Don't throw activist histories away: Huntley Conference on Arts & Activism, Culture & Resistance

Don’t throw activist histories away: Huntley Conference on Arts & Activism, Culture & Resistance

18th February, London There were over a 100 artists, activists, community workers, young people, archivists & conservators, educators, parents, grandparents, policymakers. We were taking part in talks, creative “Groundings” sessions, a parallel youth conference, music & poetry performances, from the fabulous El Crisis, younger talented artists, and the more experienced, discussing race and power, creativity and...
Art & Oil: guest review of 'The Oil Show' in Dortmund

Art & Oil: guest review of ‘The Oil Show’ in Dortmund

The Oil Show art exhibition at the Hartware MedienKunstVerein in Dortmund, Germany, is a group show about oil and its deeply rooted influence in economy and society. This major exhibition, on til 18th March 2012, states “We have reached Peak Oil – the maximum capacity of global crude oil extraction and production. After Peak Oil, the...
How John Browne, BP and the Old Boys Network keep the arts well-oiled

How John Browne, BP and the Old Boys Network keep the arts well-oiled

It’s 10.30am on a spectacularly sunny winter’s day and I’m in the Members’ Room at Tate Modern.  The room overlooks the Square Mile – London’s financial district – and the view symbolises the growing pressures on artists and arts organisations to seek funding from the private sector, specifically from business. Looking once again at the panel...
Conviction of two of Stephen Lawrence's murderers: a new chapter

Conviction of two of Stephen Lawrence’s murderers: a new chapter

To see what Platform’s youth, arts and activism project Shake! has to say at this significant moment, and also going back over the months to when we started the project at the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford in August 2010, start here. Shake’s young people make change happen through poetry, music, comment, actions, discussion, and performances, supported...
'Britain on Trial' event in The Guardian

‘Britain on Trial’ event in The Guardian

Check out this coverage of Shake! and Leeds Young Authors’ event on institutional racism in The Northerner blog. You don’t want to miss this unique collaboration between young people, Leeds University’s MA Activism and Social Change, Leeds Bicentenary Transformation Project, Leeds Black Film Club, chaired by Esther Stanford-Xosei of Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition of Europe. The...

UpRise Anti-Racism Festival was amazing

On Sunday, various Shakers were revelling in “Community is Home”, UpRise’s 2011 Festival happening across 14 venues in Dalston, Hackney. The day was bright and warm, and the vibe was fantastic. Boris Johnson’s decision to remove funding from the original “Rise” Festival did not deter the many committed individuals and organisations from making this incredibly...

Free University of Liverpool, full of love

(a personal view…) “Why free?” “Who is it?” “What scares you?” “What trouble do you expect to get into?” “What existing structures and conventions of universities do we want to ditch?” “How Liverpool is it”? “Are we students? Who are we?” “How will we know when people/we are committed?” “Is it about curriculum or freeness?...

Uncontainable truth – Gripping documentary on cargo ships

This speaks for itself. Those of us who have been somehow hoping that crossing oceans by ship is the lower carbon alternative to flight will be thinking again.“The Box that changed Britain”

Donors warn US university over artist’s climate change work

It’s 22nd July 2011, and another arts, fossil fuel sponsorship, censorship story breaks. There’s a furore over a newly commissioned public sculpture at the University of Wyoming. Wyoming is a US state which mines more coal than any other in the union. The piece, called Carbon Sink, What Goes Around Comes Around by British artist...

On not always labouring furiously

“The mind should not be kept continuously at the same pitch of concentration, but given amusing diversions… Our minds must relax: they will rise better and keener after a rest. Just as you must not force fertile farmlands, so uninterrupted productivity will soon exhaust it, so constant effort will sap our mental vigour, while a...

Shell sponsorship and censorship at Southbank Centre?

On 29th June, the Arts Council England finally announced its new “Catalyst Arts” philanthropy programme, aimed at pushing arts organisations towards a US-style corporate and private philanthropy culture. It’s ironic that 3 days later, PLATFORM had a close encounter with censorship from a major arts venue, the Shell-sponsored Southbank Centre, London. As part of the...

Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Living Memorial launched in Tottenham

On Tottenham Civic Day, 25th June, the day dawned damp. But we needn’t have worried. The weather held and a good crowd enjoyed the full programme of outdoor performances, creative artists’ stalls, and delicious barbecue that was laid on by the great staff at Bernie Grant Arts Centre. The Centre is the new home for...