Amelia’s Magazine | Uncivilisation 2011, The Dark Mountain Festival: Preview interview with Dougald Hine

Dark Mountain issue 2 cover by Rima Staines
Dark Mountain issue 2 cover by Rima Staines.

What have you been doing since the last Uncivilisation Festival? It’s been over a year and I presume you’ve been suitably busy…

Yes, viagra last year’s Uncivilisation does feel like a long time ago. I think it’s safe to say that neither Paul Kingsnorth nor I had ever imagined we’d find ourselves running a festival. It happened by accident. We were writers, we’d written a manifesto with the idea of starting a journal of stories and ideas — and then we got invited to use this venue in Llangollen for a weekend to bring together all these people for whom the manifesto meant something. It was an intense experience. (Read our post 2010 festival interview with Dougald Hine.)

Afterwards, we took some time out to reflect and decide what we wanted to do next. We started to hear from people who were running their own Dark Mountain events, which was very cool, and from bands who were releasing records inspired by the project. It’s a humbling experience, seeing other people respond to something you’ve written and take it to completely unexpected places, and do something beautiful with it.

cernunnos dougie strang
Cernunnos – from Dougie Strang’s Liminal.

We knew we were going to do another book. We had writers getting in touch who we’d really admired, people like David Abram and Naomi Klein, and new writers sending us amazing work that spoke from the middle of the chaos we’re living through, or from the wild places at the edges. And as Issue Two came together, we realised we had to do another festival. There’s only so far you can go in print, or online. Beyond a certain point, you need to create spaces for people to come together face to face, to have conversations, to laugh and cry and hold onto each other. So yes, Uncivilisation is back, another gathering of stories and ideas, performances and encounters.

mark-boyle at last year's Dark Mountain
Mark Boyle at last year’s Dark Mountain Festival.

What are your feelings about climate change thinking and activism at the moment in the UK and worldwide? And in terms of the other associated problems we face? A lot has changed since May 2010…

It feels like there’s a new conversation opening up, with a rawness and an honesty to it. I’m thinking of the piece Shaun Chamberlin wrote after Just Do It the film came out, and also of an article of George Monbiot‘s from a couple of months ago. You compare that to the debates we had with George in the first year or so of Dark Mountain, which feel pretty sterile to me in retrospect, and there’s a sense that even as the situation becomes more desperate, in many ways, people are reaching deeper into themselves.

ben law sustainability centre
The roundwood timber frame classroom at the Sustainability Centre built by Ben Law. Photo courtesy of Permaculture.

And meanwhile, I think it’s dawning on many more people just what a multi-layered mess we’re in. The entanglement between the ecological crisis and the social and economic unravelling of the world we grew up in. I’m struck by how fast history seems to be moving these days, how quickly the ground of “normality” is shifting. Even in mainstream politics, the fabric is wearing thin, the gap between the official version of reality and people’s lived experience becomes more obvious.

Dark Mountain huckleberry mockingbird
Huckleberry Mockingbird.

What will be different about this year’s festival?

It feels like we’re consciously approaching it as a journey that people go through. You arrive and you’ve left behind your everyday life, and you need permission to enter into this other kind of space, where it’s safe to feel things and have conversations you might not do with your colleagues or your friends back home. So the first night is full of magical performances, feral choirs and storytellers and lyrical boat-dwellers and music by lamplight.

Marmaduke-Dark Mountain
Marmaduke Dando.

Then the Saturday daytime is where we can have big conversations about the past and the future, going into the ways people have made life work and made life meaningful in difficult times. By the Saturday night, you need to let your hair down, so we’ve got some real party music with bands like Merry Hell. Then on Sunday, as you’re turning for home, there’s more space for sessions about practical projects building parallel infrastructure and ways of getting involved in things back in the day-to-day world that have an edge of deep resilience, that allow you to take back some of the meaning and perspective that Dark Mountain is hopefully making room for.

Sustainability Centre meadow

What special new speakers and activities are you particularly excited about and why?

Personally, I’m looking forward to Tom Hironsstorytelling on the Friday night, and the Collapsonomics panel on the Saturday morning. That’s going to be a group of speakers who have personal experience of living through economic and social crisis — in the USSR, in Ireland and Iceland. They’re also all people who have an inside understanding of how the systems we depend on work, financial systems, tech systems. I’m expecting to learn a lot from that conversation.

Life expectancy and financial equality
Graph to show life expectancy and financial equality, from Vinay Gupta’s website.

And there are a couple of people who really stood out last year, who I’m really delighted are coming back. Vinay Gupta, who I’ll be interviewing on the Saturday afternoon, who’s this extraordinary hybrid between a Scots engineer and an Indian mystic, talking about these deeply practical projects he develops for working in the aftermath of disasters, but also the roots of his ability to think clearly about this stuff in the tradition of the ‘kapilika’, ‘the bearers of the skull bowl’, constantly facing your own mortality. And Jay Griffiths, who was one of the most moving speakers last year, she’ll be back to talk about the songlines and dream-shrines of West Papua.

Sustainability centre

Why did you choose to host this year’s Uncivilisation Festival at the Sustainability Centre? How many people do you hope will attend?

One thing we learned from last year is that the festival is as much about the people you meet as the speakers or the bands you see. So we wanted a venue with lots of space for conversations, walks in the woods, gatherings around campfires. We’re expecting about three hundred people, this time. It’s important to us that it’s a human-scale event, that there’s chance for us to meet people and hang out with them.

