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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...
The slow dismantling the house of oil - The Gulbenkian Foundation divests

The slow dismantling the house of oil – The Gulbenkian Foundation divests

Quite unexpected comes remarkable news! Lucy Neal, a long-term part of the Platform family, e-mails out of the blue, forwarding an article from the Algarve Daily News, published on 1st February in southern Portugal. The headline reads: ‘Gulbenkian Foundation gets out of the oil business’ That truly is unexpected. Lucy had not foreseen this coming...
In memoriam Ed Ross – in honour of one who honoured others

In memoriam Ed Ross – in honour of one who honoured others

  A Robin sings among the bare branches of the Ash trees. A small crowd is gathered in a corner of Highgate Cemetery to commit the ashes of Ed Ross to the earth. A few hundred yards away, obscured by the gravestones and tree trunks, is the imposing bust of Karl Marx. Ed died suddenly...
Victory at La ZAD ! – inspirational resistance through community

Victory at La ZAD ! – inspirational resistance through community

The people of Notres Dame des Landes have won! The people of La ZAD have won! The airport that the French state have tried to build for 50 years has been defeated! On 17th January President Macron decreed that the Nantes International airport, similar in size to Heathrow, would not go ahead after half a...
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...
Today, remembering the Ogoni Bill of Rights

Today, remembering the Ogoni Bill of Rights

10th November 2017 marks the 22nd anniversary since the executions of nine Ogoni men from the Niger Delta who had been protesting against the exploitation of oil in their homelands. These Nigerian activists – outspoken author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John...
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...