A couple of weeks ago we had a really productive meeting in which we decided that ORC should focus on two concrete projects, one relatively short term and quite doable, and the other a slightly more mid-term project to work on. Minutes from the meeting are below, but here is a brief summary of the projects as they were discussed:
1. Drafting “Guidelines on the Ethics of Activist Research”
The idea is to generate some broad outlines which could then be brought to an open meeting for as many as possible to participate. This has already been brought up at Occupy London GAs and at previous ORC meetings. The idea is that the process of putting together some broad ethical guidelines for all those who research social movements could trigger some thoughts about “good practice”.
To develop this we have a PiratePad document, here, for collective editing and discussion, and we can also use our discussion list for the latter, amazingly.
2. Organising a second National Convergence, but this time with a focus on bringing together already existing groups/networks that are engaged in forms of activist/militant/participatory research. We felt that the first convergence went really well, and that we know how to do this, and should follow up by trying to map out as many of the groups that already exist in order to see exactly what is being done, what else could be done, if we can think a bit about our strategy together.
It was suggested that we should meet once again before christmas to follow up on both of these. This may not be necessary, but we should discuss this on the mailing list.
ORC meeting 27.11.2012 minutes:
- Recap on ORC
- Assessing what we want out of it and what we can put into it
- Focus – what we’re capable of
- Occupy London GA on Ethics
- Updates on existing projects
- Paul update on Haringey
- Started as reading group, developed into a Collective, had our convergence which went really well. Ideas for projects emerged from that: Collective Writing, Ethical Activism Research Guidelines, Occupy Research Repository, Journal, Skillsharing, Radical Teaching Collective. But only two of them have had enough ongoing interest to take off: RTC, which has splintered into a separate group, and the Ethics Guidelines, which is being developed.
3-7. all became quite fluid.
A – Where have we had success already?
Z – Should we open up a big network? If so we should list and contact other similar groups.
S – We’ve been good at focusing down on one concrete thing together. Rather than on 8 different things. Two possible good things to do then. 1) Ethics of researching Occupy, because it’s similar to theme of first convergence. Ethics of Researching Activism. 2) Out of last meeting. What hasn’t happened: convergence of different activist research groups. It has kind of happened a year or so ago. But we could host a national or international convergence of different activist research collectives. Free Uni etc. 3-4 month project. Meeting irregularly
A – what are these other research networks? What do they do?
S – They are broadly militant research. Break down boundaries between research and activism, against reproducing binaries. Avoiding or subverting institutions.
P – what is it going to achieve? What change are we actually going to make?
S – one thing to point out. We’re not officially a part of Occupy. We are inspired by and in solidarity with Occupy.
J – concrete project good – Ethics of researching Occupy would produce an interesting powerful result. Not so keen on networks within networks and big unwieldy international groups.
S – an activist research group on Carpenters has just been formed. So maybe a network of networks is what’s needed, to link up all these existing projects.
A – not international, maybe national. A national convergence could pull together these strands.
Sa – nat conv focused on contacting all the groups that do exist to come together.
Si – Maybe int conv too broad, not to relevant to those taking part.
J – Last conv was really good, people benefited. We could take that forward to the next stage. If we could get money we can help people get to the conv.
P – international inspiration would be good at a meeting.
Sa – is our role a newtwork that buddies people up and makes people aware of eachother? Reality is that people haven’t had resources for projects. So if we can get on with guidelines, we can see what happens afterwards. Without saying we should do like 6 things.
Z – we should focus on one thing at a time.
J – I’m happy to work on the guidelines then the convergence at a later date.
A – I’m not entirely understanding the importance of the ethics guidelines, but interested in the convergence.
P – interested in the convergence, but concerned about creating the ethics guidelines at an assembly.
S – On ethics guidelines. I’m someone researching social movements. V difficult. Lots of challenges. Many people aren’t worried about ethics of researching social movements, essentially exploiting them for their own ends. Guidelines are to suggest that if someone is researching something like Occupy you would be expected to do certain things. Make research openly available. Help in the group. Etc. We could put it on the blog and refer people to it.
J – I agree with the content, but what is the framework? I agree something needs to be done, but how do we make a big impact? Is an Occupy GA the best frame in which to do that?
Si – what about reach? Good to publish widely to stimulate discussion. Times Higher Eduction Supplement, Guardian CiF etc.
J – hand pick academic reporters to come to the assembly to talk about it. And target specifically.
Si – support for both ethics guidelines and national convergence. Propose we carry both these projects forward.
Sa – January good for Ethics guidelines? Work through piratepad ready to present at an assembly in January. Convergence in Spring. April? (agreement)
J – we need money. Needs to be well organised. We should explore technicalities.
Sa – we could aim to start finalising the conv date by January. Guidelines and conv callout could go out together. Briefly other networks: PARN, which has mailing list but no website yet. Has just merged with another group that came out of protests against UCL demolishing an estate for a new campus.
P [Agenda point 8] – shoutout on housing issues. TaxPayersAgainstPoverty – website and facebook.
A couple of weeks ago we had a really productive meeting in which we decided that ORC should focus on two things, one relatively short term and quite doable, and the other a slightly more mid-term project to work on. I think that minutes from the meeting are still to be sent round, but here is a brief summary:
1. Drafting “Guidelines on the Ethics of Activist Research”
The idea is to use this list to generate some broad outlines which could then be brought to an open meeting for as many as possible to partocipate. This has already been brought up at Occupy London GAs and at previous ORC meetings. The idea is that the process of putting together some broad ethical guidelines for all those who research social movements could trigger some thoughts about “good practice”. I’ll send another email on this soon.
2. Organising a second National Convergence, but this time with a focus on bringing together already existing groups/networks that are engaged in forms of activist/militant/
It was suggested that we should meet once again before christmas to follow up on both of these. Given that not much has been yet this may not be necessary, but I am still happy to meet. In the meantime I’ll get a piretpad document sent around to start drafting point 1.