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To Bruce Mackenzie – For these and future memories

  In the flurry of a Tuesday afternoon, I receive an unexpected e-mail from Vicki Carroll. The header has your name in it Bruce, and I know instinctively within an instant what the message holds. I hover a while and then open the text to read the inevitable. You have stepped over, passed through the...

When we ask them they say ‘Don’t stop!’ – Knowledge as resistance to erasure at the launch of Black Cultural Activism Map

We watch in wonder as dancer Akeim Toussaint Buck moves his body as fluid as water across the black box of the stage. Our eyes are transfixed as the voice of activist Max Farrar intones the words of Sai Murray’s poem ‘Stop Signs’ over the sound system. And in Lane number 1 from Nigeria, wearing 1969,...

A Love of the Surface of the Earth – beyond the petroleum world

  Quite suddenly the light has gone. We are left to complete our voyage in the growing dark. The sea charts cease to become legible, the OS map strains the eyes. The words of that fount of all Thames Estuary sailing advice, Charlie Stock, are ringing in our ears ‘When night sailing, do not use...

#FromNopeToHope – Salon des Réfuseurs for our time

Heads up everybody interested in powerful political art and graphics. The exhibition From Nope To Hope – Art vs Arms, Oil and Injustice is running for an extra week, in Brixton Rec, London. Come and get inspired by the artwork of political artists, designers and activists who demanded their works were withdrawn from the Design...

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

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...

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...

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...

“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

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...

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’...

Democratising energy – an online peer learning course

  6 weeks of learning and sharing with people working on energy transitions around the world PLEASE NOTE: Registration for this course has now closed. If you would like to be notified of future courses like this, you can still fill out this form or sign up to Platform’s mailing list at the top of this page....