Amelia’s Magazine | Climate Change Documentary: Beyond the Brink

March 26 2011-UK UncutUK Uncut gathers on the South Bank on Saturday 26th March 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Unless you have been living under a rock you will be aware that there was a huge anti-cuts march on Saturday 26th March 2011. In the days since then the press has been dominated with both outrage from the government that “hooligans” should be allowed to roam the streets, recipe find and on the other side, purchase shock at the way in which once again the police and media have mistreated protestors. As anyone who was following me on Twitter will know I was involved on the UK Uncut action, which involved an occupation of Fortnum & Mason… yet another large corporation culpable of massive tax avoidance: This action led to by far the largest numbers of arrests and charges on the day: a staggering 138 of the 149.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

On my way through London I saw the most enormous amount of creativity, from pound coin shields to a Trojan Horse cunningly installed at the centre of Oxford Circus – and of course plenty of banners bursting with witty one liners: included in this blog post are just a few of the amazing sights from the day. With a march numbering possibly half a million and upwards (something the government has been quick to downplay) there were surely many great ones that I missed – especially the legendary message “I was told there would be biscuits” carried by a small child on someone’s shoulders. I broke away from the march early on to take part in UK Uncut actions on Oxford Street and then at Fortnum & Mason.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Demonised by the press for their behaviour, UK Uncut have been quick to fight back with their version of events: really, the police and media should know better. Both UK Uncut and Green & Black Cross, the support network that provided legal observers and arrestee support, have grown out of Climate Camp networks and ways of organising, taking on completely new identities of their own. As a result some of those involved are no strangers to wrongful arrest, police brutality and political policing: remember Heathrow, Kingsnorth, G20 and Ratcliffe anyone? These people know what they are doing; naturally the unfair arrests of UK Uncut was filmed and immediately shared, the footage unsurprisingly making the front page of the Guardian.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Some people might wonder what on earth the links between the anti-cuts movement and Climate Camp are, but Climate Camp has always been rooted in a desire to address the social inequalities of capitalism – for example a breakaway group in London is currently looking at ways to campaign around fuel poverty. One of the favourite slogans at the COP15 Climate conference was System Change not Climate Change – we can’t cure the problem with simple quick fix answers, but rather by tackling the whole global neoliberal system. A brutal plan to cut services such as libraries and the NHS will undermine the fabric of a just society, affecting the poor most. Meanwhile the rich are able to avoid huge tax bills at a time when we desperately need to start building a green economy that is not based on endless profit. Clearly these inequalities are something that green activists are keen to tackle.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Climate Camp has also always been a broad mix of liberalism and radicalism, so it’s no surprise that UK Uncut is as well. The very name Green & Black Cross indicates how the group combines the more autonomous anarchist streaks of activism with the skills, infrastructure and ideologies built up within the green movement. It supports grassroots social struggles in the UK and during the March for the Alternative the Green & Black Cross provided Legal Support, Action Medics and Action Kitchens. They even had a basic compost portaloo roaming the streets in a supermarket trolley – but in the event it was never used: it’s hard to get into a kettle once it is formed. They will be independently advising on all arrests during the day at a defendants’ meeting on Saturday 2nd April and were generally out in force to offer biscuits and legal advice as soon as arrestees were released.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Since the arrests UK Uncut activists have had to field a barrage of commentary from the media, which has been ever quick to notice the anarchic element of their protest. Their sit in at Fortnum & Mason was largely peaceful – protestors ate their own sandwiches and listened to performances and speeches – but on Newsnight a spokesperson was asked to denounce all protestor violence. She did a marvellous job of neither condoning nor supporting it: there were people from all backgrounds in Fortnum & Mason. For some it will have been their first experience of direct action (read this shocking report of the arrest of a 15 year old girl) and others were part of the Black Bloc earlier in the day – the two are not mutually exclusive. UK Uncut has an incredibly loose non-hierarchical structure, and to be successful it must somehow find a place for those of all backgrounds.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia GregoryInside Fortnum & Mason. They look super scared don’t they?

Most UK Uncutters recognise that there is more to successful activism than a simplistic black and white damnation of violence, but the more liberal end of the spectrum may well be new to the idea that damage to property is not considered violence by many activists – see here for a definition – so there is going to be a rapid need to redefine and educate as soon as possible. Most of the targets for property damage on Saturday were well thought through – big banks that avoid tax, Topshop, BHS and so on. Who threw paint, and who broke windows? It’s not clear, but the targets were clear enough. Some people, whether you agree with it or not, think it is more effective to inflict damage on a well selected target than to simply march from A-B and then listen to speeches. After all, what did it ever do to stop the Iraq war? Direct action through the ages has proven that targeting property can be highly effective – the Suffragettes were never afraid of inflicting collateral damage. Last year at Climate Camp windows were smashed at the RBS head offices in Edinburgh to demonstrate concern against their continued investment in fossil fuels.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

By Trafalgar Square at night some rogue elements (possibly pissed up) were clearly provoked into throwing glass bottles at police, never something I would recommend however bad police brutality gets (and by all accounts it did get REALLY bad) because I personally don’t believe that violence against people is ever acceptable. But I do believe that the Black Bloc as a considered and thoughtful tactic is something that our movement needs: people who are willing to put their bodies and actions on the front line to stop those who are damaging the fabric of our “democratic” society. Many of them were very young, possibly disaffected veterans of kettling at the student demos last year – others were highly organised groups who came to join the march from across the country. Those involved will undoubtedly have slightly different views as to process and outcome but recent online dialogues prove that diverse parts of the movement are keen to work together. Rather than dismiss Black Bloc actions as the nihilistic work of masked “hooligans” we would do well to consider the underlying reasons why this is seen as an appealing tactic utilised by at least a thousand people last weekend. After all, we’re all in this together… and this is just the start.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Further reading:
Why Fortnum & Mason?
Video footage from the UKuncut action
An open letter from the Brighton Solidarity Federation of Anarcho-Syndicalists
People are worth less than property
A night in the cells is nothing to a lifetime imprisoned by cuts
Reasons why the cuts are a bad idea
Dominic Campbell experiences police brutality in Trafalgar Square
Political Dynamite: We should use the word violence with the greatest care.
Leah Borromeo: Protestors can’t disown the “violent minority”.
Why the UKuncut arrests threaten future protests
What is the Black Bloc? Information page.
Laurie Penny – What really happened in Trafalgar Square
My UK Uncut arrest made me a political prisoner
Climate Camp 2010 in Edinburgh – my commentary
Climate Camp 2009 in Copenhagen – my commentary part one, part two and part three.
G20 Climate Camp in the City – my commentary
Ratcliffe: Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?- my commentary
Climate Camp at Kingsnorth in 2008.
One of the first UK Uncut protests: Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment.
March 26 2011-UK UncutUK Uncut gathers on the South Bank on Saturday 26th March 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Unless you have been living under a rock you will be aware that there was a huge anti-cuts march on Saturday 26th March 2011. In the days since then the press has been dominated with both outrage from the government that “hooligans” should be allowed to roam the streets, hospital and on the other side, shock at the way in which once again the police and media have mistreated protestors. As anyone who was following me on Twitter will know I was involved on the UK Uncut action, which involved an occupation of Fortnum & Mason… yet another large corporation culpable of massive tax avoidance: This action led to by far the largest numbers of arrests and charges on the day: a staggering 138 of the 149.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

On my way through London I saw the most enormous amount of creativity, from pound coin shields to a Trojan Horse cunningly installed at the centre of Oxford Circus – and of course plenty of banners bursting with witty one liners: included in this blog post are just a few of the amazing sights from the day. With a march numbering possibly half a million and upwards (something the government has been quick to downplay) there were surely many great ones that I missed – especially the legendary message “I was told there would be biscuits” carried by a small child on someone’s shoulders. I broke away from the march early on to take part in UK Uncut actions on Oxford Street and then at Fortnum & Mason.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Demonised by the press for their behaviour, UK Uncut have been quick to fight back with their version of events: really, the police and media should know better. Both UK Uncut and Green & Black Cross, the support network that provided legal observers and arrestee support, have grown out of Climate Camp networks and ways of organising, taking on completely new identities of their own. As a result some of those involved are no strangers to wrongful arrest, police brutality and political policing: remember Heathrow, Kingsnorth, G20 and Ratcliffe anyone? These people know what they are doing; naturally the unfair arrests of UK Uncut was filmed and immediately shared, the footage unsurprisingly making the front page of the Guardian.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Some people might wonder what on earth the links between the anti-cuts movement and Climate Camp are, but Climate Camp has always been rooted in a desire to address the social inequalities of capitalism – for example a breakaway group in London is currently looking at ways to campaign around fuel poverty. One of the favourite slogans at the COP15 Climate conference was System Change not Climate Change – we can’t cure the problem with simple quick fix answers, but rather by tackling the whole global neoliberal system. A brutal plan to cut services such as libraries and the NHS will undermine the fabric of a just society, affecting the poor most. Meanwhile the rich are able to avoid huge tax bills at a time when we desperately need to start building a green economy that is not based on endless profit. Clearly these inequalities are something that green activists are keen to tackle.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Climate Camp has also always been a broad mix of liberalism and radicalism, so it’s no surprise that UK Uncut is as well. The very name Green & Black Cross indicates how the group combines the more autonomous anarchist streaks of activism with the skills, infrastructure and ideologies built up within the green movement. It supports grassroots social struggles in the UK and during the March for the Alternative the Green & Black Cross provided Legal Support, Action Medics and Action Kitchens. They even had a basic compost portaloo roaming the streets in a supermarket trolley – but in the event it was never used: it’s hard to get into a kettle once it is formed. They will be independently advising on all arrests during the day at a defendants’ meeting on Saturday 2nd April and were generally out in force to offer biscuits and legal advice as soon as arrestees were released.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Since the arrests UK Uncut activists have had to field a barrage of commentary from the media, which has been ever quick to notice the anarchic element of their protest. Their sit in at Fortnum & Mason was largely peaceful – protestors ate their own sandwiches and listened to performances and speeches – but on Newsnight a spokesperson was asked to denounce all protestor violence. She did a marvellous job of neither condoning nor supporting it: there were people from all backgrounds in Fortnum & Mason. For some it will have been their first experience of direct action (read this shocking report of the arrest of a 15 year old girl) and others were part of the Black Bloc earlier in the day – the two are not mutually exclusive. UK Uncut has an incredibly loose non-hierarchical structure, and to be successful it must somehow find a place for those of all backgrounds.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia GregoryInside Fortnum & Mason. They look super scared don’t they?

Most UK Uncutters recognise that there is more to successful activism than a simplistic black and white damnation of violence, but the more liberal end of the spectrum may well be new to the idea that damage to property is not considered violence by many activists – see here for a definition – so there is going to be a rapid need to redefine and educate as soon as possible. Most of the targets for property damage on Saturday were well thought through – big banks that avoid tax, Topshop, BHS and so on. Who threw paint, and who broke windows? It’s not clear, but the targets were clear enough. Some people, whether you agree with it or not, think it is more effective to inflict damage on a well selected target than to simply march from A-B and then listen to speeches. After all, what did it ever do to stop the Iraq war? Direct action through the ages has proven that targeting property can be highly effective – the Suffragettes were never afraid of inflicting collateral damage. Last year at Climate Camp windows were smashed at the RBS head offices in Edinburgh to demonstrate concern against their continued investment in fossil fuels.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

By Trafalgar Square at night some rogue elements (possibly pissed up) were clearly provoked into throwing glass bottles at police, never something I would recommend however bad police brutality gets (and by all accounts it did get REALLY bad) because I personally don’t believe that violence against people is ever acceptable. But I do believe that the Black Bloc as a considered and thoughtful tactic is something that our movement needs: people who are willing to put their bodies and actions on the front line to stop those who are damaging the fabric of our “democratic” society. Many of them were very young, possibly disaffected veterans of kettling at the student demos last year – others were highly organised groups who came to join the march from across the country. Those involved will undoubtedly have slightly different views as to process and outcome but recent online dialogues prove that diverse parts of the movement are keen to work together. Rather than dismiss Black Bloc actions as the nihilistic work of masked “hooligans” we would do well to consider the underlying reasons why this is seen as an appealing tactic utilised by at least a thousand people last weekend. After all, we’re all in this together… and this is just the start.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Further reading:
Why Fortnum & Mason?
Video footage from the UKuncut action
An open letter from the Brighton Solidarity Federation of Anarcho-Syndicalists
People are worth less than property
A night in the cells is nothing to a lifetime imprisoned by cuts
Reasons why the cuts are a bad idea
Dominic Campbell experiences police brutality in Trafalgar Square
Political Dynamite: We should use the word violence with the greatest care.
Leah Borromeo: Protestors can’t disown the “violent minority”.
Why the UKuncut arrests threaten future protests
What is the Black Bloc? Information page.
Laurie Penny – What really happened in Trafalgar Square
My UK Uncut arrest made me a political prisoner
Climate Camp 2010 in Edinburgh – my commentary
Climate Camp 2009 in Copenhagen – my commentary part one, part two and part three.
G20 Climate Camp in the City – my commentary
Ratcliffe: Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?- my commentary
Climate Camp at Kingsnorth in 2008.
One of the first UK Uncut protests: Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment.
March 26 2011-UK UncutUK Uncut gathers on the South Bank on Saturday 26th March 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Unless you have been living under a rock you will be aware that there was a huge anti-cuts march on Saturday 26th March 2011. In the days since then the press has been dominated with both outrage from the government that “hooligans” should be allowed to roam the streets, sales and on the other side, shock at the way in which once again the police and media have mistreated protestors. As anyone who was following me on Twitter will know I was involved on the UK Uncut action, which involved an occupation of Fortnum & Mason… yet another large corporation culpable of massive tax avoidance: This action led to by far the largest numbers of arrests and charges on the day: a staggering 138 of the 149.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

On my way through London I saw the most enormous amount of creativity, from pound coin shields to a Trojan Horse cunningly installed at the centre of Oxford Circus – and of course plenty of banners bursting with witty one liners: included in this blog post are just a few of the amazing sights from the day. With a march numbering possibly half a million and upwards (something the government has been quick to downplay) there were surely many great ones that I missed – especially the legendary message “I was told there would be biscuits” carried by a small child on someone’s shoulders. I broke away from the march early on to take part in UK Uncut actions on Oxford Street and then at Fortnum & Mason.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Demonised by the press for their behaviour, UK Uncut have been quick to fight back with their version of events: really, the police and media should know better. Both UK Uncut and Green & Black Cross – the support network that provided legal observers and arrestee support – have grown out of Climate Camp networks and ways of organising to take on completely new identities of their own. As a result some of those involved are no strangers to wrongful arrest, police brutality and political policing: remember Heathrow, Kingsnorth, G20 and Ratcliffe anyone? These people know what they are doing; naturally the unfair arrests of UK Uncut was filmed and immediately shared, the footage unsurprisingly making the front page of the Guardian.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Some people might wonder what on earth the links between the anti-cuts movement and Climate Camp are, but Climate Camp has always been rooted in a desire to address the social inequalities of capitalism – for example a breakaway group in London is currently looking at ways to campaign around fuel poverty. One of the favourite slogans at the COP15 Climate conference was System Change not Climate Change – we can’t cure the problem with simple quick fix answers, but rather by tackling the whole global neoliberal system. A brutal plan to cut services such as libraries and the NHS will undermine the fabric of a just society, affecting the poor most. Meanwhile the rich are able to avoid huge tax bills at a time when we desperately need to start building a green economy that is not based on endless profit. Clearly these inequalities are something that green activists are keen to tackle.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Climate Camp has also always been a broad mix of liberalism and radicalism, so it’s no surprise that UK Uncut is as well. The very name Green & Black Cross indicates how the group combines the more autonomous anarchist streaks of activism with the skills, infrastructure and ideologies built up within the green movement. It supports grassroots social struggles in the UK and during the March for the Alternative the Green & Black Cross provided Legal Support, Action Medics and Action Kitchens. They even had a basic compost portaloo roaming the streets in a supermarket trolley – but in the event it was never used: it’s hard to get into a kettle once it is formed. They will be independently advising on all arrests during the day at a defendants’ meeting on Saturday 2nd April and were generally out in force to offer biscuits and legal advice as soon as arrestees were released.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Since the arrests UK Uncut activists have had to field a barrage of commentary from the media, which has been ever quick to notice the anarchic element of their protest. Their sit in at Fortnum & Mason was largely peaceful – protestors ate their own sandwiches and listened to performances and speeches – but on Newsnight a spokesperson was asked to denounce all protestor violence. She did a marvellous job of neither condoning nor supporting it: there were people from all backgrounds in Fortnum & Mason. For some it will have been their first experience of direct action (read this shocking report of the arrest of a 15 year old girl) and others were part of the Black Bloc earlier in the day – the two are not mutually exclusive. UK Uncut has an incredibly loose non-hierarchical structure, and to be successful it must somehow find a place for those of all backgrounds.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia GregoryInside Fortnum & Mason. They look super scared don’t they?

