First Convergence Data Bomb

On Saturday 30th June 2012 we held our first Occupy Research Collective Convergence on Activism & Research Ethics at University College London.

It was a vibrant, exciting, wonderfully restless environment with lots of great discussions, both theoretical and practical, which spilled way beyond the initial remit and formed a strong basis for moving forward as a loose collective of activists, researchers and activist-researchers. The first two reflective pieces by participants are available here and here. Please feel free to send us any writings and reflections relating to your involvement in the convergence to

The raw, unedited, livestreamed videos from the convergence (with not great audio) are available here. But that’s a bit hard to make sense of, so edited and mastered audio from the convergence is available here:

Streamed audio

01 Introduction to ORC – MP3 (6.9 MB) Ogg Vorbis (4.4 MB)

02 Introduce Yourself – MP3 (49.9 MB) Ogg Vorbis (35.0 MB)

03 Open Space Brainstorm and Setup – MP3 (48.3 MB) Ogg Vorbis (32.8 MB)

04 Open Space – Research and Social Change – MP3 (23.1 MB) Ogg Vorbis (22.3 MB)

05 Open Space Feedback – MP3 (39.4 MB) Ogg Vorbis (26.6 MB)
05.1 Feedback – Research and Social Change – MP3 (7.6 MB) Ogg Vorbis (5.2 MB)
05.2 Feedback – Ethics of Researching Occupy – MP3 (4.1 MB) Ogg Vorbis (2.8 MB)
05.3 Feedback – What is Research – MP3 (4.4 MB) Ogg Vorbis (3.0 MB)
05.4 Feedback – Learning from the Past – MP3 (7.2 MB) Ogg Vorbis (4.9 MB)
05.5 Feedback – Teaching Social Movements – MP3 (5.0 MB) Ogg Vorbis (3.3 MB)
05.6 Feedback – Consent, Media, Creative Commons – MP3 (5.4 MB) Ogg Vorbis (3.6 MB)

06 Action Point Discussion – MP3 (48.5 MB) Ogg Vorbis (32.8 MB)


The silly drawings are from the very fun digital whiteboard that we had access to by very happy accident. Here’s the mind map from the initial introductory session (sorry about the handwriting, it was a bit tricky to use!):

After this circular introductory brainstorm, we started organising our open space session. ‘Open Space Technology‘ is a way of organising meetings that aims to fully harness the creative energies of each and every participant by encouraging them to take control of their discursive space. We used this method to identify the main themes of interest in the room and to refine these down into a handful of identifiable discussion topics to be undertaken separately, but with an encouraged free flow of people between groups at any time – the rule of two feet. Here are the slides from this part of the convergence as they ended up, so you can get a small idea of how the process worked:

The discussion groups that finally formed were:

Teaching Social Movements

Ethics of Researching Occupy

Learning from the Past – legacy, replication and burnout

Research and Social Change

What do we Mean by Research?

Consent, Media, Creative Commons

Above are individual pages for each of the separate open space discussion groups that were formed during the main part of the day, initially for any notes or minutes that were taken at the time, and then for continuing the group’s discussion and addressing action points.

Here are some rough minutes from the convergence up until this point.

Moving Forward – (Potential) ORC Projects

There were a variety of ideas for tangible projects that we could move forward with. Off the top of my head and in no particular order, they included:

  • Radical Teaching Collective, though it’s as yet unclear whether this wants to stay under ORC’s wing or splinter off
  • Activist teaching/research space (inspired somewhat by Palestine Place)
  • Ethical guidelines for researching Occupy or other social movements
  • Radical publishing (online/offline)
  • Collective research and writing
  • Addressing issues of distribution, copyright, creative commons and inlcusion
  • Study group for those actively researching Occupy
  • Skillshares and training (radical pedagogy, facilitation training, activist tech, etc)
  • Direct action research

Here are the whiteboard slides from our post-open space reconvergence:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s