Camping

The philosophy of Dark Mountain has been described as moody, poetic and a bit devoid of hope. How do you respond when people say this to you?

To be honest, I know this is an impression people sometimes have at second- or third-hand, but it’s not something I get asked much by people who’ve actually had any contact with us. If you check out the video of people at last year’s festival, ‘hope’ is actually one of the words that comes up when people try to describe what they’ve experienced.

Now, that might seem strange, given that the starting point for Dark Mountain is admitting how deep a mess we’re in — letting go of the fantasy that we can take control of this reeling world, which, for all the wonders of science, we only partly understand. But hope is a strange thing — it’s not the same as optimism, or having a plan. It’s an attitude, a way of being in the world, treating each other well and finding meaning, even in the dark times. Go back to the Greek myths, and the last thing out of Pandora’s Box, after all the evils of the world, is hope.

dark mountain get cape wear cape fly
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.

What’s next for the Dark Mountain Project?

We’re going to take some time out this autumn, before we come back and start working on the next book and the other plans we’ve been brewing. For me, it will be a time to weave some of the threads from Dark Mountain into the other things I’m working on — The University Project, where we’re creating new pockets and pathways for the cultivation of knowledge, and Space Makers, and the patchwork of other people and projects I’ve been stumbling across which share this search for what works and what makes life meaningful, when the future hasn’t turned out the way the grown-ups said it would.

See my full listing for Uncivilisation here. Anyone who is interested in positive ways that we can tackle multiple crises together should put the dates in the diary right now: 19th-21st August, and book those tickets now.

Categories ,Cernunnos, ,Collapsonomics, ,Dark Mountain, ,David Abram, ,Dougald Hine, ,Dougie Strang, ,ecology, ,Financial Crisis, ,George Monbiot, ,Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly., ,Huckleberry Mockingbird, ,Indian, ,Jay Griffiths, ,Just Do It, ,Liminal, ,Llangollen, ,Mark Boyle, ,Marmaduke, ,Marmaduke Dando, ,Merry Hell, ,Naomi Klein, ,Pandora’s Box, ,Paul Kingsnorth, ,Rima Staines, ,Scottish, ,Songlines, ,Space Makers, ,storytelling, ,sustainability, ,The University Project, ,Uncivilisation Festival, ,Vinay Gupta, ,West Papua

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Amelia’s Magazine | Uncivilisation 2011, The Dark Mountain Festival: Sunday Review

Sacred by Elizabeth Hudson
Sacred by Elizabeth Hudson.

On Sunday at Uncivilisation the main marquee was packed out for a discussion around where next for Dark Mountain, cheap both the festival and the movement. Dark Mountain was started by two writers as a literary endeavour and as it attracts many interested newcomers from different fields it is inevitably straining at the seams. Thus it was good that this conversation was held in the round, buy allowing many voices to be heard equally, contributing constructive and helpful suggestions.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

uncivilisation-jim-design
Uncivilisation by James Clarkson of Jim Design.

Founders Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth are happy to admit that they are two very fraught men, trying incredibly hard to maintain their core philosophies whilst struggling with the infrastructure and admin of Dark Mountain. ‘Basically we are two guys going broke and mad… with a few volunteers.’ Now they need to decide just how much they are willing to let go in order to allow Dark Mountain the space it needs to grow.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Sam Duckworth of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. who played on Friday evening.

Between festival goers there is conflict between how that should happen: it was clear that many would like to see more of a concrete movement for change, whilst others relish the looseness of a gathering that allows for new conversations and stories that may not find space elsewhere. For my part I think that any future Uncivilisation should allow for the exploration of emotional and physical ideas that may be nebulous to the intellect: giving a space for new ways of thinking to flourish.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
the visitors - rima staines
The Visitors by Rima Staines.

At this year’s event my friend Zoe Young held a sacred space in her Bright Valleys workshop. Those I met who attended this were very thankful, and I highly recommend that you read Zoe’s thoughts on the Dark Mountain experience in her excellent blog.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory. zoe young
Zoe Young with Chanterelles.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
I decided to instead attend an unscheduled talk from Simon Fairlie – author of Meat: A Benign Extravagance – on how veganism and the industrial livestock farming system are converging. He envisages a future where to be a vegan is to live as unsustainably and technologically removed from the land as those who eat mass factory farmed food products. I can easily believe it.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

I’ve heard Simon speak several times and his writings are always incredibly interesting: George Monbiot and many others listen to him because not only does he exercise his intellect but he also walks the walk: farming the land at Monkton Wyld Court to demonstrate his theories.

Dark mountains by Thomas Bird
Dark Mountains by Thomas Bird.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

I rounded up my time at Uncivilisation with a talk by John Mitchinson, a writer for QI and founder of Unbound, which is a new way to crowd fund books without going through the usual rigmarole of publishing. It was fascinating to hear from someone who used to work in mainstream publishing and intimately knows the problems facing the industry. Of course it was especially interesting to myself, as someone who has self-published and knows just how bloody hard it is to stay afloat.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Benny Wenda by Caroline Pratt
Benny Wenda by Caroline Pratt.