Most UK Uncutters recognise that there is more to successful activism than a simplistic black and white damnation of violence, but the more liberal end of the spectrum may well be new to the idea that damage to property is not considered violence by many activists – see here for a definition – so there is going to be a rapid need to redefine and educate as soon as possible. Most of the targets for property damage on Saturday were well thought through – big banks that avoid tax, Topshop, BHS and so on. Who threw paint, and who broke windows? It’s not clear, but the targets were clear enough. Some people, whether you agree with it or not, think it is more effective to inflict damage on a well selected target than to simply march from A-B and then listen to speeches. After all, what did it ever do to stop the Iraq war? Direct action through the ages has proven that targeting property can be highly effective – the Suffragettes were never afraid of inflicting collateral damage. Last year at Climate Camp windows were smashed at the RBS head offices in Edinburgh to demonstrate concern against their continued investment in fossil fuels.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

By Trafalgar Square at night some rogue elements (possibly pissed up) were clearly provoked into throwing glass bottles at police, never something I would recommend however bad police brutality gets (and by all accounts it did get REALLY bad) because I personally don’t believe that violence against people is ever acceptable. But I do believe that the Black Bloc as a considered and thoughtful tactic is something that our movement needs: people who are willing to put their bodies and actions on the front line to stop those who are damaging the fabric of our “democratic” society. Many of them were very young, possibly disaffected veterans of kettling at the student demos last year – others were highly organised groups who came to join the march from across the country. Those involved will undoubtedly have slightly different views as to process and outcome but recent online dialogues prove that diverse parts of the movement are keen to work together. Rather than dismiss Black Bloc actions as the nihilistic work of masked “hooligans” we would do well to consider the underlying reasons why this is seen as an appealing tactic utilised by at least a thousand people last weekend. After all, we’re all in this together… and this is just the beginning of our future.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Further reading:
Why Fortnum & Mason?
Video footage from the UKuncut action
An open letter from the Brighton Solidarity Federation of Anarcho-Syndicalists
People are worth less than property
A night in the cells is nothing to a lifetime imprisoned by cuts
Reasons why the cuts are a bad idea
Dominic Campbell experiences police brutality in Trafalgar Square
Political Dynamite: We should use the word violence with the greatest care.
Leah Borromeo: Protestors can’t disown the “violent minority”.
Why the UKuncut arrests threaten future protests
What is the Black Bloc? Information page.
Laurie Penny – What really happened in Trafalgar Square
My UK Uncut arrest made me a political prisoner
Climate Camp 2010 in Edinburgh – my commentary
Climate Camp 2009 in Copenhagen – my commentary part one, part two and part three.
G20 Climate Camp in the City – my commentary
Ratcliffe: Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?- my commentary
Climate Camp at Kingsnorth in 2008.
One of the first UK Uncut protests: Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment.
March 26 2011-UK UncutUK Uncut gathers on the South Bank on Saturday 26th March 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Unless you have been living under a rock you will be aware that there was a huge anti-cuts march on Saturday 26th March 2011. In the days since then the press has been dominated with both outrage from the government that “hooligans” should be allowed to roam the streets, drugs and on the other side, order shock at the way in which once again the police and media have mistreated protestors. As anyone who was following me on Twitter will know I was involved on the UK Uncut action, information pills which involved an occupation of Fortnum & Mason… yet another large corporation culpable of massive tax avoidance: This action led to by far the largest numbers of arrests and charges on the day: a staggering 138 of the 149.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

On my way through London I saw the most enormous amount of creativity, from pound coin shields to a Trojan Horse cunningly installed at the centre of Oxford Circus – and of course plenty of banners bursting with witty one liners: included in this blog post are just a few of the amazing sights from the day. With a march numbering possibly half a million and upwards (something the government has been quick to downplay) there were surely many great ones that I missed – especially the legendary message “I was told there would be biscuits” carried by a small child on someone’s shoulders. I broke away from the march early on to take part in UK Uncut actions on Oxford Street and then at Fortnum & Mason.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Demonised by the press for their behaviour, UK Uncut have been quick to fight back with their version of events: really, the police and media should know better. Both UK Uncut and Green & Black Cross – the support network that provided legal observers and arrestee support – have grown out of Climate Camp networks and ways of organising to take on completely new identities of their own. As a result some of those involved are no strangers to wrongful arrest, police brutality and political policing: remember Heathrow, Kingsnorth, G20 and Ratcliffe anyone? These people know what they are doing; naturally the unfair arrests of UK Uncut was filmed and immediately shared, the footage unsurprisingly making the front page of the Guardian.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Some people might wonder what on earth the links between the anti-cuts movement and Climate Camp are, but Climate Camp has always been rooted in a desire to address the social inequalities of capitalism – for example a breakaway group in London is currently looking at ways to campaign around fuel poverty. One of the favourite slogans at the COP15 Climate conference was System Change not Climate Change – we can’t cure the problem with simple quick fix answers, but rather by tackling the whole global neoliberal system. A brutal plan to cut services such as libraries and the NHS will undermine the fabric of a just society, affecting the poor most. Meanwhile the rich are able to avoid huge tax bills at a time when we desperately need to start building a green economy that is not based on endless profit. Clearly these inequalities are something that green activists are keen to tackle.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Climate Camp has also always been a broad mix of liberalism and radicalism, so it’s no surprise that UK Uncut is as well. The very name Green & Black Cross indicates how the group combines the more autonomous anarchist streaks of activism with the skills, infrastructure and ideologies built up within the green movement. It supports grassroots social struggles in the UK and during the March for the Alternative the Green & Black Cross provided Legal Support, Action Medics and Action Kitchens. They even had a basic compost portaloo roaming the streets in a supermarket trolley – but in the event it was never used: it’s hard to get into a kettle once it is formed. They will be independently advising on all arrests during the day at a defendants’ meeting on Saturday 2nd April and were generally out in force to offer biscuits and legal advice as soon as arrestees were released.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Since the arrests UK Uncut activists have had to field a barrage of commentary from the media, which has been ever quick to notice the anarchic element of their protest. Their sit in at Fortnum & Mason was largely peaceful – protestors ate their own sandwiches and listened to performances and speeches – but on Newsnight a spokesperson was asked to denounce all protestor violence. She did a marvellous job of neither condoning nor supporting it: there were people from all backgrounds in Fortnum & Mason. For some it will have been their first experience of direct action (read this shocking report of the arrest of a 15 year old girl) and others were part of the Black Bloc earlier in the day – the two are not mutually exclusive. UK Uncut has an incredibly loose non-hierarchical structure, and to be successful it must somehow find a place for those of all backgrounds.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia GregoryInside Fortnum & Mason. They look super scared don’t they?

Most UK Uncutters recognise that there is more to successful activism than a simplistic black and white damnation of violence, but the more liberal end of the spectrum may well be new to the idea that damage to property is not considered violence by many activists – see here for a definition – so there is going to be a rapid need to redefine and educate as soon as possible. Most of the targets for property damage on Saturday were well thought through – big banks that avoid tax, Topshop, BHS and so on. Who threw paint, and who broke windows? It’s not clear, but the targets were clear enough. Some people, whether you agree with it or not, think it is more effective to inflict damage on a well selected target than to simply march from A-B and then listen to speeches. After all, what did it ever do to stop the Iraq war? Direct action through the ages has proven that targeting property can be highly effective – the Suffragettes were never afraid of inflicting collateral damage. Last year at Climate Camp windows were smashed at the RBS head offices in Edinburgh to demonstrate concern against their continued investment in fossil fuels.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

By Trafalgar Square at night some rogue elements (possibly pissed up) were clearly provoked into throwing glass bottles at police, never something I would recommend however bad police brutality gets (and by all accounts it did get REALLY bad) because I personally don’t believe that violence against people is ever acceptable. But I do believe that the Black Bloc as a considered and thoughtful tactic is something that our movement needs: people who are willing to put their bodies and actions on the front line to stop those who are damaging the fabric of our “democratic” society. Many of them were very young, possibly disaffected veterans of kettling at the student demos last year – others were highly organised groups who came to join the march from across the country. Those involved will undoubtedly have slightly different views as to process and outcome but recent online dialogues prove that diverse parts of the movement are keen to work together. Rather than dismiss Black Bloc actions as the nihilistic work of masked “hooligans” we would do well to consider the underlying reasons why this is seen as an appealing tactic utilised by at least a thousand people last weekend. After all, we’re all in this together… and this is just the beginning of our future.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Further reading:
Why Fortnum & Mason?
Video footage from the UKuncut action
An open letter from the Brighton Solidarity Federation of Anarcho-Syndicalists
People are worth less than property
A night in the cells is nothing to a lifetime imprisoned by cuts
Reasons why the cuts are a bad idea
Dominic Campbell experiences police brutality in Trafalgar Square
Political Dynamite: We should use the word violence with the greatest care.
Leah Borromeo: Protestors can’t disown the “violent minority”.
Why the UKuncut arrests threaten future protests
What is the Black Bloc? Information page.
Laurie Penny – What really happened in Trafalgar Square
My UK Uncut arrest made me a political prisoner
Climate Camp 2010 in Edinburgh – my commentary
Climate Camp 2009 in Copenhagen – my commentary part one, part two and part three.
G20 Climate Camp in the City – my commentary
Ratcliffe: Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?- my commentary
Climate Camp at Kingsnorth in 2008.
One of the first UK Uncut protests: Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment.
visit web _Another_Level, visit this site _4x4x3m,_mixed_media_including_reclaimed_wood,_glass_flowers,_taxidermied_bird,_flower_pots,_2009_courtesy_the_artist_and_EB&Flow” width=”480″ height=”320″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-38966″ />
Katie Louise Surridge, Another Level. Mixed media including reclaimed wood, glass flowers, taxidermied bird, flower pots.

Amidst the renovations and general detritus that inevitably comes when you do a top to toe renovation of a two floored building, Nathan Englebrecht and Margherita Berloni are guiding me around the former print works in Leonard Street, EC2 which will soon form the light-filled gallery space for EB&Flow. In the run up to the April 2nd opening, the gallery founders – both twenty somethings who met on an art business course – seem as cool as a proverbial cucumber and in good spirits as we tour the premises, chatting all the while about their vision for the space and how it will serve and suit their artists in residence. While art galleries are certainly not hard to come by in this neck of the woods, there is something very noteworthy about this particular endeavor, and that is the galleries extensive level of support to the artists who will exhibit in their gallery. Their aim is to cultivate long term relationships with the artists in residency, and share an ethos that they will try to make anything happen for them; advising them on their careers, placing them in collections, even paying for material costs if necessary.


A selection of works by some of the 10 artists who will be exhibiting at the group show Since Tomorrow
Gemma Anderson
Albemarlensis, Pahoehoe Lava


Ketil by Shannah Bupp.


Silent Are The Echoes by Nicholas Mcleod

During the time that their work is exhibited at EB&Flow, they are also given studio space within the gallery. (After a period, the walls will be removed and the studio becomes an exhibition in itself). It soon becomes clear that Nathan and Margherita feel passionately about this, discussing at length something which is somewhat of a current hot topic – the sense that artists are not provided with enough support and advice during their time at art school with regards to the business of art; (a subject that was recently discussed in Jessica Furseth’s article here). “We never felt that artists had the right platform in which to exhibit and the support that was needed to develop their careers”, Nathan explains. Born out of this is an additional feature of the gallery; an educational programme kicking off at the end of April that will discuss issues such as collecting, curatorial practice and artist professional development. They list a few of the topics that will be covered, such as the legality issues of selling art, re-sell rights, how to store art, how to do art fairs…..all things relevant and vital to a burgeoning artists career. It’s worth mentioning that these courses and lectures will be open to all. Check the EB&Flow website for further details.


Margeherita and Nathan, EB & Flow.

I ask Margherita and Nathan what they are looking for in an artist, and what type of work will feature at EB&Flow. “There is a certain aesthetic line going through our choice of artists”, Nathan explains, with Margherita adding “we steer away from very conceptual stuff and minimalist art; we want something rich and interesting to look at”. Their first collection is entitled Since Tomorrow, curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini and features work (using disciplines such as installation, painting, sculpture and photography) from ten emerging artists exploring the dynamics of space and providing responses to the question ‘ what is the space we are living at the moment and how do we represent it?’. Work will be shown by Briony Anderson, Gemma Anderson, Neil Ayling, Ross M. Brown, Shannah Bupp, Sue Corke, Dylan Culhane, Alessandro Librio, Nicholas McLeod, Katie Louise Surridge and Cristian Zuzunaga.


So Over by Katie Louise Surridge

Amongst the core group of artists whose work will be opening the gallery is Katie Louise Surridge, a Slade School of Fine Art graduate. (She will also go on to have a residency at the EB&Flow gallery). Her work will particularly resonate with anyone who lives in grimy, rubbish strewn London because Katie has the ability to make something beautiful out of the underbelly of the city. Her installations use found objects which she sources during scavenging missions done mainly along the Thames, creating a utopia out of what has been left behind and discarded. While I was talking with Nathan and Margherita, Katie was busy getting a sense of the space that will feature her (very big) installation. She works mostly with natural materials, such as aged wood and metal; “natural materials that have been used in this urban scheme, and then reverted back to being natural again”. “I have this fascination with what’s left behind”, she continues, “I like the aesthetic of what the river washes up – it’s been there for a long time and it’s aged and it feels like its got a bit of history behind it”. It’s impossible not to warm to Katie, especially after discovering the following facts about her:
– She once found an S+M style gag washed up in the river and took it to the pub, thinking that it was a dog collar.
– She was in the Boy Scouts as a child (not the Brownies)
– She is a self confessed obsessive hoarder
– Her beloved dog is going to be featured on a ‘Dog Borstal’ style TV show
– She is saving up to buy a metal detector to assist her scavenging expeditions.


