"Few titles sum up an era and a movement like Spare Rib. When the first issue came out in July 1972, many women were starting to question their position and role in society. The magazine was an active part of the emerging women's liberation movement. It challenged the stereotyping and exploitation of women in what was the first national magazine of its kind. It supported collective, realistic solutions to the hurdles women faced and reached out to women from all backgrounds. Spare Rib became the debating chamber of feminism in the UK. It continued until January 1993 and the full archive of 239 magazines provides a valuable insight into women's lives and this period of feminist activity."
"In early 2006 several activists based in London who are involved in sex worker rights activism, organising within the International Union of Sex Workers in particular, began to conceptualise and organise around the x:talk project–one that would seek to explore and expand the ideas and confidence we have developed in criticising the mainstream human trafficking discourse, drawing on insights we have gained from sex workers', migrant and feminist struggles.
The racist and anti–feminist trafficking rhetoric of 'protection', mainstream anti–trafficking campaigns that reduce women to only passive victims, under the control of organised crime or of cruel men produces and justifies deportation of migrant sex workers and increases the criminalisation and exploitation of workers in the sex industry. It creates divisions between migrants' and sex workers' forms of organisation and resistance.
We found language and communication to be crucial elements to directly challenge and change conditions of work and life, and to come to together and to organise. Communication is in our view central to change. Language is a basic individual and collective power that improves both possibilities to work and possibilities of resistance.
Central to our vision stands the autonomy of all people moving across borders and the dignity of every gender employing their resources in the sex industry. Central to our understanding of gender and social relations is an understanding of sex work as labour. People who sell sex are involved in a labour process in many respects similar to other paid personal services exchanged on market. At the same time we recognise that the ways in which sex work has existed are also deeply interrelated to the ways in which 'female' services, such as caring, domestic, sexual and reproductive activities are supposed to be provided. It is important to consider that the demand for money for sex in a transparent and potentially contractual way is often a break and significant shift in the way women are expected to give these services for no remuneration.
We consider that a feminist analysis and practice is crucial to changing the sex industry. Women represent the majority of workers in the industry and gendered sexualised and reproductive labour have historically constituted a central part in the structures that subordinate and oppress women. The people that have taken the main initiative of this organisation and project are women. Starting from the ground up, in a grass roots way we nevertheless aim to work with the whole industry. Due to the demographics of the workforce in the sex industry, women play a central role in the organisation and are expected to make up a majority of participants in the classes. We/they represent the majority and we/they enjoy the strongest voice at the moment. However issues of gender and transgender difference–at their intersections with racial and sexual issues are taken into account in the development of activities in order to include people from across the industry and from diverse backgrounds.
In contrast to the current mainstream anti–trafficking policies and discourses we work towards the improvement of working conditions in the sex industry; for rights and recognition of workers; the right to change work and not to be forced to stay with the same employer and the right to stay and not to be deported. Our organisation is based on a practice of sex workers self organisation and our projects are primarily built on an activity of networking with those that have already organised similar projects according to these principles."
"I've been following guerrilla gardening on Twitter for quite some time, and have become familiar with the term 'seed bombing' as a result. It's an idea that's always appealed to me – it's a kind of eco–friendly, bee–friendly, slightly radical anti–vandalism activism – but it's just one of those things that I'd never pursued. ...
So how do they work? It's a simple process really – the seeds I bought are encased in a ball of peat–free compost, dried clay and chilli, which are hand–rolled in North London (yes, really, and no, it's not what you're thinking). The dried clay acts as a protective casing from common seed predators (such as ants, mice and birds). When enough rain permeates the clay, the seeds inside begin to germinate – helped along by the nutrients and minerals contained within the balls. So it's like a tiny self–sufficient seeding system. Maya [http://www.mayaproject.org/] have added chili powder to the mix to help to deter predators while the seed ball slowly degrades, and eventually the seeds sprout."
(Lucy Small, 5 April 2013)
"Pedagogical experiments played a crucial role in shaping architectural discourse and practice in the second half of the 20th century. In fact, the key hypothesis of our Radical Pedagogy research project is that these experiments can be understood as radical architectural practices in their own right. Radical in the literal meaning from the Latin radice, as something belonging or relating to the root, to its foundations. Radical pedagogies shake foundations, disturbing assumptions rather than reinforcing and disseminating them. This challenge to normative thinking was a major force in the postwar field of architecture, and has surprisingly been neglected in recent years. ...
Architectural pedagogy has become stale. Schools spin old wheels as if something is happening but so little is going on. Students wait for a sense of activist engagement with a rapidly evolving world but graduate before it happens. The fact that they wait for instruction is already the problem. Teachers likewise worry too much about their place in the institutional hierarchies. Curricular structures have hardly changed in recent decades, despite the major transformations that have taken place with the growth of globalisation, new technologies, and information culture. As schools appear to increasingly favour professionalisation, they seem to drown in self–imposed bureaucratic oversight, suffocating any possibility for the emergence of experimental practices and failures. There are a few attempts to wake things up here and there but it's all so timid in the end. There is no real innovation.
In response to the timidity of schools today, the Radical Pedagogy project returns to the educational experiments of the 1960s and '70s to remind us what can happen when pedagogy takes on risks. It's a provocation and a call to arms."
(Beatriz Colomina with Esther Choi, Ignacio Gonzalez Galan and Anna–Maria Meister, 28 September 2012, The Architectural Review)
1). Radical Pedagogy is an ongoing multi–year collaborative research project by a team of PhD candidates in the School of Architecture at Princeton University, led by Beatriz Colomina and involving seminars, interviews and guest lectures by protagonists and scholars. The project explores a remarkable set of pedagogical experiments of the 1960s and '70s that revolutionised thinking in the discipline. Each student is working on one of these experiments and collectively mapping the interconnections and effects of these experiments towards a major publication and exhibition.
Fig.1 Tournaments in the Course 'Culture of the Body', at the Valparaíso School, 1975. Courtesy of Archivo Histórico Jose Vial, Escuela Arquitectura y Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
"Can government be run like the Internet, permissionless and open? Coder and activist Jennifer Pahlka believes it can –– and that apps, built quickly and cheaply, are a powerful new way to connect citizens to their governments –– and their neighbors.
Jennifer Pahlka is the founder of Code for America, which matches software geniuses with US cities to reboot local services."
(Filmed February 2012, posted March 2012, TED2012)