This unfortunately meant that I missed a talk from Benny Wenda and author Jay Griffiths, who spoke about the struggles of local peoples against corporations in West Papua. It was by all accounts incredibly moving.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

We finished Uncivilisation with a farewell folk song before everyone dispersed into the afternoon sunshine. The festival provided a great focal meeting point for like minded people; enabling me to reconnect with old friends and make new acquaintances. It also reminded me that there are many people, all over the world, who are tackling different but related ideas around life beyond collapse. And that we must continue reaching out to include more people from all parts of society in the discussions that we are having.

Uncivilisation Dark Mountain 2011 - Dougald Hine
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation Dark Mountain 2011  Paul Kingsnorth
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

As Alabaster Crippens says in his blog: ‘Nobody has many answers about what to do next apart from look after yourself, pay attention, listen to stories, tell your stories, and learn how to live with less.’ There is so much more to do but creating understandable narratives is undoubtedly at the heart of what the Dark Mountain movement can contribute. Although I say it with some trepidation I look forward to what the future brings.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
The Hexayurt, a cheaply built shelter for use in disaster zones.

Don’t forget to check in with Saturday’s review of Uncivilisation too! Musician Marmaduke Dando has also written an interesting blog.

Categories ,2011, ,Alabaster Crippens, ,Benny Wenda, ,Bright Valleys, ,Caroline Pratt, ,Crowd Funding, ,Dark Mountain, ,Dougald Hine, ,Elizabeth Hudson, ,George Monbiot, ,Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly., ,Hexayurt, ,James Clarkson, ,Jay Griffiths, ,Jim Design, ,John Mitchinson, ,Marmaduke Dando, ,Meat: A Benign Extravagance, ,Monkton Wyld Court, ,Paul Kingsnorth, ,publishing, ,QI, ,review, ,Rima Staines, ,Sam Duckworth, ,Simon Fairlie, ,stories, ,Thomas Bird, ,Unbound, ,Uncivilisation Festival, ,Veganism, ,West Papua, ,Zoe Young

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Amelia’s Magazine | Uncivilisation 2011, The Dark Mountain Festival: Sunday Review

Sacred by Elizabeth Hudson
Sacred by Elizabeth Hudson.

On Sunday at Uncivilisation the main marquee was packed out for a discussion around where next for Dark Mountain, cheap both the festival and the movement. Dark Mountain was started by two writers as a literary endeavour and as it attracts many interested newcomers from different fields it is inevitably straining at the seams. Thus it was good that this conversation was held in the round, buy allowing many voices to be heard equally, contributing constructive and helpful suggestions.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

uncivilisation-jim-design
Uncivilisation by James Clarkson of Jim Design.

Founders Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth are happy to admit that they are two very fraught men, trying incredibly hard to maintain their core philosophies whilst struggling with the infrastructure and admin of Dark Mountain. ‘Basically we are two guys going broke and mad… with a few volunteers.’ Now they need to decide just how much they are willing to let go in order to allow Dark Mountain the space it needs to grow.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Sam Duckworth of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. who played on Friday evening.

Between festival goers there is conflict between how that should happen: it was clear that many would like to see more of a concrete movement for change, whilst others relish the looseness of a gathering that allows for new conversations and stories that may not find space elsewhere. For my part I think that any future Uncivilisation should allow for the exploration of emotional and physical ideas that may be nebulous to the intellect: giving a space for new ways of thinking to flourish.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
the visitors - rima staines
The Visitors by Rima Staines.

At this year’s event my friend Zoe Young held a sacred space in her Bright Valleys workshop. Those I met who attended this were very thankful, and I highly recommend that you read Zoe’s thoughts on the Dark Mountain experience in her excellent blog.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory. zoe young
Zoe Young with Chanterelles.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
I decided to instead attend an unscheduled talk from Simon Fairlie – author of Meat: A Benign Extravagance – on how veganism and the industrial livestock farming system are converging. He envisages a future where to be a vegan is to live as unsustainably and technologically removed from the land as those who eat mass factory farmed food products. I can easily believe it.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

I’ve heard Simon speak several times and his writings are always incredibly interesting: George Monbiot and many others listen to him because not only does he exercise his intellect but he also walks the walk: farming the land at Monkton Wyld Court to demonstrate his theories.

Dark mountains by Thomas Bird
Dark Mountains by Thomas Bird.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

I rounded up my time at Uncivilisation with a talk by John Mitchinson, a writer for QI and founder of Unbound, which is a new way to crowd fund books without going through the usual rigmarole of publishing. It was fascinating to hear from someone who used to work in mainstream publishing and intimately knows the problems facing the industry. Of course it was especially interesting to myself, as someone who has self-published and knows just how bloody hard it is to stay afloat.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Benny Wenda by Caroline Pratt
Benny Wenda by Caroline Pratt.

This unfortunately meant that I missed a talk from Benny Wenda and author Jay Griffiths, who spoke about the struggles of local peoples against corporations in West Papua. It was by all accounts incredibly moving.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

We finished Uncivilisation with a farewell folk song before everyone dispersed into the afternoon sunshine. The festival provided a great focal meeting point for like minded people; enabling me to reconnect with old friends and make new acquaintances. It also reminded me that there are many people, all over the world, who are tackling different but related ideas around life beyond collapse. And that we must continue reaching out to include more people from all parts of society in the discussions that we are having.