Katie Louise Surridge, A Beautiful Struggle

Discovering Katie’s work makes me realise how little I know about what gets discarded in big cities, and how much waste washes up around us.

Since Tomorrow: Exhibition Dates, 2 April – 26 May.


Dylan Culhane, and his work Mechanotron which will feature in Since Tomorrow.

March 26 2011-UK UncutUK Uncut gathers on the South Bank on Saturday 26th March 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Unless you have been living under a rock you will be aware that there was a huge anti-cuts march on Saturday 26th March 2011. In the days since then the press has been dominated with both outrage from the government that “hooligans” should be allowed to roam the streets, viagra and on the other side, web shock at the way in which once again the police and media have mistreated protestors. As anyone who was following me on Twitter will know I was involved on the UK Uncut action, which involved an occupation of Fortnum & Mason… yet another large corporation culpable of massive tax avoidance: This action led to by far the largest numbers of arrests and charges on the day: a staggering 138 of the 149.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

On my way through London I saw the most enormous amount of creativity, from pound coin shields to a Trojan Horse cunningly installed at the centre of Oxford Circus – and of course plenty of banners bursting with witty one liners: included in this blog post are just a few of the amazing sights from the day. With a march numbering possibly half a million and upwards (something the government has been quick to downplay) there were surely many great ones that I missed – especially the legendary message “I was told there would be biscuits” carried by a small child on someone’s shoulders. I broke away from the march early on to take part in UK Uncut actions on Oxford Street and then at Fortnum & Mason.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Demonised by the press for their behaviour, UK Uncut have been quick to fight back with their version of events: really, the police and media should know better. Both UK Uncut and Green & Black Cross – the support network that provided legal observers and arrestee support – have grown out of Climate Camp networks and ways of organising to take on completely new identities of their own. As a result some of those involved are no strangers to wrongful arrest, police brutality and political policing: remember Heathrow, Kingsnorth, G20 and Ratcliffe anyone? These people know what they are doing; naturally the unfair arrests of UK Uncut was filmed and immediately shared, the footage unsurprisingly making the front page of the Guardian.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Some people might wonder what on earth the links between the anti-cuts movement and Climate Camp are, but Climate Camp has always been rooted in a desire to address the social inequalities of capitalism – for example a breakaway group in London is currently looking at ways to campaign around fuel poverty. One of the favourite slogans at the COP15 Climate conference was System Change not Climate Change – we can’t cure the problem with simple quick fix answers, but rather by tackling the whole global neoliberal system. A brutal plan to cut services such as libraries and the NHS will undermine the fabric of a just society, affecting the poor most. Meanwhile the rich are able to avoid huge tax bills at a time when we desperately need to start building a green economy that is not based on endless profit. Clearly these inequalities are something that green activists are keen to tackle.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Climate Camp has also always been a broad mix of liberalism and radicalism, so it’s no surprise that UK Uncut is as well. The very name Green & Black Cross indicates how the group combines the more autonomous anarchist streaks of activism with the skills, infrastructure and ideologies built up within the green movement. It supports grassroots social struggles in the UK and during the March for the Alternative the Green & Black Cross provided Legal Support, Action Medics and Action Kitchens. They even had a basic compost portaloo roaming the streets in a supermarket trolley – but in the event it was never used: it’s hard to get into a kettle once it is formed. They will be independently advising on all arrests during the day at a defendants’ meeting on Saturday 2nd April and were generally out in force to offer biscuits and legal advice as soon as arrestees were released.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Since the arrests UK Uncut activists have had to field a barrage of commentary from the media, which has been ever quick to notice the anarchic element of their protest. Their sit in at Fortnum & Mason was largely peaceful – protestors ate their own sandwiches and listened to performances and speeches – but on Newsnight a spokesperson was asked to denounce all protestor violence. She did a marvellous job of neither condoning nor supporting it: there were people from all backgrounds in Fortnum & Mason. For some it will have been their first experience of direct action (read this shocking report of the arrest of a 15 year old girl) and others were part of the Black Bloc earlier in the day – the two are not mutually exclusive. UK Uncut has an incredibly loose non-hierarchical structure, and to be successful it must somehow find a place for those of all backgrounds.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia GregoryInside Fortnum & Mason. They look super scared don’t they?

Most UK Uncutters recognise that there is more to successful activism than a simplistic black and white damnation of violence, but the more liberal end of the spectrum may well be new to the idea that damage to property is not considered violence by many activists – see here for a definition – so there is going to be a rapid need to redefine and educate as soon as possible. Most of the targets for property damage on Saturday were well thought through – big banks that avoid tax, Topshop, BHS and so on. Who threw paint, and who broke windows? It’s not clear, but the targets were clear enough. Some people, whether you agree with it or not, think it is more effective to inflict damage on a well selected target than to simply march from A-B and then listen to speeches. After all, what did it ever do to stop the Iraq war? Direct action through the ages has proven that targeting property can be highly effective – the Suffragettes were never afraid of inflicting collateral damage. Last year at Climate Camp windows were smashed at the RBS head offices in Edinburgh to demonstrate concern against their continued investment in fossil fuels.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

By Trafalgar Square at night some rogue elements (possibly pissed up) were clearly provoked into throwing glass bottles at police, never something I would recommend however bad police brutality gets (and by all accounts it did get REALLY bad) because I personally don’t believe that violence against people is ever acceptable. But I do believe that the Black Bloc as a considered and thoughtful tactic is something that our movement needs: people who are willing to put their bodies and actions on the front line to stop those who are damaging the fabric of our “democratic” society. Many of them were very young, possibly disaffected veterans of kettling at the student demos last year – others were highly organised groups who came to join the march from across the country. Those involved will undoubtedly have slightly different views as to process and outcome but recent online dialogues prove that diverse parts of the movement are keen to work together. Rather than dismiss Black Bloc actions as the nihilistic work of masked “hooligans” we would do well to consider the underlying reasons why this is seen as an appealing tactic utilised by at least a thousand people last weekend. After all, we’re all in this together… and this is just the beginning of our future.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Further reading:
Why Fortnum & Mason?
Video footage from the UKuncut action
An open letter from the Brighton Solidarity Federation of Anarcho-Syndicalists
People are worth less than property
A night in the cells is nothing to a lifetime imprisoned by cuts
Reasons why the cuts are a bad idea
Dominic Campbell experiences police brutality in Trafalgar Square
Political Dynamite: We should use the word violence with the greatest care.
Leah Borromeo: Protestors can’t disown the “violent minority”.
Why the UKuncut arrests threaten future protests
What is the Black Bloc? Information page.
Laurie Penny – What really happened in Trafalgar Square
My UK Uncut arrest made me a political prisoner
Climate Camp 2010 in Edinburgh – my commentary
Climate Camp 2009 in Copenhagen – my commentary part one, part two and part three.
G20 Climate Camp in the City – my commentary
Ratcliffe: Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?- my commentary
Climate Camp at Kingsnorth in 2008.
One of the first UK Uncut protests: Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment.
March 26 2011-UK UncutUK Uncut gathers on the South Bank on Saturday 26th March 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Unless you have been living under a rock you will be aware that there was a huge anti-cuts march on Saturday 26th March 2011. In the days since then the press has been dominated with both outrage from the government that “hooligans” should be allowed to roam the streets, health and on the other side, stomach shock at the way in which once again the police and media have mistreated protestors. As anyone who was following me on Twitter will know I was involved on the UK Uncut action, cialis 40mg which involved an occupation of Fortnum & Mason… yet another large corporation culpable of massive tax avoidance: This action led to by far the largest numbers of arrests and charges on the day: a staggering 138 of the 149.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

On my way through London I saw the most enormous amount of creativity, from pound coin shields to a Trojan Horse cunningly installed at the centre of Oxford Circus – and of course plenty of banners bursting with witty one liners: included in this blog post are just a few of the amazing sights from the day. With a march numbering possibly half a million and upwards (something the government has been quick to downplay) there were surely many great ones that I missed – especially the legendary message “I was told there would be biscuits” carried by a small child on someone’s shoulders. I broke away from the march early on to take part in UK Uncut actions on Oxford Street and then at Fortnum & Mason.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Demonised by the press for their behaviour, UK Uncut have been quick to fight back with their version of events: really, the police and media should know better. Both UK Uncut and Green & Black Cross – the support network that provided legal observers and arrestee support – have grown out of Climate Camp networks and ways of organising to take on completely new identities of their own. As a result some of those involved are no strangers to wrongful arrest, police brutality and political policing: remember Heathrow, Kingsnorth, G20 and Ratcliffe anyone? These people know what they are doing; naturally the unfair arrests of UK Uncut was filmed and immediately shared, the footage unsurprisingly making the front page of the Guardian.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Some people might wonder what on earth the links between the anti-cuts movement and Climate Camp are, but Climate Camp has always been rooted in a desire to address the social inequalities of capitalism – for example a breakaway group in London is currently looking at ways to campaign around fuel poverty. One of the favourite slogans at the COP15 Climate conference was System Change not Climate Change – we can’t cure the problem with simple quick fix answers, but rather by tackling the whole global neoliberal system. A brutal plan to cut services such as libraries and the NHS will undermine the fabric of a just society, affecting the poor most. Meanwhile the rich are able to avoid huge tax bills at a time when we desperately need to start building a green economy that is not based on endless profit. Clearly these inequalities are something that green activists are keen to tackle.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Climate Camp has also always been a broad mix of liberalism and radicalism, so it’s no surprise that UK Uncut is as well. The very name Green & Black Cross indicates how the group combines the more autonomous anarchist streaks of activism with the skills, infrastructure and ideologies built up within the green movement. It supports grassroots social struggles in the UK and during the March for the Alternative the Green & Black Cross provided Legal Support, Action Medics and Action Kitchens. They even had a basic compost portaloo roaming the streets in a supermarket trolley – but in the event it was never used: it’s hard to get into a kettle once it is formed. They will be independently advising on all arrests during the day at a defendants’ meeting on Saturday 2nd April and were generally out in force to offer biscuits and legal advice as soon as arrestees were released.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Since the arrests UK Uncut activists have had to field a barrage of commentary from the media, which has been ever quick to notice the anarchic element of their protest. Their sit in at Fortnum & Mason was largely peaceful – protestors ate their own sandwiches and listened to performances and speeches – but on Newsnight a spokesperson was asked to denounce all protestor violence. She did a marvellous job of neither condoning nor denouncing it: there were people from all backgrounds in Fortnum & Mason. For some it will have been their first experience of direct action (read this shocking report of the arrest of a 15 year old girl) and others were part of the Black Bloc earlier in the day – the two are not mutually exclusive. UK Uncut has an incredibly loose non-hierarchical structure, and to be successful it must somehow find a place for those of all backgrounds.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia GregoryInside Fortnum & Mason. They look super scared don’t they?

Most UK Uncutters recognise that there is more to successful activism than a simplistic black and white damnation of violence, but the more liberal end of the spectrum may well be new to the idea that damage to property is not considered violence by many activists – see here for a definition – so there is going to be a rapid need to redefine and educate as soon as possible. Most of the targets for property damage on Saturday were well thought through – big banks that avoid tax, Topshop, BHS and so on. Who threw paint, and who broke windows? It’s not clear, but the targets were clear enough. Some people, whether you agree with it or not, think it is more effective to inflict damage on a well selected target than to simply march from A-B and then listen to speeches. After all, what did it ever do to stop the Iraq war? Direct action through the ages has proven that targeting property can be highly effective – the Suffragettes were never afraid of inflicting collateral damage. Last year at Climate Camp windows were smashed at the RBS head offices in Edinburgh to demonstrate concern against their continued investment in fossil fuels.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

By Trafalgar Square at night some rogue elements (possibly pissed up) were clearly provoked into throwing glass bottles at police, never something I would recommend however bad police brutality gets (and by all accounts it did get REALLY bad) because I personally don’t believe that violence against people is ever acceptable. But I do believe that the Black Bloc as a considered and thoughtful tactic is something that our movement needs: people who are willing to put their bodies and actions on the front line to stop those who are damaging the fabric of our “democratic” society. Many of them were very young, possibly disaffected veterans of kettling at the student demos last year – others were highly organised groups who came to join the march from across the country. Those involved will undoubtedly have slightly different views as to process and outcome but recent online dialogues prove that diverse parts of the movement are keen to work together. Rather than dismiss Black Bloc actions as the nihilistic work of masked “hooligans” we would do well to consider the underlying reasons why this is seen as an appealing tactic utilised by at least a thousand people last weekend. After all, we’re all in this together… and this is just the beginning of our future.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Further reading:
Why Fortnum & Mason?
Video footage from the UKuncut action
An open letter from the Brighton Solidarity Federation of Anarcho-Syndicalists
People are worth less than property
A night in the cells is nothing to a lifetime imprisoned by cuts
Reasons why the cuts are a bad idea
Dominic Campbell experiences police brutality in Trafalgar Square
Political Dynamite: We should use the word violence with the greatest care.
Leah Borromeo: Protestors can’t disown the “violent minority”.
Why the UKuncut arrests threaten future protests
What is the Black Bloc? Information page.
Laurie Penny – What really happened in Trafalgar Square
My UK Uncut arrest made me a political prisoner
Climate Camp 2010 in Edinburgh – my commentary
Climate Camp 2009 in Copenhagen – my commentary part one, part two and part three.
G20 Climate Camp in the City – my commentary
Ratcliffe: Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?- my commentary
Climate Camp at Kingsnorth in 2008.
One of the first UK Uncut protests: Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment.
March 26 2011-UK UncutUK Uncut gathers on the South Bank on Saturday 26th March 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Unless you have been living under a rock you will be aware that there was a huge anti-cuts march on Saturday 26th March 2011. In the days since then the press has been dominated with both outrage from the government that “hooligans” should be allowed to roam the streets, visit this site and on the other side, buy shock at the way in which once again the police and media have mistreated protestors. As anyone who was following me on Twitter will know I was involved on the UK Uncut action, which involved an occupation of Fortnum & Mason… yet another large corporation culpable of massive tax avoidance: This action led to by far the largest numbers of arrests and charges on the day: a staggering 138 of the 149.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

On my way through London I saw the most enormous amount of creativity, from pound coin shields to a Trojan Horse cunningly installed at the centre of Oxford Circus – and of course plenty of banners bursting with witty one liners: included in this blog post are just a few of the amazing sights from the day. With a march numbering possibly half a million and upwards (something the government has been quick to downplay) there were surely many great ones that I missed – especially the legendary message “I was told there would be biscuits” carried by a small child on someone’s shoulders. I broke away from the march early on to take part in UK Uncut actions on Oxford Street and then at Fortnum & Mason.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Demonised by the press for their behaviour, UK Uncut have been quick to fight back with their version of events: really, the police and media should know better. Both UK Uncut and Green & Black Cross – the support network that provided legal observers and arrestee support – have grown out of Climate Camp networks and ways of organising to take on completely new identities of their own. As a result some of those involved are no strangers to wrongful arrest, police brutality and political policing: remember Heathrow, Kingsnorth, G20 and Ratcliffe anyone? These people know what they are doing; naturally the unfair arrests of UK Uncut was filmed and immediately shared, the footage unsurprisingly making the front page of the Guardian.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Some people might wonder what on earth the links between the anti-cuts movement and Climate Camp are, but Climate Camp has always been rooted in a desire to address the social inequalities of capitalism – for example a breakaway group in London is currently looking at ways to campaign around fuel poverty. One of the favourite slogans at the COP15 Climate conference was System Change not Climate Change – we can’t cure the problem with simple quick fix answers, but rather by tackling the whole global neoliberal system. A brutal plan to cut services such as libraries and the NHS will undermine the fabric of a just society, affecting the poor most. Meanwhile the rich are able to avoid huge tax bills at a time when we desperately need to start building a green economy that is not based on endless profit. Clearly these inequalities are something that green activists are keen to tackle.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Climate Camp has also always been a broad mix of liberalism and radicalism, so it’s no surprise that UK Uncut is as well. The very name Green & Black Cross indicates how the group combines the more autonomous anarchist streaks of activism with the skills, infrastructure and ideologies built up within the green movement. It supports grassroots social struggles in the UK and during the March for the Alternative the Green & Black Cross provided Legal Support, Action Medics and Action Kitchens. They even had a basic compost portaloo roaming the streets in a supermarket trolley – but in the event it was never used: it’s hard to get into a kettle once it is formed. They will be independently advising on all arrests during the day at a defendants’ meeting on Saturday 2nd April and were generally out in force to offer biscuits and legal advice as soon as arrestees were released.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Since the arrests UK Uncut activists have had to field a barrage of commentary from the media, which has been ever quick to notice the anarchic element of their protest. Their sit in at Fortnum & Mason was largely peaceful – protestors ate their own sandwiches and listened to performances and speeches – but on Newsnight a spokesperson was asked to denounce all protestor violence. She did a marvellous job of neither condoning nor condemning it: there were people from all backgrounds in Fortnum & Mason. For some it will have been their first experience of direct action (read this shocking report of the arrest of a 15 year old girl) and others were part of the Black Bloc earlier in the day – the two are not mutually exclusive. UK Uncut has an incredibly loose non-hierarchical structure, and to be successful it must somehow find a place for those of all backgrounds.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia GregoryInside Fortnum & Mason. They look super scared don’t they?

