywhere. In your element, plugged...
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...
‘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...
So Switched On - The dream of London’s energy democracy

So Switched On – The dream of London’s energy democracy

The train hurries south on the main line towards Brighton, carrying me away from the event I have just attended, ‘Power to Us’ organised by Switched on London at Myatt’s Fields in Brixton. Looking out from the carriage, over the roofs of the houses of Purley stacked up this steep sided North Downs valley at...
The new is being born - reflections on Paul Mason’s ‘Postcapitalism’

The new is being born – reflections on Paul Mason’s ‘Postcapitalism’

  In these days of constant turbulence, in which what is nonsense on Tuesday becomes common sense on Wednesday, and what is common sense on Thursday becomes nonsense on Friday, I have found Paul Mason’s ‘Postcapitalism’ a valuable touchstone. This is a book profound, provocative and demanding a response. With boldness and a breadth of...
This is water defending itself – Protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline on Westminster Bridge

This is water defending itself – Protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline on Westminster Bridge

Forty feet wide by ten feet high the banner drapes delicately from the solid structure of Westminster Bridge. Standing at the parapet, gazing down at the brown river, we can see the upturned faces of over a hundred passengers looking up at us from the tourist vessel ‘Millennium Dream’. They are clearly trying to decipher...
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’...
Everything in Motion - of Swallows and resistance to the Lower Thames Crossing

Everything in Motion – of Swallows and resistance to the Lower Thames Crossing

Looking up through the skylight I catch only a glimpse of it soon after dawn. Less than a second. The effortless power of a confident killer. The shape of the dark sickle wings against the depth of the blue. A Hobby passing over the house, flying south down the Hoo Peninsula. It is only at...
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...