Uncivilisation Dark Mountain 2011 - Dougald Hine
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Uncivilisation Dark Mountain 2011  Paul Kingsnorth
Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

As Alabaster Crippens says in his blog: ‘Nobody has many answers about what to do next apart from look after yourself, pay attention, listen to stories, tell your stories, and learn how to live with less.’ There is so much more to do but creating understandable narratives is undoubtedly at the heart of what the Dark Mountain movement can contribute. Although I say it with some trepidation I look forward to what the future brings.

Uncivilisation 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
The Hexayurt, a cheaply built shelter for use in disaster zones.

Don’t forget to check in with Saturday’s review of Uncivilisation too! Musician Marmaduke Dando has also written an interesting blog.

Categories ,2011, ,Alabaster Crippens, ,Benny Wenda, ,Bright Valleys, ,Caroline Pratt, ,Crowd Funding, ,Dark Mountain, ,Dougald Hine, ,Elizabeth Hudson, ,George Monbiot, ,Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly., ,Hexayurt, ,James Clarkson, ,Jay Griffiths, ,Jim Design, ,John Mitchinson, ,Marmaduke Dando, ,Meat: A Benign Extravagance, ,Monkton Wyld Court, ,Paul Kingsnorth, ,publishing, ,QI, ,review, ,Rima Staines, ,Sam Duckworth, ,Simon Fairlie, ,stories, ,Thomas Bird, ,Unbound, ,Uncivilisation Festival, ,Veganism, ,West Papua, ,Zoe Young

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Amelia’s Magazine | Earth Listings: Action!

You know those rainy afternoons when you sit indoors, dosage information pills flicking through the pages of any number of trashy magazines and getting suddenly, order inexplicably excited at the idea of fashion? Or, try more accurately, at the idea of brilliant style. It’s enough to make you want to plunge head first into the glossy pages and never return. That’s the effect it has on me, anyway. I trace my fingers around the outline of a beautiful silk bolero, sigh wistfully over the idea of a chunky knotted belt and a chiffon dress. ‘If only,’ I think ‘if only I could own all of these things, perhaps then my life would be complete’ (did I mention that I also have a mild tendency towards hyperbolic exaggeration?)

In the cold light of day, of course, I would not be more complete with these things, what I would actually be is more like everybody else. It is so rare that I find something that isn’t run-of-the-mill, that when I do I feel it my duty to shout about it from the rooftops. Only I heard rooftops were dangerous, so I decided to use Amelia’s blog instead.

Projects Design Wear is a perfect little gem nestled in the heart of Nottingham city centre among the style-seekers and just left of the cool kids. For years this little boutique has been charming all and it’s not just because of the effervescent mixture of clothing. Walking into Projects is like being folded into an enormous bear-hug by a large and much-loved Uncle. Their staff are friendly, remember who you are and are always on hand to personal-shop for you until one of you drops.

projects%203.jpg

Settled in amongst the dark wood furnishings and lashings of vibrant paint is a sartorial feast for men and women alike. The first floor houses menswear. If you like bright colours and bold statements, ask for House of Gods and !Solid t-shirts. If casual with a twist is more your style, then you’ll be happy to pore over the offerings from Raygun. And an absolute must is their selection of denim. Now, I’m not a man, but I know some, and I have been shopping with a few. I know how maddening guys find it searching for individual jeans. Made out of proper denim, and in proper denim washes, Projects’ selection is perfect for boys who don’t want a tag on their arse, but still want their togs durable and fashionable. What more could you ask?

projects%20jeans.jpg

Well, you could ask for another floor, laden with women’s clothing so pretty you could cry. Lovely changing rooms with real curtains (none of this fabric-not-quite-meeting-cubicle tosh) are waited on by lovely ladies. Stock ranges from cute cardigans to chic evening wear and takes in everything in between as well. There are printed t-shirts and slouchy knits from Numph and high-end gloss from Naughty (check out the black sheen dress). There are these things sitting happily alongside the sort of effortlessly elegant dresses that you always see on other people and can never actually find for yourself. I found them, and I am bequeathing them to you.

Not only this, but there is (be still my beating heart) a glorious range of jewellery. Not just any jewellery mind, but pieces from none other than her majesty; Vivienne Westwood. A rare find indeed among the usual gaggle of costume pieces, and a fine way to top an otherwise genius little store. Ladies must also be sure to check out the selection of men’s scarves downstairs. I have several, and I love them all, equally.

Projects
is not only a clothes shop, it is also a platform for new talent, happily selling for local designers, like Bantum (the I Love Notts t-shirts continue to fly of the shelves). It is this commitment to innovation and this willingness to give a leg-up to emerging new talent that has planted the shop firmly in the hard hearts of all of us Midlanders. I offer wild applause to Projects for its unique take on fashion and for delivering what we all secretly want: simple, affordable, wonderful clothes that not everybody else will have. And when recession looms, it’s ever-more important to invest in the interesting, independent places.

Images courtesy of Projects Design Wear
Have a greener Christmas!