Most UK Uncutters recognise that there is more to successful activism than a simplistic black and white damnation of violence, but the more liberal end of the spectrum may well be new to the idea that damage to property is not considered violence by many activists – see here for a definition – so there is going to be a rapid need to redefine and educate as soon as possible. Most of the targets for property damage on Saturday were well thought through – big banks that avoid tax, Topshop, BHS and so on. Who threw paint, and who broke windows? It’s not clear, but the targets were clear enough. Some people, whether you agree with it or not, think it is more effective to inflict damage on a well selected target than to simply march from A-B and then listen to speeches. After all, what did it ever do to stop the Iraq war? Direct action through the ages has proven that targeting property can be highly effective – the Suffragettes were never afraid of inflicting collateral damage. Last year at Climate Camp windows were smashed at the RBS head offices in Edinburgh to demonstrate concern against their continued investment in fossil fuels.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

By Trafalgar Square at night some rogue elements (possibly pissed up) were clearly provoked into throwing glass bottles at police, never something I would recommend however bad police brutality gets (and by all accounts it did get REALLY bad) because I personally don’t believe that violence against people is ever acceptable. But I do believe that the Black Bloc as a considered and thoughtful tactic is something that our movement needs: people who are willing to put their bodies and actions on the front line to stop those who are damaging the fabric of our “democratic” society. Many of them were very young, possibly disaffected veterans of kettling at the student demos last year – others were highly organised groups who came to join the march from across the country. Those involved will undoubtedly have slightly different views as to process and outcome but recent online dialogues prove that diverse parts of the movement are keen to work together. Rather than dismiss Black Bloc actions as the nihilistic work of masked “hooligans” we would do well to consider the underlying reasons why this is seen as an appealing tactic utilised by at least a thousand people last weekend. After all, we’re all in this together… and this is just the beginning of our future.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Further reading:
Why Fortnum & Mason?
Video footage from the UKuncut action
An open letter from the Brighton Solidarity Federation of Anarcho-Syndicalists
People are worth less than property
A night in the cells is nothing to a lifetime imprisoned by cuts
Reasons why the cuts are a bad idea
Dominic Campbell experiences police brutality in Trafalgar Square
Political Dynamite: We should use the word violence with the greatest care.
Leah Borromeo: Protestors can’t disown the “violent minority”.
Why the UKuncut arrests threaten future protests
What is the Black Bloc? Information page.
Laurie Penny – What really happened in Trafalgar Square
My UK Uncut arrest made me a political prisoner
Climate Camp 2010 in Edinburgh – my commentary
Climate Camp 2009 in Copenhagen – my commentary part one, part two and part three.
G20 Climate Camp in the City – my commentary
Ratcliffe: Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?- my commentary
Climate Camp at Kingsnorth in 2008.
One of the first UK Uncut protests: Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment.
unhealthy _Another_Level, sickness _4x4x3m,_mixed_media_including_reclaimed_wood,_glass_flowers,_taxidermied_bird,_flower_pots,_2009_courtesy_the_artist_and_EB&Flow” width=”480″ height=”320″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-38966″ />
Katie Louise Surridge, Another Level. Mixed media including reclaimed wood, glass flowers, taxidermied bird, flower pots.

Amidst the renovations and general detritus that inevitably comes when you do a top to toe renovation of a two floored building, Nathan Englebrecht and Margherita Berloni are guiding me around the former print works in Leonard Street, EC2 which will soon form the light-filled gallery space for EB&Flow. In the run up to the April 2nd opening, the gallery founders – both twenty somethings who met on an art business course – seem as cool as a proverbial cucumber and in good spirits as we tour the premises, chatting all the while about their vision for the space and how it will serve and suit their artists in residence. While art galleries are certainly not hard to come by in this neck of the woods, there is something very noteworthy about this particular endeavor, and that is the galleries extensive level of support to the artists who will exhibit in their gallery. Their aim is to cultivate long term relationships with the artists in residency, and share an ethos that they will try to make anything happen for them; advising them on their careers, placing them in collections, even paying for material costs if necessary.


A selection of works by some of the 10 artists who will be exhibiting at the group show Since Tomorrow
Gemma Anderson
Albemarlensis, Pahoehoe Lava


Ketil by Shannah Bupp.


Silent Are The Echoes by Nicholas Mcleod

During the time that their work is exhibited at EB&Flow, they are also given studio space within the gallery. (After a period, the walls will be removed and the studio becomes an exhibition in itself). It soon becomes clear that Nathan and Margherita feel passionately about this, discussing at length something which is somewhat of a current hot topic – the sense that artists are not provided with enough support and advice during their time at art school with regards to the business of art; (a subject that was recently discussed in Jessica Furseth’s article here). “We never felt that artists had the right platform in which to exhibit and the support that was needed to develop their careers”, Nathan explains. Born out of this is an additional feature of the gallery; an educational programme kicking off at the end of April that will discuss issues such as collecting, curatorial practice and artist professional development. They list a few of the topics that will be covered, such as the legality issues of selling art, re-sell rights, how to store art, how to do art fairs…..all things relevant and vital to a burgeoning artists career. It’s worth mentioning that these courses and lectures will be open to all. Check the EB&Flow website for further details.


Margeherita and Nathan, EB & Flow.

I ask Margherita and Nathan what they are looking for in an artist, and what type of work will feature at EB&Flow. “There is a certain aesthetic line going through our choice of artists”, Nathan explains, with Margherita adding “we steer away from very conceptual stuff and minimalist art; we want something rich and interesting to look at”. Their first collection is entitled Since Tomorrow, curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini and features work (using disciplines such as installation, painting, sculpture and photography) from ten emerging artists exploring the dynamics of space and providing responses to the question ‘ what is the space we are living at the moment and how do we represent it?’. Work will be shown by Briony Anderson, Gemma Anderson, Neil Ayling, Ross M. Brown, Shannah Bupp, Sue Corke, Dylan Culhane, Alessandro Librio, Nicholas McLeod, Katie Louise Surridge and Cristian Zuzunaga.


So Over by Katie Louise Surridge

Amongst the core group of artists whose work will be opening the gallery is Katie Louise Surridge, a Slade School of Fine Art graduate. (She will also go on to have a residency at the EB&Flow gallery). Her work will particularly resonate with anyone who lives in grimy, rubbish strewn London because Katie has the ability to make something beautiful out of the underbelly of the city. Her installations use found objects which she sources during scavenging missions done mainly along the Thames, creating a utopia out of what has been left behind and discarded. While I was talking with Nathan and Margherita, Katie was busy getting a sense of the space that will feature her (very big) installation. She works mostly with natural materials, such as aged wood and metal; “natural materials that have been used in this urban scheme, and then reverted back to being natural again”. “I have this fascination with what’s left behind”, she continues, “I like the aesthetic of what the river washes up – it’s been there for a long time and it’s aged and it feels like its got a bit of history behind it”. It’s impossible not to warm to Katie, especially after discovering the following facts about her:
– She once found an S+M style gag washed up in the river and took it to the pub, thinking that it was a dog collar.
– She was in the Boy Scouts as a child (not the Brownies)
– She is a self confessed obsessive hoarder
– Her beloved dog is going to be featured on a ‘Dog Borstal’ style TV show
– She is saving up to buy a metal detector to assist her scavenging expeditions.

Discovering Katie’s work makes me realise how little I know about what gets discarded in big cities, and how much waste washes up around us.


Dylan Culhane, and his work Mechanotron which will feature in Since Tomorrow.

Since Tomorrow: Exhibition Dates, 2 April – 26 May.

March 26 2011-UK UncutUK Uncut gathers on the South Bank on Saturday 26th March 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Unless you have been living under a rock you will be aware that there was a huge anti-cuts March for the Alternative on Saturday 26th March 2011. In the days since then the press has been dominated with both outrage from the government that “hooligans” should be allowed to roam the streets, purchase and on the other side, shock at the way in which once again the police and media have mistreated protestors. As anyone who was following me on Twitter will know I was involved on the UK Uncut action, which involved an occupation of Fortnum & Mason… yet another large corporation culpable of massive tax avoidance: This action led to by far the largest numbers of arrests and charges on the day: a staggering 138 of the 149.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

On my way through London I saw the most enormous amount of creativity, from pound coin shields to a Trojan Horse cunningly installed at the centre of Oxford Circus – and of course plenty of banners bursting with witty one liners: included in this blog post are just a few of the amazing sights from the day. With a march numbering possibly half a million and upwards (something the government has been quick to downplay) there were surely many great ones that I missed – especially the legendary message “I was told there would be biscuits” carried by a small child on someone’s shoulders. I broke away from the march early on to take part in UK Uncut actions on Oxford Street and then at Fortnum & Mason.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Demonised by the press for their behaviour, UK Uncut have been quick to fight back with their version of events: really, the police and media should know better. Both UK Uncut and Green & Black Cross – the support network that provided legal observers and arrestee support – have grown out of Climate Camp networks and ways of organising to take on completely new identities of their own. As a result some of those involved are no strangers to wrongful arrest, police brutality and political policing: remember Heathrow, Kingsnorth, G20 and Ratcliffe anyone? These people know what they are doing; naturally the unfair arrests of UK Uncut was filmed and immediately shared, the footage unsurprisingly making the front page of the Guardian.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Some people might wonder what on earth the links between the anti-cuts movement and Climate Camp are, but Climate Camp has always been rooted in a desire to address the social inequalities of capitalism – for example a breakaway group in London is currently looking at ways to campaign around fuel poverty. One of the favourite slogans at the COP15 Climate conference was System Change not Climate Change – we can’t cure the problem with simple quick fix answers, but rather by tackling the whole global neoliberal system. A brutal plan to cut services such as libraries and the NHS will undermine the fabric of a just society, affecting the poor most. Meanwhile the rich are able to avoid huge tax bills at a time when we desperately need to start building a green economy that is not based on endless profit. Clearly these inequalities are something that green activists are keen to tackle.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Climate Camp has also always been a broad mix of liberalism and radicalism, so it’s no surprise that UK Uncut is as well. The very name Green & Black Cross indicates how the group combines the more autonomous anarchist streaks of activism with the skills, infrastructure and ideologies built up within the green movement. It supports grassroots social struggles in the UK and during the March for the Alternative the Green & Black Cross provided Legal Support, Action Medics and Action Kitchens. They even had a basic compost portaloo roaming the streets in a supermarket trolley – but in the event it was never used: it’s hard to get into a kettle once it is formed. They will be independently advising on all arrests during the day at a defendants’ meeting on Saturday 2nd April and were generally out in force to offer biscuits and legal advice as soon as arrestees were released.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Since the arrests UK Uncut activists have had to field a barrage of commentary from the media, which has been ever quick to notice the anarchic element of their protest. Their sit in at Fortnum & Mason was largely peaceful – protestors ate their own sandwiches and listened to performances and speeches – but on Newsnight a spokesperson was asked to denounce all protestor violence. She did a marvellous job of neither condoning nor condemning it: there were people from all backgrounds in Fortnum & Mason. For some it will have been their first experience of direct action (read this shocking report of the arrest of a 15 year old girl) and others were part of the Black Bloc earlier in the day – the two are not mutually exclusive. UK Uncut has an incredibly loose non-hierarchical structure, and to be successful it must somehow find a place for those of all backgrounds.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia GregoryInside Fortnum & Mason. They look super scared don’t they?

Most UK Uncutters recognise that there is more to successful activism than a simplistic black and white damnation of violence, but the more liberal end of the spectrum may well be new to the idea that damage to property is not considered violence by many activists – see here for a definition – so there is going to be a rapid need to redefine and educate as soon as possible. Most of the targets for property damage on Saturday were well thought through – big banks that avoid tax, Topshop, BHS and so on. Who threw paint, and who broke windows? It’s not clear, but the targets were clear enough. Some people, whether you agree with it or not, think it is more effective to inflict damage on a well selected target than to simply march from A-B and then listen to speeches. After all, what did it ever do to stop the Iraq war? Direct action through the ages has proven that targeting property can be highly effective – the Suffragettes were never afraid of inflicting collateral damage. Last year at Climate Camp windows were smashed at the RBS head offices in Edinburgh to demonstrate concern against their continued investment in fossil fuels.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

By Trafalgar Square at night some rogue elements (possibly pissed up) were clearly provoked into throwing glass bottles at police, never something I would recommend however bad police brutality gets (and by all accounts it did get REALLY bad) because I personally don’t believe that violence against people is ever acceptable. But I do believe that the Black Bloc as a considered and thoughtful tactic is something that our movement needs: people who are willing to put their bodies and actions on the front line to stop those who are damaging the fabric of our “democratic” society. Many of them were very young, possibly disaffected veterans of kettling at the student demos last year – others were highly organised groups who came to join the march from across the country. Those involved will undoubtedly have slightly different views as to process and outcome but recent online dialogues prove that diverse parts of the movement are keen to work together. Rather than dismiss Black Bloc actions as the nihilistic work of masked “hooligans” we would do well to consider the underlying reasons why this is seen as an appealing tactic utilised by at least a thousand people last weekend. After all, we’re all in this together… and this is just the beginning of our future.

