Next ORC meeting Monday 7-9pm 15th October @Cuts Café

Hi everyone!

We have a ridiculously short-notice announcement for you, which we hope you’ll be able to take advantage of, and many apologies if not. A few London-based ORC people have also been involved in a temporary anti-austerity social centre called Cuts Café, and we’ve arranged to have an ORC meeting there tomorrow, Monday 15th, 7-9pm, to catch up and reflect anew upon existing project ideas, and to hopefully discuss the ORC project with some new faces.

Like our previous convergence, the agenda will be formed by those present as a facilitated discussion.

We hope you can make it!

(And again apologies for late notice, organising Cuts Café has been pretty manic!)

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Notes from ORC meeting 01/08/12

Notes from ORC post-convergence meeting in London 01/08/2012

 

It was a smallish group so we didn’t spend much time talking about the process of the convergence, we focused on the various project ideas that emerged from it and what needs to be done to get them off the ground.

 

Guidelines for activist research.

Sam has brought the idea up at an Occupy London GA.

We need a date for Ethics of Researching Occupy guidelines to be drawn up collectively with an OL GA.

When? 8th/9th September to be proposed to Occupy.

Advertise planning meeting through ORC & OL networks.

We shouldn’t bring a draft, but we could introduce the idea including some ideas that have been discussed already. Also examples of how it’s been done before.

Put up on website beforehand?

We’ll need a planning meeting to discuss facilitation and how to introduce it. Doodle time!

 

Two Spanish comrades arrive, involved Spanish movements, later they interview Sam in Spanish.

 

Journal

–      Big challenge. First step could be to collate articles on Occupy. [Note from Simon after the event – I like the name Occupy Research Repository. Thoughts?]

–      This would establish the space for Occupy writings which can then be developed into our own journal. In short, let’s do this a bit later. (Email if you want to work on this!)

 

Collective Writing

Start with a workshop to investigate the idea? Send call out to gauge interest.

 

Broaden Links

Cross networks

Occupy Research

PARN – Saturday day of workshops on participatory & activist research methodologies

Militant Postgrad Research Network (initially Geography)

Leeds – broad network inc academics & campaign for public university & really open university & space project & trade union education people. Aiming to oppose what’s happening to institutions and propose alternatives.

Action: Collectively write description of ORC to send out to other networks, who we are and what we do

 

Study Group?

Phil actioned to email list. Possible crossover with Collective Writing group?

 

Direct Action Research?

No one at the meeting really has clear ideas of exactly how to take this forward and make it workable. A work in progress?

 

Website

Funding, hosting etc

BACKUP!!!! (how?)

Edit generic user – give lower privileges so it can’t delete the blog!

People please check ORC email inbox

People should still be encouraged to write reflections and blog posts

 

Actions

Request convergence feedback – send out feedback request form.

People should still be encouraged to write reflections and blog posts

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Occupy Research Repository project

One of our now ongoing projects will be an Occupy Research Repository. It has its own page here where progress on the project will be collated. Here’s the first info on it:

 

ORC discussions have identified two big issues that we feel can both be addressed on this page.

1. There does not seem to exist yet a comprehensive compilation of research that has been done and published on Occupy. Here we wish to institute an Occupy Research Repository, which we hope will facilitate the developing debates and discourses on the theory and practice of Occupy. To get us started, here’s an open access google doc in which we can start collating available articles. Please add texts in alphabetical order by author surname in a bibliographical style, and note afterwords where the text is freely available online. If it is not freely available, please email us a digital copy if you have one and we will see to making it available, in the interests of freedom of information.

Once we have some texts collected we plan to work with the wonderful site http://aaaaarg.org to make the texts available. We will create an Occupy Research Repository ‘issue’ there where the texts will be grouped, and we will create a guide here on how and why to use, support and maintain free library sites like aaaaarg.org, which are not just helpful to all those interested in furthering knowledge and understanding, but are an absolutely vital resource for researchers, professional and otherwise, who cannot afford, individually or even through their institution, access to expensive books and journals.

Once again, here’s the google doc in which we can start to collate research on Occupy: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XnTkMN7gbZaYq4J8tESaY7yR2PAJf4gJR_PXWUhl9WY/edit

2. As hinted at above, we hope to also collate links to other free online libraries, again with help on how and why we should use and support these priceless social assets.