Thursday 20th – Sunday 23rd November

side effects +Bargehouse+Street%E2%80%A8+South+Bank, malady +%E2%80%A8London, this +SE1+9PH&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=44.60973,74.794922&ie=UTF8&z=16″target=”_blank”>Bargehouse, ?Oxo Tower Wharf?, Bargehouse Street? South Bank, ?London, SE1 9PH

11am – 7pm
?Entry £1: Kids go free!

ethical_christmas_emporium1.jpg

Not feeling particularly Christmassy just yet? A visit to the Bargehouse this weekend may change all that…With three floors boasting over forty stalls, the Ethical Christmas Emporium will include the likes of Divine Chocolate, RSPB, Shared Earth, Zaytoun, The World Music Network, Malika, Jump 4 Timbuktu, Earthscan Publishing, Pants to Poverty, Planet Silver Chilli, Manumit and The Hemp Trading Company. The event will bring together the very best in Fairtrade, ethical, sustainable and environmental gift ideas around!

Enjoying this magical time of year can be wonderfully eco-friendly; Shopping here not only provides an escape from the busy high streets, but the secure knowledge that every stall is working under a Fairtrade ethos, making sure producers around the world all have something to celebrate this Christmas.
The atmosphere is lovely, and everyone seems to be smiling as the event opens on the Thursday. Discounts are available as many stalls have cut their prices specially for this event.

ethical_christmas_emporium2.jpg

Shopping is not the only thing on the agenda at this event, a local Youth Club Choir from Ghana will be entertaining the crowds via live satellite link-up. Kids entry is free and while there they can enjoy lots of specially created activities- Green Santa will be there too to spread some ethical Christmas joy! Grown ups will also be able to delight in food tasting, films, informative talks, music and much more…

The Ethical Christmas Emporium is being hosted by Hand Up Media , the ethical publishing & media company which promotes Fair Trade and ethical lifestyle issues in a positive, stylish and empowering way to consumers across the UK and beyond.

oxo%20tower%20wharf.jpg
The Oxo Tower Wharf

fairtrade%20copy.jpg

Monday 24th November
Anything that makes the art world seem a little more accessible is always nice, cure and an open-submission painting competition is one such an opportunity. The Marmite Prize for Painting is a biannual exhibition at Studio 1.1 in East London. Perhaps you’ve entered yourself, or you’d like to get a glance at some of the entries before the winners are selected. The exhibition opens today and runs until the end of the week.
monday1.jpg

Tuesday 25th November
There will be dancing, there will be porcelain deer skulls, and there will be bird houses, a hundred of them in fact. The Wapping Project, a Hydraulic Power Station turned multi-purpose exhibition space that now hosts an exploration on the social and cultural phenomenon of the British Season. Turning the Season will run until the 28th of February, and it’s free.


Wednesday 26th November

You know how there’s always a kid in a film who’s Lego creations far out-strip the usual tower blocks of most children, well James Johnson-Perkins was certainly one such child, “I spent my whole life building imaginary universes with children’s building blocks”. At EXHIBIT until the 28th of December, he presents his solo show, 50 Robots. Come and see what one man can do with 2,800 construction blocks. Free.
Wednesday.jpeg

Thursday 27th November
Starting today, a group show put together by Stella Dore begins in their new gallery space at 42 Rivington Street, featuring the artists on their roster. It’s between 6 and 9 pm, and it’s called ‘Make-Over”.
Thursday.jpg


Friday 28th November

The Guardian has named him “Britain’s greatest cultural asset”, and after some 12 years of “painting on the doll”, amongst many other things, there’s no end to the volume work to show for this artist/author/poet/film-maker/singer and guitarist, phew! If you haven’t guessed, we’re talking about Billy Childish. Heroes of the British Art Resistance runs until the 23rd of December at the Aquarium L-13.
Friday.jpg


Saturday 29th November

The You Me Bum Bum Train – like nothing you’ve experienced!
If you try to describe this to someone (which you shouldn’t, don’t give anything away), you will sound like you are drawing from memory a nonsensical and fantastical dream, not something remotely tangible that could have actually happened in a 25 minute journey through a Shorditch warehouse. Reality is turned upside down as you are wheeled (as the sole participant) through fifteen distinct interactive scenarios, where over 70 artists act out micro-performances, leaving you to get as involved as you much as feel compelled to. “Designed to mentally and visually astound”, check, “leaving you overwhelmed and exhilarated” check, and check, and finishing the ride “in a totally different emotional state from the one you were in when you embarked on the journey”, most definitely true. It’s fifteen pound price is money well spent, and it runs every Saturday until the 20th of December. Go!
Saturday.jpg


Sunday 30th November

Behind the Shutters – muTATE Britain
The Shutters were lifted this Thursday to the three story disused warehouse that is the largest non-corporate exhibition space in London. With Mutoid Waste taking the ground floor, I got my first whiff of nostalgia for muddy fields (Trash City at Glastonbury), a sentiment of bubbling creativity that runs through the entire event. It’s a multi-media circus, lots of interactive art, and it’s set to change every week through it’s lifespan. This weekend the theme is “Deface Value”, featuring the likes of Tracy Emin and David Cameron alike (yup, the Conservative leader). It opens Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 1.30 and 10 pm.
Sunday.jpg

‘The House of Books Has No Windows’, this site a touring exhibition by Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller kicked off at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh- now on at Modern Art Oxford– is an apt title for a show in this most literary of cities. The eponymous installation is a wendy house made from an array of books, this from novels to travel guides. Climbing inside feels safe, like entering a childhood den, and evocatively musty yet also claustrophobic and imposing.