March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory
March 26 2011-UK Uncut. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Further reading:
Why Fortnum & Mason?
Video footage from the UKuncut action
An open letter from the Brighton Solidarity Federation of Anarcho-Syndicalists
People are worth less than property
A night in the cells is nothing to a lifetime imprisoned by cuts
Reasons why the cuts are a bad idea
Dominic Campbell experiences police brutality in Trafalgar Square
Political Dynamite: We should use the word violence with the greatest care.
Leah Borromeo: Protestors can’t disown the “violent minority”.
Why the UKuncut arrests threaten future protests
What is the Black Bloc? Information page.
Laurie Penny – What really happened in Trafalgar Square
My UK Uncut arrest made me a political prisoner
Climate Camp 2010 in Edinburgh – my commentary
Climate Camp 2009 in Copenhagen – my commentary part one, part two and part three.
G20 Climate Camp in the City – my commentary
Ratcliffe: Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?- my commentary
Climate Camp at Kingsnorth in 2008.
One of the first UK Uncut protests: Sir Philip Green and his Topshop billions get the UK Uncut treatment.
Ross Harrison, visit this site Director and Writer of Beyond the Brink, erectile Illustration by Francesca Bourne

Beyond the Brink is young filmmaker Ross Harrison’s personal investigation into the debate on Climate Change. After feeling inundated by the media discussions in the lead up and fall out of Copenhagen in 2009, prostate Ross set himself the task of answering the ever present question of “What is Climate Change” followed by the provocative  “and does it really matter?” To help himself along his journey and to find out more about the current consensus on climate change Ross interviewed a selection of commentators and scientists from  David Attenbrough, Deepak Rughani, Mark Lynas, Dieter Helm to Dr Heike Schroeder.

Amelia’s Magazine interviewed Ross about why he decided to make this film, the impact the film has had in schools and what he now thinks needs to be achieved on a personal and governmental level to tackle the impact of Climate Change.

First things first, what inspired you to make a film that investigates the vast and divisive topic that is Climate Change?

Back in 2009, it seemed like an unavoidable issue – what with the media coverage building up to Copenhagen for nearly the whole year and films like The Age of Stupid being released. I also found the subject cropping up more and more in my school work.

Film Still from Beyond the Brink

What did you feel was missing from the discussion in the media or schools during the lead up to Cop 15 in 2009?

It seemed like a very polarized debate with no middle ground. I was frustrated by hearing the same arguments again and again bouncing between the same groups of people. I didn’t understand why people weren’t cooperating more to work towards a common goal. That hasn’t changed a great deal. Probably and most importantly I wanted to provide a young person’s perspective.

How has the film been received since its release? Has it been taken around schools in the UK?

Since I launched the website at the end of last year there has been a lot of positive feedback, which is encouraging. For the week of screenings I posted about 300 DVDs to schools, universities, community groups and individual volunteers. I’ve been along to some screenings myself, but because they’re all over the country it’s mainly teachers and students using the film themselves, which I’ve tried to make as easy as possible by releasing the film for free.

Film Still from Beyond the Brink

What -for you- were the most difficult aspects to making this film?

Weighing up the masses of information about climate change – articles, books, blogs, programs, interviews – and trying to filter that down into a documentary that was balanced, accessible and understandable was the first difficulty. The second was trying to think of ways of doing things differently, using different language, presenting the problem in a new way that might make it more inspiring.

Beyond the Brink contains a mixture of talking heads and personal narration, what lead you to construct the film in this way?

The talking heads are in there because I felt that was the best way to convey the experts’ viewpoints. The audience hears what I heard and can draw their own conclusions. I chose to feature myself because it was a very personal project and I wanted to include my slant as a teenager.

Was it particularly important to you that the film was released for free and under a creative commons license?

Definitely. My hope is for the film to get the widest audience possible and I think making it freely available should mean more people watch it that otherwise might.

Beyond the Brink Trailer


On reflection, since Cop 16 and the overshadowing of Climate Change in the media by the recession and the arrival of the coalition government, what do you think is next for the climate movement?

Cancun was not surprising – after such a flop at Copenhagen the officials involved were bound to be desperate to publicize some sort of success. Even so COP16 was a small step rather than the deal people had set their hopes on in 2009. I don’t want to rule out the UN process completely, but I think its limited real impact in the 19 years its been running, is a sign progress needs to be made elsewhere. Those involved in the climate movement need to be pressuring the governments of their own countries to lead by example. The discussion needs to move away from talking about climate catastrophe to selling the benefits of a clean energy infrastructure and low-carbon lifestyles. People are far more likely to be driven by an appealing goal than a danger that could affect them at some point in the future.

What did you learn during the making of the film that surprised you with regards to the debate on Climate Change?

A greater proportion of the scientific community than I realized think that humans are largely causing current climate change. A scientific debate about whether we are contributing to climate change doesn’t really exist anymore, it is widely assumed we are.

Sir David Attenborough by Abi Daker

Have you plans to follow up the film with further interviews?

No, although it’s something I may come back to at a later date, after I’ve finished working on distributing this film I’ll be looking to take on a new project.

How difficult did you find approaching the range of experts -from Sir David Attenborough to Deepak Rughani and Dr Heike Schroeader- that appear in Beyond the Brink?

It was certainly a challenge. Obviously the people I met know a massive amount about the subject, much more than I do, but you still have to research lots to be able to ask good questions. Thankfully all the interviewees were very approachable and generous with their time. Like many things, you get better at interviews with practice and in the end I was really pleased with the responses I had. That’s not to say there weren’t disappointments. Sometimes technical problems meant some of the best answers couldn’t be used.

How did the animations within the film develop and do you feel they were integral to explain a few of the ideas behind the causes of Climate Change?

Concepts like the greenhouse effect are difficult to explain at all, let alone with a strict time limit and so animations seemed like the best option. The problem is they take a long time to create. I’ve still got 100 paper Earths on my shelf that I traced from my computer screen.

Film Stills from Beyond the Brink

What fact or possible event as a cause of Climate Change shocked you the most during the making of this film?

I found that the number of species threatened by potential warming was really startling. One in four land animal and plant species could be threatened with extinction this century.

Which five environmental documentaries would you recommend everybody watches?

The Age of Stupid, The End of the Line, The Planet Earth series is brilliant and Planet Earth: The Future is a conservation focused companion series. The ‘Jungles’ episode of the recent Human Planet series.

Deepak Rughani by Valerie Pezeron

What conclusions have you come to since Beyond the Brink was completed?

Being optimistic is important. Working towards a vision of a better world with a reliable renewable energy supply, full employment, smaller bills, and healthier lifestyles, has got a far greater chance of uniting the population than struggling to avoid a catastrophe. You don’t have to be an environmentalist to want those things. And working together is essential. In whatever situation people are taking action, by joining forces with their neighbours, friends, schoolmates or colleagues, they can make their voice much louder.

Film Still from Beyond the Brink

What policies would you like to see Governments world wide implement?

I’d like to see serious investment in green technologies, stricter regulation of energy industries, and policies that make it easier for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. Channelling money into developing renewable energy and other green products can create jobs. On the one hand if our current energy system is replaced by a carbon neutral one then individuals will not have to make many changes, on the other, behavioral change is essential because we need to start appreciating almost all the resources we use are finite. One policy I think is especially urgent and needs to be implemented by some South American and Indonesian governments is strong protection of rainforests. The rate of deforestation is mind-blowing and can’t go on.

Dr Heike Schroeder by Sam Parr

“Are we really causing Climate Change and who cares?” (Question taken from Beyond the Brink’s website)

It is very likely we are changing the Earth’s climate by changing the composition of its atmosphere and this is a stance that the vast majority of climate scientists and scientific organizations around the world agree on, as far as I can tell. The implications are serious and everybody could be affected, but importantly the poorest people in the world who are less able to defend themselves against potential hazards are likely to be affected first.

Like many problems, climate change is easy to ignore and only a minority are taking action, even if a much larger number might say they are concerned. The next step must be to encourage changes that people want to see and which reduce our impact at the same time, like demanding cheaper, better public transport, or designing more energy efficient products. What really makes me hopeful, though, is education. I’m hopeful people my age will grow up with different attitudes to those of generations before.

Film Still from Beyond the Brink

After watching the film, what’s the next step for a viewer who would like to be engaged in the Climate Change debate?

Well, for a start the debate has largely moved from are we really causing climate change, to what’s the best way to minimize the impact we are very likely having. If someone wants more information, there are endless books and websites. The Rough Guide to Climate Change is particularly good. But be wary of blogs – it’s very easy for people to write anything they like and pretend to know more than they do.

In terms of getting involved, the best thing to do is join an existing network, of which there are many. There are so many organizations with basically the same aims I sometimes think if they all joined forces then they could really change things. If you’d call yourself young then check out the UK Youth Climate Coalition, some of whose members feature in the film. Other initiatives like 350 and 10:10 are building the movement, making it exciting and making an impact.

To visit Beyond the Brink’s website, click here.

Categories ,1010, ,350, ,Ben West, ,Beyond the Brink, ,Biofuel Watch, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Change, ,Cop 15, ,David Attenborough, ,David Shuckman, ,Deepak Rughani, ,Dr Heike Schroeder, ,Geoff Harris, ,Guppi Bola, ,Just Do It: get off your arse and change the world, ,Kirsty Schneeberger, ,Mark Lynas, ,Pamela Harris, ,Prof Dieter Helm, ,Ross Harrison, ,The Age of Stupid, ,The End of the Line, ,UK Youth Climate Coalition

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Amelia’s Magazine | Ohh Deer Illustration Collective: an interview with Co-Founder Jamie Mitchell

Ohh Deer , Jamie Mitchell illustration

Ohh Deer is more than just a site that sells cool graphic tees, it’s a collective of young creatives featuring some of the most talented emerging illustrators out there. Founded in 2011 by Jamie Mitchell and Mark Callaby, Ohh Deer offers everything from greeting cards to homeware. In fact, Amelia ear-marked one of their lovely cushions (designed by William Branton) in her Christmas Gift Ideas 2012 post. More than just a quirky online shop, jam-packed full of juicy illustrated bits ‘n’ bobs, they also function a bit like a creative agency, working on briefs together (for clients like Universal Music) and helping promote each others work.

The band of merry pens that make up this fresh-faced brand have proven than two leads (of the pencil variety) are better than one with their great products and impressive roster of clients. Rather than brave a tough industry alone, Mark and Jamie decided to work together, bringing a whole host of other bright young things they admired on board too. There’s now a whole range of pencils involved, including Nicholas Darby, Alice Potter, Ruben Ireland, Miguel Mansur, Jamie Mills and Kris Tate. The site also stocks products by various other illustrators including Jack Teagle and Emma May to name but a few.

Ohh Deer, Jamie Mitchell illustration

The result is Ohh Deer, the equivalent of a sort of ‘super-freelancer’ with more time, talent, range and skills than one illustrator could muster alone. Fun, fresh, beautiful, honest, scary, relevant, Ohh Deer illustrations cover a lot of bases with their vast range of styles. Complete with a young, contemporary vibe, the company is straight out of the dreams of many a creative-type.

If you don’t already follow Ohh Deer on Facebook then you should, as it quickly becomes obvious that their brand-name gives them an edge for cracking all manner of social media-friendly and meme-happy jokes. This isn’t just a collective that follows visual culture, they’re part of it.

Ohh Deer , Jamie Mitchell illustration

Last year, to give my wardrobe an injection of all things illustration, I took out a subscription to the Ohh Deer T-shirt Club. This, like my Stack Magazines subscription, is one of my monthly indulgences. Whether it’s a design featuring a lemon with adorably bulgy eyes or kitchen utensils with attitude, these staples give my wardrobe, and my creativity, a boost each month. There’s so much stuff on the site I want that it would be impossible for me to list it all here, but currently I’m drooling over some lovely wooden neck-creatures , wishing I could buy ALL the stationery as well as lusting after a whole batch of other penned goodies that make me shiver with creative delight. They even have copies of Wrap in their shop, an illustration magazine which comes with 5 sheets of illustrated wrapping paper each issue.

With all this in mind, I spoke to co-founder Jamie Mitchell about how he came to setup the business and what Ohh Deer has in store for 2013.

Ohh Deer , Jamie Mitchell illustration

What gave you the impetus to start Ohh Deer?
The business was founded as a means to support myself and Mark. After a while we added several Illustrators to our collective and since then it’s blossomed. We’ve realised the potential to help other creatives and we’re determined to create something synonymous with contemporary Illustration.

What philosophy do you think is at the heart of the business?
The business feeds back a direct proportion of profit to the artist who’s work it is, and that’s how we like to do it. Ohh Deer as a business needs enough profit to grow, and be able to launch people to a higher level of recognition but our core aim is to support illustrators, and a lot of support for freelancers comes financially.

Ohh Deer
Ohh Deer
Ohh Deer

What kind of plans do you have for Ohh Deer in the future?
We’re now on the highstreet, and hopefully will be in Topshop and Paperchase nationwide soon. Our next step is to get the brand recognised internationally, and the same process will hopefully be applied to several amazing countries.

How did you go about picking illustrators to collaborate with?
The original selection of Illustrators were picked from people who’s work we admired on Twitter, these were people we were in regular contact with and whose work we would love to own. Since then we’ve added Illustrators and Artists to the roster who embody everything we love about the field. We all have a contemporary feel to our work, and we all work differently.

Ohh Deer, Jamie Mitchell illustration

You started Ohh Deer with Mark Callaby, do you both run the project full-time?
Me and Mark founded the company in 2011, and we run the company from a HQ in Loughborough. Full-time there’s also Laura and soon to be Ricky who will be doing lots of tech related wizardry.

You originally pursued a career in Architecture, is this something you might look back to in future?
I might drift back to Architecture for small projects, I still love to design space, but never for anything permanent, I imagine my career will be very varied, as design can change so much from one project to the next.

Hannah Richards, Ohh Deer

What are the influences of your own personal illustration style?
A childhood diet of David Attenborough.

What other projects are you working on right now?
Ohh Deer is where the majority of my time is spent, I’m completing Album artwork for a very talented Musician at the minute. I’m doing a piece for an exhibition in Oxford about ‘contemporary fairytales’, I’m doing some work for a company called Kigu, who make brilliant onesies. I’ve just started a collection of Dinosaurs (because I love them) but also because I’ve been asked by the Natural History Museum to produce contemporary Dino products. I had an interesting email in my inbox this week about wallpaper design, so that could be happening too soon. Ohh Deer products will soon be on sale in Topshop and Paperchase as well as Scribbler and hopefully some other high street chains – so our mission to create a ‘launchpad’ for the artists is definitely taking shape. Next it will be the world.

Drew Turner, Ohh Deer
Rebecca Potter, Ohh Deer
Kris Tate, Ohh Deer

How often do you put pen to paper?
I don’t get to draw all that often, I don’t have any free time at all, I’m working to be able to do more, by hiring a PA to manage some of the details, but I normally output a single Illustration every two months or so.

What’s the best aspect of starting up your own business?
Being your own boss. I’m unemployable – and by that I don’t mean I’m not professional, I just get restless, bored and disappointed with an unvarying list of jobs to do. I also love the ability to help support and nourish the careers of lots of awesome illustrators – our online following allows us to showcase work and host public facing competitions to see what other brilliant work is out there.