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Collective Writing Call Out

Hello

At the convergence in July and again Wednesday evening at the latest ORC meeting we briefly discussed a collective writing study group so we can perhaps work together on research and what research should look like, perhaps challenging how research and writing is traditionally done to create a more emancipatory/radical way of writing. This group may be helpful for active researchers to share, support and read each others research and work, for activists who want to help with the collating and writing-up of research and for those wanting to work with others to research and write-up together research to explore the possibilities of collective writing beyond collaborative writing. Anyone is welcome to take part and see what we come up with hopefully quashing the binary of researcher/activist.
If you are interested please respond. It may be good to have a first meeting which should be representative of the group itself in terms of who is involved. It may be that we want to start by discussing what collective writing may look like and think about how we might use collective writing and sharing of research. Whilst it may be particularly helpful to students it should also help anyone interested in researching any area. So please respond if you are interested so we can decide when/if we should meet and to start discussing what collective writing might look like. Thank you.
This project now has its own page here, where further info will go as things develop. To contact us please see our About page.
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Next meeting 6pm Wednesday 1st August followed by Radical Teaching Collective

Post-Convergence Debrief – 6pm Wednesday 1st August

Meet SOAS steps to discuss what (on earth!) happened at our fantastic convergence last month and what we should now be doing about it, or perhaps what is already being done about it.

Contact 0786 2258 733 if you arrive late to find out exactly where we’ve settled.

Followed by…

Radical Teaching Collective – first meeting – 7:30pm

Will likely be in the same Bloomsbury space the ORC meeting ends up in. Also contact 0786 2258 733 after 6pm to find out where.

See the Radical Teaching Collective page for more info.

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Convergence data bomb has landed

Anti-heros, heroin users, heretics, herculean hermeneuticians and all the rest, we announce to you the arrival of our convergence data bomb.

We’ve got audio, notes and images that together form a rough patchwork representation of most of the event, to give a sense of what happened to those who couldn’t make it, and to refresh the memories of those who did. We’ve got individual pages up for each of the open space discussion groups which we hope will keep expanding with more thoughts and reflections, and a new Projects section for reporting on the tangible activities that rise out of the debris.

Happy hunting

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Report from the convergence from Anastasia Kavada

Many thanks to Anastasia Kavada for this report on last month’s convergence, first published and protestcamps.org.

On Saturday 30 June 2012 the Occupy Research Collective held its first convergence meeting  at UCL. The collective emerged out of series of reading groups on topics relevant to the movement. Participants decided to take their discussions a step further by establishing a network of collaboration to ‘Occupy Research’, meaning to both do research on Occupy and to ‘occupy’ research by engaging in activism within academia. In this guest post, Anastasia Kavada shares her experiences and reflections from the day.

Beginning early on a Saturday morning, the circle got progressively larger as new people started trickling in towards noon. The meeting included people of different ages, backgrounds, and activist or academic experience. Some were activists who had participated in Occupations in Britain and elsewhere and who are researching Occupy-related issues. There were also some Occupy activists interested in what research could offer to the movement.

After a general introduction of the collective and the rules of the discussion (going through the hand signals seems obligatory in every Occupy-related meeting), we used an open methodology to propose topics for the breakaway sessions after lunch. These topics included research ethics, the neoliberal university and its implications for publishing and research, memory and archiving, teaching and learning, as well as doing research for social change.

I followed the first part of the research ethics group where discussion focused on the tensions of activist-research. Should researchers be insiders or outsiders of the social movements they are studying? And can we be both good researchers and good activists? There’s really no definitive answer to these questions and, to my experience at least, no way of resolving these tensions. But these tensions can be used productively as they motivate us to reflect on our practice as researchers and activists. Indeed, talking about these questions in the breakaway group brought to the fore some interesting observations. For example, we wondered whether the distinctions between activists and academics are as clear-cut as these questions suggest. And we discussed whether academics reinforce the divide by restricting their activism to the movements they are researching and by failing to bring this activist spirit in the academic structures to which they belong.

I then moved to the teaching and learning group, where we talked about the difficulties and limitations of academic learning. Can radical teaching take place within academic institutions? What are the best ways for facilitating students to gain ownership of the learning process? How can we best teach about social movements? Again, there was no real answer to these questions but a proposal for action: to establish a network for radical learning that would engage with these issues not only in theory but also in practice, possibly by organizing practical trainings and workshops on radical teaching methods.

Overall, discussions were stimulating and people seemed eager to continue working on these issues both online and offline. All of the sessions were live-streamed and you can find more information about the collective here: https://occupyresearchcollective.wordpress.com/ . If you’d like to take part in organizing the group and helping out with different events, you can also subscribe to the mailing list: http://groups.google.com/group/reading-occupy .

Following the Occupy logic, the collective is envisioned as an open space where people can reflect on the questions rather than dictate the outcomes of ‘Occupying Research’. It is an initiative that’s not only welcome, but necessary.

Anastasia Kavada is a senior lecture in Media at Westminster University in London, UK researching social movements and media practices. Follow her on twitter @AnastasiaKavada

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