The other six installations in the show see the pair entwine sound and movement. ‘The Dark Pool’, the couple’s first project together back in 1995, is a ramshackle room of seemingly disparate objects and speakers pouring out snatches of conversation. From this wellspring of vintage clothes, tattered books, old records, tea leaves and wax hands, a creeping sense of tension emanates; a pregnancy in the air as if something has happened or is about to. The pivot of the piece is a leather trunk, in which a scene has been constructed with miniature plastic model figures. They stand looking into a dark pool, a car lies abandoned while miniature lights twinkle overhead.

‘The Dark Pool’ anaesthetises you from looking for concrete connections between the objects and sounds in the room. Strands of meaning do coalesce and emerge, nudged along by snatches of conversation and the physical ephemera but, like an abstract poem, the whole hangs together without needing to be fully explained.

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The Killing Machine
Partly this stems from duo’s ability to make the viewer suspend disbelief. This is repeated, most devastatingly, in ‘The Killing Machine’ (2007); a Kafka-inspired, kitschly sinister torture chamber, where robotic arms move as elegantly as long-necked birds, prodding and poking a dentists chair covered in pink fur, all sound tracked by screeching electric guitars. Again this bizarre scenario hangs together completely. The audience (mostly…) seemed to accept it on its own terms, becoming compelled by a murky narrative that so easily could have just baffled.

The less successful installations are the more explained ones. The slide show ‘Road Trip’(2004) for example, rambles without the sense of magic or theatre of other scenarios.
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Opera for Small Room
One installation on its own justifies a visit. ‘Opera for a Small Room’(2008), a shed piled high with records and lights that synchronise to a chopped up soundtrack which covers everything from wolves howling to a full blown rock opera. It is the couple’s most recent work and sees them continue to generate the mysterious wonder that characterises the best of their earlier work.

Written by Priya Umachandran

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If you’re planning on going to any of these events, sales or have something you want to write an article about for the Earth Blog, email us at earth@ameliasmagazine.com!

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How Do We Get Back to Climate Safety?
27th November, 7pm, Friends Meeting House, Euston.
“No screaming, no panic, no doom, no gloom. Just a short and simple summary of the latest climate science followed by a discussion of what we’re going to do about it. “Climate Safety” warns that even our current policy response, a commitment to 80% carbon cuts by 2050, does not match up to the scale of the challenge. Join us to discuss finding a way to get beyond “politics-as-usual” and achieve a full, emergency response.”
The current state of our climate demands an exceptional degree of seriousness. The Climate Safety report reiterates that to maintain a safe climate we have to rapidly change our thinking and actions as a society.
The ‘Climate Safety’ report gives a simple summary of the latest science, delivering a clear message that to have any chance of maintaining a safe climate, we must rapidly decarbonise our society, preserve global sinks, and address the problem with an unprecedented degree of seriousness.
Speakers will be: Caroline Lucas, George Monbiot, Jeremy Leggett, Kevin Anderson, Leila Deen and Tim Helweg-Larsen; there to discuss finding a way to go beyond “politics-as-usual” and achieve a full, emergency response.
http://climatesafety.org/

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Protester on top of the e.on building

48hrs of Action Against E.ON
Friday 28th and Saturday 29th November 2008
By 2050, the UK Government hopes to have reduced carbon emissions by 80%…
Forty-two years is a long way off and Climate Camp want to act NOW against e.on and new coal! Join them in saying NO to new coal: get your friends together and plan an action for your area. Climate Camp suggest stickering, blockading, serving direct action warning notices at supply chain premises, organising awareness-raising talks, banners and much more! They need you to get creative on the streets and the options are endless!
http://climatecamp.org.uk/node/474

FRIDAY 28th NOVEMBER 2008

CONVENTRY
For a day of marching and festivities in the name of climate change meet at the piazza at 12pm. 1st stop: E.ON’s Headquarters (about a half hour march). Once there there’ll be loads going on including…a ‘Catch the Carbon’ competition, drumming workshop, and a visual show of the effects climate change is already having on our world.
For the facebook page click here
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=34220633837&ref=ts

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LONDON
E.ON vs. Greenwash Guerillas

8am-10am.
Meet up in Trafalgar Square at 8.00am to head down to E.ON’s
London office at 100 Pall Mall and show E.ON their greenwash won’t wash.
All inventive greenwash actions welcome!

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World Development Movement Kids Demo at E.ON
Friday 28th November 11.00am, 100 Pall Mall, near Trafalgar Square
As part of 48 hours of action against E.ON – the energy giant who are planning to build the UK’s first new coal-fired power station in 20 years, at Kingsnorth in Kent; WDM are inviting children along to say ‘E.ON, don’t destroy our future’ by making a giant banner of ‘carbon footprints’ to symbolise the future generations around the world whose lives and homes will be devastated by climate destruction. The emissions from Kingsnorth alone could result in 30,000 people becoming climate change refugees.
Joining activists across the country by taking action on this day, WDM will meet in Trafalgar Square at 10am for the children to add their footprints to the banner, then take our footprints to a ‘No new coal’ protest outside E.ON’s London offices in Pall Mall.
Please come along with your children and participate, and let E.ON know we won’t stand for any new climate-wrecking coal power stations, at Kingsnorth or anywhere else!