And the worst?
Not having enough hours in the day.

Jaco Haasbroek, Ohh Deer

What advice would you give to budding illustrators?
Say yes to everything – Don’t expect to make any money to begin with, and when you’ve got some projects under your belt, don’t let big companies bully you for cheap labour, you’re a very talented individual and don’t you forget it!

Ruben Ireland, Ohh Deer


The beautiful illustrations in this piece were provided by Jamie Mitchell. The Ohh Deer products are by a range of illustrators and you can find them all on the Ohh Deer website.

Categories ,Alice Potter, ,architecture, ,collective, ,contemporary fairytales, ,cushions, ,David Attenborough, ,dinos, ,draw, ,Emma May, ,Graphic Design, ,greeting cards, ,Homeware, ,illustration, ,illustrators, ,Jack Teagle, ,Jamie Mills, ,Jamie Mitchell, ,Kigu, ,Kris Tate., ,Mark Callaby, ,Miguel Mansur, ,natural history museum, ,Nicholas Darby, ,Ohh Deer, ,onesies, ,Online Shop, ,Paperchase, ,Ruben Ireland, ,Sandra Dieckmann, ,Scribbler, ,shop, ,T shirt Club, ,topshop, ,twitter, ,Universal music, ,William Branton, ,Wrap Magazine

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Amelia’s Magazine | Caitlin Hinshelwood’s natural history

Life on earth

Hawks, more about snakes, seek dinosaurs, discount sharks and bears – there isn’t a kitty in sight in Caitlin Hinshelwood’s excellent fauna. We fell in love with the work from the textile designer and artist when she, alongside partner Rose de Borman, put on the Field Work pop-up shop in Spitalfields last month. In gentle earth tones, patterns of vegetables, flowers and arrows are repeated in the fabric, sometimes interspersed with Caitlin’s scratchy handwriting. The result is ever so subtly brilliant, like a cake that’s not too sweet and gets better as you eat it. I don’t want just a cushion with Caitlin’s prints – I want wallpaper. Because as we all know, too much of a good thing is wonderful.

Ghost arguments

There is something quite playful about your work – like you’ve sat down with your pencils and doodled, almost effortlessly. Is that anything close to the reality of making your art?
In some respects yes; I definitely like to get all my books and photos, put on music and just start drawing or painting with it all out in front of me. But more often than not an image is already partially formed in my mind and it’s a case of putting it down on paper, getting it out of my head. Often it is words and colour that inspire the initial ideas and then the drawing comes, that’s especially true of my paintings. The playfulness is an aspect of my work I am happy to be recognised, I know I am making work I am going to be happy with when I laugh to myself whilst I am doing it.

There’s drawing, painting, etching, embroidery and printing, I think … what’s your preferred medium?
Initially, and most recently, I’d say drawing in pen or pencil. I have rediscovered how much I like using a simple pencil of late. However, I love mixing and using colour so then painting or printing always come in. I love the process of screen-printing regardless of how infuriating it can be, I enjoy the skill of it and building up the imagery. It’s like processing photographs yourself, it still feels like magic when the image appears on the screen.

Whale cushion

Your style seems perfect for textiles – like the fantastic ‘par avion’ swallow cushion. Is the choice to use textiles a commercial one, or is this just how you prefer to work?
I studied printed textiles at the University of Brighton so it was natural to continue using it as a medium for my work and, as mentioned before, I do love the technicality and physicality of screen-printing. Making your drawings translate to textiles gives them a new lease of life, a new context. The confines of designing in a square for a cushion or making things repeat can be part of the enjoyment. I like the variety of textiles; you can produce a print design that can be reproduced and used for fashion but you can also treat a cushion like an art piece in itself. Some of my textiles can mean as much as any painting that I do.

Giving up ghosts

I love the animal themes, and the fact that it’s not just the ‘cute’ animals but also whales, dinosaurs and so on – and the vegetables! What inspires these?
Natural history is something I often gravitate towards. It seems like an obvious thing to me as I have always liked this stuff since childhood; I wanted to be zoologist when I was little, my favourite toys were plastic dinosaurs and I have been brought up to love gardening. One of the places I am happiest is in my garden and growing vegetables. The recent animal drawings are part of a collection meant as a homage to David Attenborough and his ‘Life on Earth’ programmes. Hence my new ‘Attenborough Cushions’ which as well as featuring his portrait, complete with Soviet-esque beams, depicts a different series from ‘Life on Earth’. Whale imagery and all things maritime are a personal obsession of mine I find difficult to move away from and even if I do leave it alone for a while I always end up revisiting it.

Trio of Davids

You have an impressive list of designer names on your client list. How did you build up your customer base?
After university I won a place with Texprint, an organisation that selects 24 textile graduates from across the country and takes them to show at Indigo in Paris. I think this experience really showed me the reality of life after university and what you needed to do if you wanted to work for yourself. And that meant pestering people and slogging my portfolio around Paris, London and New York so people saw my work.

You collaborate a lot with Rose de Borman, both with the homeware range and the recent ‘Field Work’ pop-up shop. Could you tell us a little about how you two work together?
Rosie and I met at Brighton and apart from becoming great friends I think we recognised in each other shared tastes and admirations, and realised our work sits well together. Since we graduated we naturally started collaborating on certain projects, sometimes it’s more enjoyable to work on something with a friend, but we have always maintained working independently of each other. The homeware range is the only truly collaborative design project we have done together and this developed from a commission to go to India and work with a manufacturer in Jaipur to produce the range. Field Work was born in 2009 out of a desire to showcase our work, in all its different forms, in a setting that we could curate and in which we could also celebrate the work of other artists and designers we admire.

Vegetable plot dress

What are you working on these days – any new projects you can tell us about?
I am mainly going to be in the print workshop – I have a load of t-shirt commissions to finish and plenty of production to do. I am going to Mexico later in the year that will hopefully inspire a whole new range of work. It is in its very early stages at the moment but I am going to be doing some work for a Whale Festival in Vancouver, which is exciting and pretty perfect for someone that likes drawing whales. And then there is another Field Work to organise – hopefully before the year is out.

Wittgenstein

Then there’s your printed t-shirt business – will you draw anyone or is it just famous people? By the way I get why you don’t want to draw Paul McCartney, I do. The other three are cool though.
Yeah I don’t have anything against the Beatles; it’s purely McCartney I have reservations about! It doesn’t have to be famous faces; I just want it to be particular to the person that has requested a t-shirt. I’d draw anyone within reason. Obviously some choices are more populist than others and I do prefer the more obscure ones, the faces that people are less likely to recognise. I am slightly dismayed by the serious lack of women though!

Caitlin Hinshelwood

See more of Caitlin Hinshelwood’s work on her website. You can read her blog, visit her shop and look at her t-shirt site too.

Categories ,animals, ,art, ,Caitlin Hinshelwood, ,cushions, ,David Attenborough, ,drawing, ,Field Work, ,Hinshelwood de Borman, ,Life on Earth, ,natural history, ,painting, ,Paul McCartney, ,print, ,Rose de Borman, ,T-shirts, ,Texprint, ,textiles, ,the beatles, ,University of Brighton, ,Whale Festival

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Amelia’s Magazine | Caitlin Hinshelwood’s natural history

Life on earth

Hawks, more about snakes, seek dinosaurs, discount sharks and bears – there isn’t a kitty in sight in Caitlin Hinshelwood’s excellent fauna. We fell in love with the work from the textile designer and artist when she, alongside partner Rose de Borman, put on the Field Work pop-up shop in Spitalfields last month. In gentle earth tones, patterns of vegetables, flowers and arrows are repeated in the fabric, sometimes interspersed with Caitlin’s scratchy handwriting. The result is ever so subtly brilliant, like a cake that’s not too sweet and gets better as you eat it. I don’t want just a cushion with Caitlin’s prints – I want wallpaper. Because as we all know, too much of a good thing is wonderful.

Ghost arguments

There is something quite playful about your work – like you’ve sat down with your pencils and doodled, almost effortlessly. Is that anything close to the reality of making your art?
In some respects yes; I definitely like to get all my books and photos, put on music and just start drawing or painting with it all out in front of me. But more often than not an image is already partially formed in my mind and it’s a case of putting it down on paper, getting it out of my head. Often it is words and colour that inspire the initial ideas and then the drawing comes, that’s especially true of my paintings. The playfulness is an aspect of my work I am happy to be recognised, I know I am making work I am going to be happy with when I laugh to myself whilst I am doing it.

There’s drawing, painting, etching, embroidery and printing, I think … what’s your preferred medium?
Initially, and most recently, I’d say drawing in pen or pencil. I have rediscovered how much I like using a simple pencil of late. However, I love mixing and using colour so then painting or printing always come in. I love the process of screen-printing regardless of how infuriating it can be, I enjoy the skill of it and building up the imagery. It’s like processing photographs yourself, it still feels like magic when the image appears on the screen.

Whale cushion

Your style seems perfect for textiles – like the fantastic ‘par avion’ swallow cushion. Is the choice to use textiles a commercial one, or is this just how you prefer to work?
I studied printed textiles at the University of Brighton so it was natural to continue using it as a medium for my work and, as mentioned before, I do love the technicality and physicality of screen-printing. Making your drawings translate to textiles gives them a new lease of life, a new context. The confines of designing in a square for a cushion or making things repeat can be part of the enjoyment. I like the variety of textiles; you can produce a print design that can be reproduced and used for fashion but you can also treat a cushion like an art piece in itself. Some of my textiles can mean as much as any painting that I do.

Giving up ghosts

I love the animal themes, and the fact that it’s not just the ‘cute’ animals but also whales, dinosaurs and so on – and the vegetables! What inspires these?
Natural history is something I often gravitate towards. It seems like an obvious thing to me as I have always liked this stuff since childhood; I wanted to be zoologist when I was little, my favourite toys were plastic dinosaurs and I have been brought up to love gardening. One of the places I am happiest is in my garden and growing vegetables. The recent animal drawings are part of a collection meant as a homage to David Attenborough and his ‘Life on Earth’ programmes. Hence my new ‘Attenborough Cushions’ which as well as featuring his portrait, complete with Soviet-esque beams, depicts a different series from ‘Life on Earth’. Whale imagery and all things maritime are a personal obsession of mine I find difficult to move away from and even if I do leave it alone for a while I always end up revisiting it.

Trio of Davids

You have an impressive list of designer names on your client list. How did you build up your customer base?
After university I won a place with Texprint, an organisation that selects 24 textile graduates from across the country and takes them to show at Indigo in Paris. I think this experience really showed me the reality of life after university and what you needed to do if you wanted to work for yourself. And that meant pestering people and slogging my portfolio around Paris, London and New York so people saw my work.

You collaborate a lot with Rose de Borman, both with the homeware range and the recent ‘Field Work’ pop-up shop. Could you tell us a little about how you two work together?
Rosie and I met at Brighton and apart from becoming great friends I think we recognised in each other shared tastes and admirations, and realised our work sits well together. Since we graduated we naturally started collaborating on certain projects, sometimes it’s more enjoyable to work on something with a friend, but we have always maintained working independently of each other. The homeware range is the only truly collaborative design project we have done together and this developed from a commission to go to India and work with a manufacturer in Jaipur to produce the range. Field Work was born in 2009 out of a desire to showcase our work, in all its different forms, in a setting that we could curate and in which we could also celebrate the work of other artists and designers we admire.

Vegetable plot dress

What are you working on these days – any new projects you can tell us about?
I am mainly going to be in the print workshop – I have a load of t-shirt commissions to finish and plenty of production to do. I am going to Mexico later in the year that will hopefully inspire a whole new range of work. It is in its very early stages at the moment but I am going to be doing some work for a Whale Festival in Vancouver, which is exciting and pretty perfect for someone that likes drawing whales. And then there is another Field Work to organise – hopefully before the year is out.

Wittgenstein

Then there’s your printed t-shirt business – will you draw anyone or is it just famous people? By the way I get why you don’t want to draw Paul McCartney, I do. The other three are cool though.
Yeah I don’t have anything against the Beatles; it’s purely McCartney I have reservations about! It doesn’t have to be famous faces; I just want it to be particular to the person that has requested a t-shirt. I’d draw anyone within reason. Obviously some choices are more populist than others and I do prefer the more obscure ones, the faces that people are less likely to recognise. I am slightly dismayed by the serious lack of women though!

Caitlin Hinshelwood

See more of Caitlin Hinshelwood’s work on her website. You can read her blog, visit her shop and look at her t-shirt site too.

Categories ,animals, ,art, ,Caitlin Hinshelwood, ,cushions, ,David Attenborough, ,drawing, ,Field Work, ,Hinshelwood de Borman, ,Life on Earth, ,natural history, ,painting, ,Paul McCartney, ,print, ,Rose de Borman, ,T-shirts, ,Texprint, ,textiles, ,the beatles, ,University of Brighton, ,Whale Festival

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Amelia’s Magazine | Camberwell College of Art MA Illustration 2014 Final Show Review

Camberwell MA Illustration Jady Ong 1

Illustration by Jady Ong

Earlier in July I headed to Camberwell College of Art on Peckham Road to take a look at the MA Illustration Final Show. I admired and enjoyed the fact that the students from this postgraduate programme had created a custom website and twitter account specifically for the show. I also loved their simple but striking logo design for the show which had also been made into stickers and placed on the floors of corridors and steps of staircases in the college building to guide the visitor to their work. Here is a selection of the work which most took my fancy and also provided inspiration for my own illustrating practice.

Camberwell MA Illustration Jady Ong

I truly enjoyed Jady Ong’s large black and white pieces depicting figures with animal heads in dreamy narrative scenes, but totally fell in love with her sketchbook. In it I found much simpler, but gorgeously effective, collages of anthropomorphized animals which spoke straight to my collage-loving heart.

Monalisa_Camberwell_MA_Illustration_2014_Graduation_show_Illustration_by_Marja_de_Sanctis

There was something in Marja de Sanctis’ illustrations which brought to mind Frida Khalo’s work. I loved her version of The Mona Lisa.

Camberwell MA Illustration Linlin Cui 4

The next group of works which I found mesmerising were Linlin Cui’sFalling Women‘. These women float in greenish waters, as if in a cosmic liquid womb, with their umbilical cords still attached to their bellies, connecting them perhaps to their essential human nature, before all the subsequent add-ons.

Camberwell MA Illustration Fox by David Surman

I thought this stunning, also floating, Fox by David Surman totally stole the show in that particular room of the exhibition. It is part of a series of illustrations to accompany Christina Rosetti’s classic poem ‘The Goblin Market‘.

Camberwell MA Illustration Marina Muun

Among the course graduates was Amelia’s Magazine contributor Marina Muun. The series of works produced for the show is called ‘Horizons‘ and is ‘centered around perception of external stimuli and the ability to match visions and experiences to a deeper knowledge within‘.

Camberwell MA Illustration Augusta Akerman

I liked how Augusta Akerman’s elegant repeat patterns for textiles or wallpaper, such as ‘The Salmon Run‘, explore cycles within the animal kingdom and often raise awareness around endangered species. A few of her patterns are also inspired by David Attenborough’sLife on Earth‘ series, which I am also a big fan of!

