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Vive La Zad ! – in the midst of the tear gas, La Zad exists in our hearts

Vive La Zad ! – in the midst of the tear gas, La Zad exists in our hearts

The police arrived at 03.00 am on the morning of Monday 9th April. The exact number is, of course, unclear but it is said that 2,500 officers in riot equipment, with crash helmets and visors, Perspex shields and plastic body armour were deployed. Two and a half thousand highly trained men appeared out of the...
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....
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...
La Zad puts down roots – sensing the future

La Zad puts down roots – sensing the future

We’re in the middle of the crowd. Standing some way back from the stage, watching transfixed and elated at the performance of Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp. Two trombones, two drummers, two marimbas, two electric guitars, two cellos and five other musicians blast out such a blissful riot of sound that our souls sail above...
Communal Memory - the power of community to resist Shell in Nigeria

Communal Memory – the power of community to resist Shell in Nigeria

I’m holding in my hands a report published by Amnesty International in November last year – ‘A Criminal Enterprise? Shell’s involvement in human rights violations in Nigeria in the 1990s’. It analyses in forensic detail exactly how much Shell staff knew about, and were involved in supporting, the actions by the Nigerian military taken against...
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...
Argentinian community defies BP and Petrobras to ban fracking

Argentinian community defies BP and Petrobras to ban fracking

The Argentinian municipality of Vista Alegre is fighting to keep in place a fracking ban on top of some of the biggest tight oil and gas fields in the country. The municipal council of Vista Alegre banned fracking by a unanimous decision in January. But right after the ban was officially published, the state attorney...
"Art is direct, it challenges the authorities, the power structure" Ken Saro-Wiwa jr, 1968 - 2016

“Art is direct, it challenges the authorities, the power structure” Ken Saro-Wiwa jr, 1968 – 2016

Yesterday at All Saints Church in Fulham, London, we attended a celebration of the life of journalist, government special advisor, and digital tech innovator Ken Saro-Wiwa jr. His life was suddenly cut short at the age of 47. We are sorrowed by this profound loss to the Saro-Wiwa family, and of a talented man invested in...
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...