SATURDAY 29th NOVEMBER 2008

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LONDON
Stop Coal Sticker Rush

Keep the pressure up on E.ON by spreading the word and putting up some
E.ON F.OFF & Stop Coal stickers – you can get them from the Coal Hole
(91-92 Strand, WC2R 0DW) from 1pm-3pm on Saturday.

NORWICH
Spoof E.on Recruitment Stall

Go to RBS, 5 Queen Street, Norwich to ‘sign up’ to E.ON’s payroll!
Time – 12noon-2pm

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Stop Kingsnorth, Climate Camp Summer 2008

Climate Camp 2008
Meetings Every Tuesday
The London Climate Camp Group meet every Tuesday evening at 7pm, in association with the SOAS Green Society, at:
Room V301, Vernon Square Campus
School of Oriental and African Studies
Penton Rise
London WC1X 9EW
Nearest tube King’s Cross

http://www.climatecamp.org.uk/london

Also join the Climate Camp 08 weekly e-bulletin:
Send a blank email to climatecamp-london-bulletin-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
This is the best way to keep up to date on what’s going on in London with a single email a week!

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TREE PLANTING!
Blythe Hill Fields, Lewisham, London SE23
Sunday 30 November 2008, 11.00am
Friends of Blythe Hill Fields has been successful in their bid to the Tree Council for the financial support needed to increase the stock of trees in the Fields. This project involves planting 9 native trees.
Please wear clothing appropriate for the weather.
e-mail: secretarybhfug@btinternet.com
for more info please visit www.blythehillfields.org.uk

Categories ,Caroline Lucas, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Safety, ,E-On, ,Earth, ,Friends Meeting House, ,George Monbiot, ,Jeremy Leggatt, ,Kevin Anderson, ,Kingsnorth, ,Leila Deen, ,Listings, ,Tim Helweg-Larsen

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Jonny Gordon-Farleigh, editor of STIR magazine

STIR to Action book cover by Bec Young
STIR Vol.1 cover by Bec Young.

New magazine STIR carries the strap line ANGER. ANALYSIS. ACTION. For anyone disillusioned with the current state of affairs it’s a must read collection of articles, interviews and radio shows which question the direction in which our supposedly ‘civilised’ world is going. This weekend they take part in the Stoke Newington Literary Festival, chairing a discussion about ethical fashion at 12.30 on Sunday 9th June at the Town Hall.

STIR to Action book illustration by German Gullon
STIR to Action book illustration by German Gullon.

Find STIR to Action online and now in print, as a volume of collected writings and interviews about co-operative and community-orientated alternatives, all accompanied by imaginative illustrations (many of which have been created by artists that will be familiar to Amelia’s Magazine readers). I spoke with founding editor Jonny Gordon-Farleigh.

Food-Justice-STIR-to-Action-Book-illustration-by-Sarah-Jayne-Morris
Food Justice, illustration by Sarah Jayne-Morris.

Stir has made the leap from online to printed publication: first as the book, STIR Vol.1 and now as a print version of the magazine. What prompted the move and what has the journey to print been like? A steep learning curve?
I think all platforms – both online and offline – are really important and we are still publishing online but also as a quarterly print magazine. I think we need to use different platforms strategically and so I’m not going to say one is more important than the other. It’s obviously very difficult to publish time-sensitive articles in a quarterly magazine that only appears every three months. I like to think of our quarterly magazine as slow news – issues that need time to be properly analysed and understood and to also give space to develop potential alternatives. On the other hand, if a campaign group wants to publish a piece about an event or mobilisation next week then I will publish on the online blog and distribute via social media. We are also looking into publishing a small free paper with selected content from the online blog and print issue so it can reach places that don’t sell magazines, such as social enterprise co-working spaces. It has actually been a well-paced launch into print from building an online readership to building an offline community through events. I needed to know and felt we had the support before launching into print.

STIR to Action Book illustration by Alex Charnley
STIR illustration by Alex Charnley.

Was crowd funding easy to do? What have been the highs and lows of taking this route to publication? 
Crowdfunding was an interesting process for so many reasons. Firstly, crowdfunding allows us to fund projects without appealing to wealthly individuals – philanthropists – and also avoids the restrictions and conditions of grant-making bodies. Also, it creates an international community of co-creators and contributors for your project: Those who couldn’t contribute financially, offered their skills as graphic designers and artists. We even launched the book at The Firebox because a campaign group (Counterfire) couldn’t give us money as they were fundraising themselves, but did have an amazing event space in Kings Cross. Crowdfunding also allows you to self-publish and this gives you control over the creative process. The biggest problem with self-publishing is distribution and this is something we need to seriously address. The publishing industry had a monopoly on this before the emergence of the internet but anyone will tell you that it’s still really difficult to distribute your own work. (Hell yeah! – Amelia) So finding ways of distributing the funded book was certainly challenging.

STIR to Action book illustration Wizard of Oz by Edd Baldry
Wizard of Oz, STIR illustration by Edd Baldry.

How did you find the contributing illustrators, and what was the process of their contribution?
I had worked with a few of the contributing illustrators before – Edd Baldry and India Rose Harvey — and also knew a few from other publications like the Occupied Times (Alex Charnley). However, Twitter was very helpful in finding new illustrators (thanks for the tweet Amelia!!) and I would have to say most of them enthusiastically responded to a call-out on Twitter. The creative process was largely asking them to respond to the an article. We would then talk about the ideas and see what could work to represent the piece. Every artist is different and that’s what makes it so interesting.