Camberwell MA Illustration Hyojin Hwang

South Korean Hyojin Hwang is interested in the relationship between plants, buildings and people and merges them together in powerful compositions such as this.

Camberwell MA Illustration emily nash

This book by Emily Nash contained a plethora of fascinating narrative scenes inspired by folk tales and current affairs.

Camberwell MA Illustration Eleanor Percival

I loved this image by Eleanor Percival, whose work is heavily influenced by mythology, depicting Aphrodite in her sacred grove gathering enchanted apples.

Camberwell MA Illustration Qianqian Zhang

I found the contrast created by small dense areas of colourful forms placed within a large expanse of white in Qianqian Zhang’s very appealing.

Camberwell MA Illustration Sean McSorley

English literature graduate Sean McSorley showed images which reflected an interest in early-mid twentieth century cinema and literature.

Camberwell MA Illustration pray-for-nothing-by-Fay-Huo

Fay Huo’s large pieces were very accomplished and interesting to look at both from far away, as well as zooming in to examine smaller details.

Camberwell MA Illustration Jamie Lang

The archetype of The Fool has always held a fascination for me and I found Jamie Lang’s version beautiful.

Camberwell MA Illustration Hammer Chen happy-elixir-shopping1

Hammer Chen delighted me with her ‘Happy Elixir Shopping 1‘ in which this female shopper seems to have eyes like torches, as if searching in the darkness for the next thing to buy.

Camberwell MA Illustration Sungyoon Jung Punishment

More eyeballs shooting out yellow matter came from Sungyoon Jung’s piece called ‘Punishment‘, which despite its bright, comical style still looked very sinister.

Camberwell MA Illustration Martina Paukova bedroom

This was a striking composition by Martina Paukova who explores the world of sculpted bodies a lot in her work.

Camberwell MA Illustration nina schulze

Nina Schulze’s surreal female figures are inspired by fashion as well as dream visions.

Camberwell MA Illustration Evelyn Albrow

I loved Evelyn Albrow’s expressive use of ink.

Camberwell MA Illustration June He

I was also very impressed by June He’s series of works entitled ‘A Prototype Myth World in Hallucination 1-9‘ in which he combines various symbols from different cultures to create a new mythology, but was a little disappointed I could not find a website for this work.

Camberwell MA Illustration Chris Kiesling

Gorgeous print techniques and shapes were found on Chris Kiesling’s monochromatic offerings.

Camberwell MA Illustration Alice Ferrow

I was taken by this, also monochrome, piece by Alice Ferrow whose work depicted folklore themes mostly in gouache.

Camberwell MA Illustration Hannah Prebble

And ending back in colour with these fun creatures by Hannah Prebble. I particularly enjoyed Hannah’s Tumblr site, which is a very lively and inspiring blog.

Photographs of images in the exhibition by Maria Papadimitriou; work images courtesy of graduates.

Categories ,Alice Ferrow, ,Armando Mesias, ,Augusta Akerman, ,Camberwell College of Art, ,Chris Kiesling, ,David Attenborough, ,David Surman, ,Degree Show, ,Eleanor Percival, ,Emily Nash, ,Evelyn Albrow, ,Fay Huo, ,Frida Kahlo, ,Graduate Show, ,Hammer Chen, ,Hannah Prebble, ,Hyojin Hwang, ,illustration, ,Jady Ong, ,Jamie Lang, ,June He, ,Linlin Cui, ,MA Graduate Show, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Marina Muun, ,Marja de Sanctis, ,Martina Paukova, ,Nina Schulze, ,Qianqian Zhang, ,Sean McSorley, ,Student summer shows, ,Sungyoon Jung

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Augusta Akerman: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Augusta Akerman 'a section of my first litho print'
Augusta Akerman is yes, you got it, yet another Camberwell College of Arts graduate. She contributes a painterly image to my colouring book inspired by a love of 50s modernism. Find her in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, available now on Kickstarter.

Augusta Akerman 'Couples and Technology'
I love the way you draw figures, which artists have inspired you? I think they look very Henry Moore-esue
Yes you are very right! I have always been very inspired by that particular period around 1950‘s modernism, Festival of Britain era, having been brought up on artists like Moore, Hepworth, Ravilious and Bawden. These were the artists my parents loved, so we were always going to galleries to see this kind of work. Every summer we go to Cornwall and St.Ives was and still is an annual pilgrimage to see Hepworth‘s studio and garden, I could probably draw it from memory. After finishing my MA I had been introduced to what I would call ‘Now Illustration‘ and I found myself constantly looking at contemporaries’ work and worrying about my style. Earlier this year I decided that I was just going to let myself be influenced by the painters, sculptors and designers I grew up loving and have found myself much happier with my work.

Augusta Akerman 'Swimming Against'
Why did you decide to move away from your first degree in fine art photography towards illustration?
Towards the end of my BA at Glasgow College of Art I was already starting to move away from photography. I was making small artist books with a combination of illustrations and photographs and enjoying putting them together, designing covers and hand binding them. I returned to London and worked as a photographers assistant all the while drawing at home in the evenings and weekends. I think this was a real time of discovery for me. I was so embarrassed about my drawing skills that I didn’t really show or tell anyone but kept hundreds of small A5 sketchbooks with random illustrations in. In the end I became more and more confident and illustration naturally took over. I also wasn’t particularly interested in digital photography as I enjoyed using film so I think cost and lack of regular access to a darkroom also contributed to me moving away from it. However I still take photographs, film and digital, who knows what will happen next.

Augusta Akerman 'Sea to Stone'
What did you do in the period between your BA and MA studies?
I worked as a Set Decorator in film and advertising. I fell into this career, starting as an art department assistant and gradually working my way up. It was a very enjoyable job most of the time but could be also be extremely intense and stressful. In the end the feeling that I wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted to do took over and I made the decision to do the MA. I was so frightened to leave that job, because in that world you spend years making contacts and working for little money in the hope of getting somewhere. I am very lucky to have made some good friends whilst working in film and still do the odd job here and there.

Augusta Akerman 'mono print portrait'
Why did you choose Camberwell for your MA?
I chose Camberwell because it was the nearest illustration course to my parent’s house! In order to do the MA I had to move back home and save as much as I could, and I could walk there in under half an hour. The MA represented a way to take a year off from film and see if Illustration could possibly be an option for me. I didn’t apply anywhere else so it was Camberwell or nothing. When meeting the head tutor Jan Woolley and visiting lecturer Chloe Cheese, I had an overwhelming feeling that this was it, I was very close to making a big change in my life, I would have cried my eyes out if they had said no!

Augusta Akerman 'Plastic Sea Soup' nominated for One to Watch
You have described your work as a combination of classic illustration and abstraction, what does this mean in practice?
This is because I think it sits between these two worlds, sometimes I can be quite real in my representation of animals and people, and at other times I just want to work with shapes and textures. I also tend to prefer work that takes a theme or idea and presents it not as a realistic depiction, but one that leaves room for the viewer to project their subconscious onto it.

I definitely think there is an influence of the classic in what I do as inspired by great artists like Tove Jansson and Pauline Baynes. But I aim to give a sense of modern movement and sculptural weight to some pieces by working with dark texture and light washes. I spent a long time being quite soft and delicate with my line and colour choices, so I’m enjoying this moment right now where I’m being braver using black crayons and ink to be more blocky and meshing them with the silky lace lines of water colour and gouache.

Augusta Akerman 'a section from the Great Migration'
What is your preferred way to approach a new piece of work when first starting to create it?
Depending on whether it is a personal project or a commission I tend to do things differently. However they both start the same way, with research. I love researching the subject and finding out different meanings or views or small snippets of information that can be included in the work to give a little extra detail that maybe only 2 percent will ever ‘get’ but will still interest others. I work either at my desk or sometimes in my dad’s studio. When at my desk I usually put on Radio 4 or a documentary on my computer that I listen to like a radio play, otherwise I get distracted by the images if I can see the screen! When in my dad’s studio I’m usually doing something a bit more messy like mono printing or lino, he tends to listen to the radio too or is working on the computer.

How do you combine pen with litho and other methods of production?
I always work by hand, first sketching in my sketchbook, then taking the images to another level of finish either by painting over them or developing them with mono printing or another print process until I like the way they look. I like the play between hand and digital imagery, computers are extremely useful when cleaning and adding colour to images but I sometimes feel I get overwhelmed by the possibilities. I think in this extremely accessible digital age it’s easy to put off the actual thinking of the development of a piece until it is staring you in the face with 100 layers in Photoshop. I find it hard to think clearly with the back lit white screen and feel more in control with a bit of paper in front of me.

Augusta Akerman 'Amelia's Colouring Book' for online interview RGB
What inspired your piece for my colouring book?
Whilst on holiday in Cornwall I had been drawing in my sketchbook, letting my hand and brain sort of automatic draw. I was not thinking about anything in particular but allowing what I had seen or heard that day come out onto the paper. I thought it looked like a diary in a pattern format. When I came back from holiday and thought about the colouring book I returned to the pattern idea and thought it might be nice for people to colour it in. I started automatic drawing again but this time I thought about all the themes I would like to explore in new projects and shapes and images I was interested in. I decided to create a seated figure drawing what would eventually become the wallpaper as I felt this developed the idea of a dreamy state of doodling, of letting your mind wander around your worries and dreams. The male figure was added later and I liked the idea of it also speaking about a relationship with another person who understands your dreams and helps you conquer your worries. They are both just quietly enjoying a moment supporting each other to make this big mural that charts all the ups and downs of creative making. It’s the most colourful piece I’ve made in a while so the brief did pull me out of my comfort zone a bit.

You recently took part in New Designers One Year On – how did you get involved and what project were you showcasing?
I applied to New Designers One Year On on a whim, because I wanted to be proactive to see if I could promote myself and my work in a professional situation. When I was selected I was very happy but also a little terrified as I knew there would be a lot of preparation and self promotion needed to really get the most out of it. I was showcasing the wallpapers and textiles I had made on my MA as well as newer designs and illustrations. I was very lucky to be surrounded by some amazing designers and illustrators and got a lot out of the experience. I had done Pulse earlier in the year with UAL and do think that in the future I might only do one design fair a year, not only due to cost but also due to the amount of energy you need to sustain that level of self promotion to justify it.

Why have you chosen subjects such as climate change for the basis of your designs?
I am very influenced by nature and the natural order of things and have developed a huge respect for the world around us. I am also a constant watcher of all of David Attenborough‘s programs which means I’m a little obsessed with life cycles and repeating patterns. During my MA I knew I wanted to work with pattern and create an illustrated collection of wallpapers and textiles. The life cycles seemed to be a perfect subject as they repeat over and over again. Climate change sneaked into the work, because of researching the migration of animals and reading about the effect climate change is having on their lives, habitats and evolution. For me this is an ongoing theme and subject, I wanted to introduce and present the many circular structures that exist around us in a beautiful and accessible way, as well as providing a piece of information that some may not already be aware of.

Augusta Akerman 'Botanical Institute Wallpaper'
How do you create DIY wallpaper?
There are many ways! I have recently taught a DIY wallpaper class at the South London Botanical Institute where we used craft foam stamps, lino, foam rollers, stencils and direct printing (covering leaves and flowers in paint and pressing onto paper) to create repeat imagery. If you have the time and the space you can buy a roll of lining paper from B&Q and create your own.

What does your residency at the London Print Studio encompass?
I have been working with Lithography, a process I’ve been wanting to explore in more detail for a long time. I love the quality and possibilities of this particular printing process, you can use a number of materials to make your image as well as scratching away layers in the drawing that gives an almost etching like quality. Lithography is a lengthy process which I think puts a lot of people off. I spent 3 and a half hours grinding my large stone to get it right. I have the blisters to prove it! But even this I really enjoyed, it feels quite ancient grinding and preparing the stone then working into it with litho crayons and tusche. You can get an extremely varied quality of line that is then perfectly replicated when printing, but each print is unique with minute changes due to ink placement and roller pressure. I just love it! Although I did find the printing the hardest part this time. I was working one Saturday printing the largest stone and realised I had no more strength left to turn the wheel on the press, thank god I had nearly run out of paper!

How do you hope to grow your fabric design and wallpaper business?
After the Homes and Gardens Fabric Awards, I felt encouraged to continue with my new collection of wallpapers. I have to admit I was starting to feel a little helpless, I had applied for funding to help build the business which I didn’t get and had thought I might need to put it on hold for a while. I am now working on the new collection and hope to have it done by March 2016. It’s very hard trying to start a side business when you’re looking for freelance work and working a part time job, but I enjoy constantly working and thinking up ideas for projects. This is what I wanted! This is why I gave up other careers; in order to be in charge of my own creativity.

Augusta Akerman contributes her work to Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, available now on Kickstarter. Make sure you grab a copy before the campaign closes later this month! Read a previous interview with Augusta here.

Categories ,#ameliasccc, ,Adult Coloring Book, ,Adult Colouring, ,Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, ,Augusta Akerman, ,Bawden, ,Camberwell College of Arts, ,Chloe Cheese, ,Climate Change, ,Colouring Book, ,Cornwall, ,David Attenborough, ,Festival of Britain, ,Glasgow College of Art, ,Hepworth, ,Homes and Gardens Fabric Awards, ,illustration, ,interview, ,Jan Woolley, ,Kickstarter, ,Lithography, ,ma, ,Moore, ,New Designers, ,One Year On, ,Pauline Baynes, ,photography, ,Pulse, ,Radio 4, ,Ravilious, ,Set Decorator, ,South London Botanical Institute, ,St.Ives, ,Tove Jansson, ,Wallpaper

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with The Magic Lantern

Still Corners by Nicholas Stevenson
Still Corners by Nicholas Stevenson
Still Corners by Nicholas Stevenson.

Still Corners are as elusive as they are beautiful, malady but I managed to track down songwriter and keyboardist Greg Hughes to answer a few finely tuned questions. Delve into the enigmatic Still Corners world…

Who are you?
We’re ghosts, viagra approved but if you close your eyes and listen carefully to the music you’ll find out who we are.
 
still corners by sandra contreras
Still Corners by Sandra Contreras.

You’ve managed to create an impressive amount of hype already… have you intentionally pursued press or has this just come about of it’s own accord? ?
We mostly keep our heads down working as hard as possible. However the press has been fantastic and we all feel very lucky and happy that people are enjoying the music and shows. It’s a wonderful feeling.

?Would you like to stay independent or you would you like to sign to a major label?
We’ve always been a DIY band and we don’t use producers – I record it all and we do all our own artwork. These are things that major labels usually like to have a say about and that probably wouldn’t work very well with our ethos.

You have said “Everything is handmade”  – what does this mean in practice?
That means that all our output is created by our little circle of friends. I have a little studio where I do the recordings, then we rope in friends and like minded artists to take photos and help with the artwork. It’s just that we have a very definite idea of everything, a vibe of how things should be. So it’s just easier to do it ourselves, to take what’s in our heads and make it a reality.

Your stage shows are characterised by a wash of deep colours that hides your faces… how did you decide upon this feel, and how important is the look and ambience of your performance? ?
We’re not actually trying to hide or anything, we just don’t think that what we’re doing on stage is all that critical to observe. We like to use projections because we think they are beautiful to watch and they bring more out of the music. Projections are best seen in the dark so we usually turn the lights down to create an atmosphere, maybe something you don’t always get in your typical smaller venue.