STIR to Action Book illustration by India Rose Harvey
STIR illustration by India Rose Harvey.

How did you decide on the content of STIR Vol.1? Who contributed and what have they written about?
The content for STIR Vol.1 was selected from two years’ worth of online publishing at www.stirtoaction.com and we chose the articles and interviews that really showcased the emerging community-led and co-operative alternatives in our food and finance systems. We then invited 10 artists to contribute original pieces of art for the printed publication (see above).

We had a whole range of contributors including an economist, David Boyle, from the New Economics Foundation who wrote about the disconnect between wealth and money and how we need to design and scale-up alternative forms of exchange such as local currencies. The philosopher and Defend the Right to Protest activist Nina Power analysed the London Riots of 2011 with a review of a new book that was published on the events. I also published a piece by Guppi Bola and Bethan Graham about food justice, why the food system is broken and what creative communities around London are doing to change it for the better. We also featured the story of the Real Food store in Exeter that came out of Transition Exeter and was funded through a community share scheme, as a look at the rise of new social enterprises. The founders of Co-opoly – the boardgame of co-operatives – wrote about their new creation and how Monopoly was originally created during the New Deal era in America to teach tenants how to deal with bad landlords.

STIR to Action Book illustration by Alicja Falgowska
STIR illustration by Alicja Falgowska.

Anger is a cornerstone of your creation, which is somewhat at odds with the positivity of the Transition Network, of which you are part. Why do you think it’s important to find an outlet for anger?
It’s an interesting question and I definitely think there is a case for anger. There is something almost admirable about the Transition Network’s early decision not to engage with what might be called antagonistic campaigns, but there has definitely been a significant shift recently — the ‘No’ campaign to Costa Coffee in Totnes was fully supported by Transition Town Totnes. Also, I think it’s important to say that ‘No’ campaigns are far more effective and likely to succeed if they are part of a positive effort – like the initiatives that make up the Transition Network.

Also, insisting on always being positive is problematic as it can become as counterproductive as being the constant bearer of bad news, an argument that Smartmeme – a creative campaign agency – make in STIR Vol.1. So I think it’s philosophically shallow to see anger as a deformative emotion, if it’s part of a campaign for change it can have a reformative effect. Anger without new political options can be dangerous and that’s why the positive work of the Transition Network is really important. It’s worth saying that anger only transforms into cynicism when we accept the false political choices we are given and give up on alternatives.

STIR magazine issue 01 2013
STIR magazine issue 01 2013.

Another point to make is that as the Transition Network scales-up and mainstreams itself, it will have to challenge the current distribution of resources and space. It is not good enough to say that you won’t shop at a multinational supermarket, when they are draining resources and space from the communities, distorting business rates, and making it far more difficult for community-owned shops to establish themselves.

This can also be explained by an interview with George Monbiot about land inequality and how UK land prices have gone up 10-12% in the last few years. The land buyers, in this instance, are city bankers who are using their bonuses to invest in land. This has made it ten times more difficult to use the land for alternative purposes, such as land co-operatives and community farms. We need to be angry about this and find ways of challenging land inequality and access if we going to be able to do the positive work that the Transition Network promotes.

On top of this, while the aspiration to generate your own energy is something we all should be pursuing, we also need to insist – through protest, direct action and lobbying — that the fossil fuel industries keep it in the ground. All of that positivity will be irrelevant if these industries are not disrupted by public action. Lastly, I’m very suspicious of categorising activists. It suggests that there is one kind of person who will do the negative work, such as lying on airport runways or occupying power stations, and then on the other side you have the people who do all the positive activity like community gardens and upcycling workshops. I think we have the capacity to do both but should always remember to do it for the fun of it!

Will there be a STIR Vol.2? If so what can we expect from it?
As we’ve launched a quarterly magazine, the STIR volumes will most likely be bi-annual. We publish so many unpredictable stories I couldn’t really say!

Where can people get hold of the publication?
We sell STIR Vol.1 in our online shop here, and readers can sign up for a subscription for the quarterly magazine here. Our quarterly magazine – STIR – is being sold in 30 shops across the UK (find stockists here) and we have just started working with an ethical distributor – INK – so potentially lots more in the near future. You can buy the first issue of our new magazine with this Amelia’s Magazine Special Discount offer: click here for 25% off cover price and free P&P (£2.95).

What are your hopes for 2013?
It would have to be to continue to collaborate with more social enterprises and co-ops in working towards bringing the ideas in the magazine into our communities.

Categories ,Alex Charnley, ,Alicja Falgowska, ,Bec Young, ,Bethan Graham, ,Co-opoly, ,Counterfire, ,Crowdfunding, ,David Boyle, ,Defend the Right to Protest, ,Edd Baldry, ,George Monbiot, ,German Gullon, ,Guppi Bola, ,India Rose Harvey, ,INK, ,Jonny Gordon-Farleigh, ,Kings Cross, ,London Riots, ,New Economics Foundation, ,Nina Power, ,Occupied Times, ,Real Food, ,Sarah Jayne Morris, ,Smartmeme, ,STIR, ,STIR to Action, ,STIR Vol.1, ,Stoke Newington Literary Festival, ,The Firebox, ,Totnes, ,Town Hall, ,Transition Exeter, ,Transition network, ,Transition Town Totnes, ,twitter

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