What is it that so appeals to you in the creation of such a woozy atmosphere?
?Whether recording or playing live we want to go off into another world, something we see in our heads and feel in our hearts. We want to make our audience feel something.

YouTube Preview Image

Wish is just beautiful. How was the video made??
Thank you. Lucy Dyson made that video for us – she came up with the idea and filmed it all on 16 mm film which lends a sort of dreamy washed out feeling to the visual quality of it.  We shot it all over 2 days on a nice summer stretch of green in London. 

What inspires the lyrics to your songs??
The English countryside, a sunset, a romance, films of yesteryear, a photograph, a painting, a story, lying in the grass watching the stars, the little moments of life.

What has been your gigging highlight of the year and why?
?We recently played in a castle in Berlin and in the most incredible opera house in Toulon in France. The people, places, and response was amazing – both definitely stand out moments for us.

Are there any other up and coming bands that you recommend that we check out?
A band we think are just magical are Twin Sister, and they are lovely people as well. 

?What are your plans for 2011? Can we expect to see you at any festivals?
We hope to have a single out with Sub Pop early this year and we’re working on a full record for release mid-next year so fingers crossed we’ll find a nice home for it!
Still Corners by Nicholas Stevenson
Still Corners by Nicholas Stevenson.

I discovered Still Corners when they supported Our Broken Garden late last year. The band are as elusive as they are beautiful, adiposity but I managed to track down songwriter and keyboardist Greg Hughes to answer a few finely tuned questions. Delve into the enigmatic Still Corners world…

Who are you?
We’re ghosts, visit web but if you close your eyes and listen carefully to the music you’ll find out who we are.
 
still corners by sandra contreras
Still Corners by Sandra Contreras.

You’ve managed to create an impressive amount of hype already… have you intentionally pursued press or has this just come about of it’s own accord? ?
We mostly keep our heads down working as hard as possible. However the press has been fantastic and we all feel very lucky and happy that people are enjoying the music and shows. It’s a wonderful feeling.

?Would you like to stay independent or you would you like to sign to a major label?
We’ve always been a DIY band and we don’t use producers – I record it all and we do all our own artwork. These are things that major labels usually like to have a say about and that probably wouldn’t work very well with our ethos.

Still Corners by Karina Yarv
Still Corners by Karina Yarv.

You have said “Everything is handmade”  – what does this mean in practice?
That means that all our output is created by our little circle of friends. I have a little studio where I do the recordings, then we rope in friends and like minded artists to take photos and help with the artwork. It’s just that we have a very definite idea of everything, a vibe of how things should be. So it’s just easier to do it ourselves, to take what’s in our heads and make it a reality.

Still Corners by Alison Day
Still Corners by Alison Day.

Your stage shows are characterised by a wash of deep colours that hides your faces… how did you decide upon this feel, and how important is the look and ambience of your performance? ?
We’re not actually trying to hide or anything, we just don’t think that what we’re doing on stage is all that critical to observe. We like to use projections because we think they are beautiful to watch and they bring more out of the music. Projections are best seen in the dark so we usually turn the lights down to create an atmosphere, maybe something you don’t always get in your typical smaller venue.

What is it that so appeals to you in the creation of such a woozy atmosphere?
?Whether recording or playing live we want to go off into another world, something we see in our heads and feel in our hearts. We want to make our audience feel something.

YouTube Preview Image

Wish is just beautiful. How was the video made??
Thank you. Lucy Dyson made that video for us – she came up with the idea and filmed it all on 16 mm film which lends a sort of dreamy washed out feeling to the visual quality of it.  We shot it all over 2 days on a nice summer stretch of green in London. 

What inspires the lyrics to your songs??
The English countryside, a sunset, a romance, films of yesteryear, a photograph, a painting, a story, lying in the grass watching the stars, the little moments of life.

Still Corners by Nicholas Stevenson
Still Corners by Nicholas Stevenson.

What has been your gigging highlight of the year and why?
?We recently played in a castle in Berlin and in the most incredible opera house in Toulon in France. The people, places, and response was amazing – both definitely stand out moments for us.

Are there any other up and coming bands that you recommend that we check out?
A band we think are just magical are Twin Sister, and they are lovely people as well. 

?What are your plans for 2011? Can we expect to see you at any festivals?
We hope to have a single out with Sub Pop early this year and we’re working on a full record for release mid-next year so fingers crossed we’ll find a nice home for it!
Still Corners by Nicholas Stevenson
Still Corners by Nicholas Stevenson.

I discovered Still Corners when they supported Our Broken Garden late last year. The band are as elusive as they are beautiful, what is ed but I managed to track down songwriter and keyboardist Greg Hughes to answer a few finely tuned questions. Delve into the enigmatic Still Corners world…

Who are you?
We’re ghosts, patient but if you close your eyes and listen carefully to the music you’ll find out who we are.
 
still corners by sandra contreras
Still Corners by Sandra Contreras.

You’ve managed to create an impressive amount of hype already… have you intentionally pursued press or has this just come about of it’s own accord? ?
We mostly keep our heads down working as hard as possible. However the press has been fantastic and we all feel very lucky and happy that people are enjoying the music and shows. It’s a wonderful feeling.

?Would you like to stay independent or you would you like to sign to a major label?
We’ve always been a DIY band and we don’t use producers – I record it all and we do all our own artwork. These are things that major labels usually like to have a say about and that probably wouldn’t work very well with our ethos.

Still Corners by Karina Yarv
Still Corners by Karina Yarv.

You have said “Everything is handmade”  – what does this mean in practice?
That means that all our output is created by our little circle of friends. I have a little studio where I do the recordings, page then we rope in friends and like minded artists to take photos and help with the artwork. It’s just that we have a very definite idea of everything, a vibe of how things should be. So it’s just easier to do it ourselves, to take what’s in our heads and make it a reality.

Still Corners by Alison Day
Still Corners by Alison Day.

Your stage shows are characterised by a wash of deep colours that hides your faces… how did you decide upon this feel, and how important is the look and ambience of your performance? ?
We’re not actually trying to hide or anything, we just don’t think that what we’re doing on stage is all that critical to observe. We like to use projections because we think they are beautiful to watch and they bring more out of the music. Projections are best seen in the dark so we usually turn the lights down to create an atmosphere, maybe something you don’t always get in your typical smaller venue.

What is it that so appeals to you in the creation of such a woozy atmosphere?
?Whether recording or playing live we want to go off into another world, something we see in our heads and feel in our hearts. We want to make our audience feel something.

YouTube Preview Image

Wish is just beautiful. How was the video made??
Thank you. Lucy Dyson made that video for us – she came up with the idea and filmed it all on 16 mm film which lends a sort of dreamy washed out feeling to the visual quality of it.  We shot it all over 2 days on a nice summer stretch of green in London. 

What inspires the lyrics to your songs??
The English countryside, a sunset, a romance, films of yesteryear, a photograph, a painting, a story, lying in the grass watching the stars, the little moments of life.

Still Corners by Nicholas Stevenson
Still Corners by Nicholas Stevenson.

What has been your gigging highlight of the year and why?
?We recently played in a castle in Berlin and in the most incredible opera house in Toulon in France. The people, places, and response was amazing – both definitely stand out moments for us.

Are there any other up and coming bands that you recommend that we check out?
A band we think are just magical are Twin Sister, and they are lovely people as well. 

?What are your plans for 2011? Can we expect to see you at any festivals?
We hope to have a single out with Sub Pop early this year and we’re working on a full record for release mid-next year so fingers crossed we’ll find a nice home for it!
The Magic Lantern by Darren Fletcher
The Magic Lantern by Darren Fletcher.

When Jamie Doe of The Magic Lantern contacted me about reviewing latest single Cut From Stone it was a no brainer to ask for an interview. The Magic Lantern are friends of Gabby Young and Other Animals, sildenafil but they’ve been busy forging a sound that is uniquely their own, so it’s time to get the low down…

Aside from having a great name, what else is special about The Magic Lantern?
The Magic Lantern: I’m glad you like the name for starters! Well, I guess what’s makes us special is the combination of different music that we meld into a sort of chamber music sound. Our other less musical claim to specialness is our group capacity to demolish chocolate during rehearsals – it’s scary!

Who are you all? And what are your other lives outside the band?
The Magic Lantern: Well there are five of us; Jamie Doe on vocals, Fred Thomas on percussion, Lucy Railton on cello, Dave Shulman on clarinets and Phil Stevenson on guitar. We all do quite different things outside of the band. Apart from Jamie everyone else works as professional musicians in different capacities. Lucy’s been playing a lot on tour with contemporary dancer Akram Khan. Fred plays in a number of bands from blues in Sister Mary and the Choir Boys to world music with Ladino singer Mor Kabasi. Dave plays a lot of klezmer music and in a great band called The Gadjo Club. Phil plays jazz and lots of Brazilian music and funk. Apart from music we’re all really into David Attenborough documentaries so they’ll always be on the tour bus or put on after a late rehearsal.

Magic Lantern by Andrea Peterson
The Magic Lantern by Andrea Peterson.

How did you get together and come up with your sound?
Jamie: Fred and I went to school together in Birmingham then Fred went to study music in London and I went to Bristol. I started writing songs in Bristol and when I finished studying I decided to move to London and try and put a band together. I hooked up with Fred who was playing a lot of jazz and he seemed to know all these super cool musicians so we just started hanging out and I moved into this house full of musos from different backgrounds and the band slowly took shape above a north london post office.
Phil: Musically a lot of us came from different backgrounds. Jamie’s a singer songwriter but listens to a lot of jazz. Dave plays a lot of klezmer and gypsy music so he’s got a really interesting clarinet sound. Both Fred and Lucy are really into contemporary classical music and chamber music and iIthink that’s been a huge influence on how the songs develop from simple folk songs into chamber group meets jazz improvisation sound. Myself, I’m really into funk and african music and I think I’ve brought that kind of groove to some of the tunes. So it’s a real melting pot and I think we just keep on getting better at making a really unique sound around these great tunes that Jamie writes.

YouTube Preview Image

What are the limited edition hand made copies of the single Cut From Stone like?
Jamie: Well when we decided to release the single ourselves, it gave us a lot more scope to think about exactly how we wanted the single to look and feel. We knew that for the hard copies would mainly be for fans who came to gigs so we wanted to make them something special. Also, now that everyone downloads music from the internet, iIthink it’s kind of important to fetishise the product, you know, get back to craft, to something that people want to hold in their hands and that they can see the work that’s obviously gone into it. For that reason we didn’t just want to go to a printer and get them done. Instead we decided to work with some friends of ours, Ollie Hamick and Nicky Peart, who designed some stamps and stencils.
Lucy: Each CD then had three individual stamps and a hand painted stencil along with a hand printed and folded insert. We only made 150 and we’ve only got 8 left so I think people liked them – but it took about a week to make them all! I don’t know what we’ll do for the album yet – I can’t bear to think of it right now… But it’s going to be fun.

How did you hook up with jazz vocalist Emilia? What was the process of working with her like?
Fred: Emilia’s a really good friend of ours from the jazz scene, and she’s an amazing singer. When we went into the studio we realised that there were a number of backing vocal parts that would be great to get a female voice on and we couldn’t really think of anyone better than Emilia. Working with her was a breeze, she’s a great musician and was able to come in and knock out an album’s worth of pitch perfect backing parts in a day.
Jamie: Around the corner from the studio we recorded in is this amazing Italian restaurant called Corelli’s – we took her for lunch there as a thank you!

Magic Lantern by Andrea Peterson
The Magic Lantern by Andrea Peterson.

What is the F-IRE Collective? can you tell us a bit more about it?
Dave: We joined the F-IRE collective last year through Fred our percussionist, who was invited to become a member. In essence, it’s a really diverse community of musicians from all sorts of different backgrounds from circus to electronica, free-improv to classical composition. The uniting factor is probably a real interest in rhythmic expression and in supporting creative music. It’s a pretty loose collective but everyone’s very supportive of each other.
Jamie: We’re also members of The Hectic Eclectic which is a group of musicians and songwriters who all met at one time or another in Birmingham. Now spread around the country we still get together and collaborate on different projects whenever we can. One of the main members, Triple Rosie, have just opened a cafe called Railroad in Hackney, which is awesome and where we’ve started putting some nights on.

Why has it taken so long to release your next single? What have you been up to?
Jamie: Well I guess it has taken a while. The thing is we recorded our album over the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 and then we had a bit an issue getting it mixed because we wanted our friend Leo Abrahams to do it but he’s pretty busy and wasn’t able to finish it all off until these last few months.
Phil: We took the decision that it was worth getting it done really properly and waiting and then releasing things when they were finished rather than rushing stuff out. It also worked out as Lucy was travelling quite a lot through the year playing with Akram Khan so we obviously wanted to wait until she was here before the release. The waiting has been really good though because we’ve had longer to work on our sound, write some new material, go on tour, play in Sweden with Little Dragon – all these things have really strengthened what we’re doing and how we do it. So I’m happy with where we are and all the exciting things that 2011 holds.

the magic lantern by karolina burdon
The Magic Lantern by Karolina Burdon.

What instruments do you play and how do you manage the swapping around when you are on stage?
The Magic Lantern
: Normally Jamie sings and sometimes plays acoustic guitar, Phil plays electric guitar and cavaco which is like a little Brazilian ukelele. Lucy plays cello, Dave plays a bass clarinet as well as a normal B flat clarinet and Fred normally plays a sort of percussion drum kit. The swapping kind of happens as a result of which songs need which vibes. Fred sometimes plays the guitar or cavaco and Phil is forever changing to different guitars and then having to change the tunings between them which takes quite a long time on stage. We’ve got a few songs where Dave has to change between clarinets and he’s pretty protective of them so that’s not always seamless. I guess the stages we normally play on aren’t exactly Wembley sized so we always seem impossibly squashed in and when we have to swap or change instruments between songs it can get pretty hairy. We haven’t had too many disasters yet but it certainly feels like a matter of time….

Plans for next year? Festivals, tours etc? where can we see you?
Fred: We’re pretty excited about next year. The album’s going to be coming out, probably in May followed by a UK tour. Maybe one day we’ll also get to do a soundtrack to a David Attenborough documentary!
Lucy: We’re doing a residency at the Green Note in Camden (ticket info here) through out January, February and March which is going to be great. We played there a few times last year and the atmosphere was amazing. It’s tiny, but when everyone’s crammed and listening its a special feeling.
Jamie: We’re also really excited to be playing at the Southbank Centre (more info here, it’s FREE) in February. I think we’ll probably play a few festivals in the summer; there’s nothing confirmed yet but probably Secret Garden Party, Green Man and a few others, we’ll have to wait and see!

Categories ,Akram Khan, ,Andrea Peterson, ,classical, ,Cut From Stone, ,Darren Fletcher, ,Dave Shulman, ,David Attenborough, ,F-IRE collective, ,Fred Thomas, ,Gabby Young and Other Animals, ,Green Man, ,Green Note, ,hackney, ,Jamie Doe, ,jazz, ,Karolina Burdon, ,Leo Abrahams, ,Little Dragon, ,Lucy Railton, ,Railroad, ,Residency, ,Secret Garden Party, ,Sister Mary and the Choir Boys, ,Southbank centre, ,The Gadjo Club, ,The Hectic Eclectic, ,The Magic Lantern, ,Triple Rosie

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