Amelia’s Magazine | Stopping Heathrow’s third runway – through poetry

003_1Rick the punk poet does his thing

Being a wee bit literary, I have a penchant for poetry, check so it was with some expectation and enthusiasm I went along to the Poetry Night at Coffee And Corks coffee shop in Canterbury last night.

This poetry night is a weekly affair, drug held every Tuesday evening, but last night’s was different, in that it was being held in conjunction with the Airplot initiative. What’s Airplot, I hear you all clamour? Well, it’s a project that’s been dreamt up by Greenpeace to help stop the building of the third runway at Heathrow Airport – put simply, the NGO and a group of celebrities have bought a plot of land that is slap-bang in the middle of the proposed runway site. Members of the public can buy a share in the plot and therefore become a ‘beneficiary owner’ of the land.

002_1Coffee And Corks: it doesn’t just do coffee, there’s alcohol too – now that’s the stuff

As such, the evening was kicked off with an introduction from Greenpeace’s John Hallyday. “Climate change is having – and will continue to have – a massive effect on our species and every other species on the planet,” he said. “If we allow the third runway to be built at Heathrow, the UK won’t meet its greenhouse gas targets set last year. Plus, 500 people’s homes will be demolished in the village of Sipson, which stands in the way of the proposed site.”

After giving a plug to Canterbury’s upcoming Climate Fair, John’s final words were borrowed from the beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, as he read a poem written by the latter while aboard a Greenpeace ship chasing whalers on the high seas. It’s fair to say it set a good vibe for the night to come. And it was immediately followed by the handing out of cards that those in attendance (poet participants, listeners or those just enjoying a coffee; all were welcome) could fill in for a prize – three hours’ free recording time at Canterbury’s West Track Studios. Not missing a trick (and why should they?), the organisers also ensured that by filling in a card and entering the raffle you also signed up to the Airplot campaign.

And so to the evening’s poetry itself. To say that there was great variety in what the poets – many regulars, some new – performed would be an understatement; to say that some of it was risqué and rather personal would be a vast understatement. However, I must admit, the vast majority of the poems impressed me, as did the pluck many of their authors had to stand up in front of people (some of whom, like I said, had only come in to sip a late latte) and deliver their thoughts, feelings, wit and wisdom through verse. I must give special mention to the middle-aged Adrian, whose ‘The Web Of Life’ was a lyrical, eco-friendly missive, and Rick, a self-proclaimed coffee-shop-culture-punk resplendent in a Mr Happy t-shirt, whose delivery owed much to the beat poets of old and whose entertainment value was only equalled by the title of his final poem, ‘Don’t Eat Dodgy Food In Foreign Countries’.


What a fine sentiment – especially in a coffee shop

All in all then, this was a great evening that hopefully drew attention to and created new converts to Airplot, as well as highlighting the good work of the Skillnet Group Community Interest Company in the Canterbury community, in conjunction with West Track Studios. I tip my hat – or rather my beat poet’s cap – then to the organisers, in particular Helen Long who it was that brought Greenpeace, West Track Studios and Skillnet all together on this chilly evening in a caffeine-fuelled fun-filled event.

Categories ,Adam Bollard, ,Airplot, ,Coffee And Corks, ,Greenpeace, ,Heathrow third runway, ,West Track Studios

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Amelia’s Magazine | Review: London College of Communication Green Week, 6th-10th February 2012

LCC Green Week 'Urban Farming Installation' by Deborah Moon

Urban Farming Installation by second year Interaction & Moving Image students as part of LCC Green Week illustrated by Deborah Moon

Within an atmosphere of playfulness and improvisation the London College of Communication organised a Green Week between the 6th and 10th of February – part of the nation wide People and Planet Green Week. It was packed with workshops, pop-up installations, film screenings and talks aiming to encourage students to share ideas for improving sustainability in their creative practice and at home. Under the motivational general title ‘You Can Make a Difference‘ the week explored the themes of ‘found’, ‘upcycle’, ‘change’, ‘waste’ and ‘activism’. Every day of the week the upper galleries of the college hosted both student led initiatives and the work of invited creatives.

LCC Green Week Sarah Bagner from Supermarket Sarah with plastic bags quilt photo by Maria Papadimitriou

As the designer of Plastic Seconds – a jewellery line that uses recycled plastic and other found materials – I was invited by Sarah Bagner from Supermarket Sarah to make a wall on the first day of the event and talk to the students about the usage of ‘rubbish’ we do not often think to use anew in design… Sarah, even though still jet-lagged from a trip to Tokyo photographing local ‘walls’ for her upcoming book, played a major part in the event making installations and collaborating with the students throughout. On the third day of the week she teamed up with Tiziana Callari and created a quilt made out of discarded plastic bags – seen above.

Supermarket Sarah for London College of Communication Green Week by Jo Ley

Supermarket Sarah for London College of Communication’s Green Week by Jo Ley

Plastic Seconds wall installation at LCC green week photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Plastic Seconds display

LCC Green Week Skip Sisters

Sarah Bagner had also invited the super fun Skip SistersJulia Burnett, Edori Fertig, Liz Honeybone, Pia Randall-Goddard and Helen Turner who search the skips of South London for raw materilas and then turn them into sculptural objects, clocks, jewellery and textiles. Apart from the installation above the Skip Sisters also rummaged through the college’s printing studios for discarded paper which they transformed into beads for jewellery making.

LCC Green Week Veja Shoes photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Veja was another sustainable brand Sarah Bagner had invited to the event.

LCC Green Week Face Shields by Jody Boehnert at EcoLabs

Some of the most striking – and possibly emotionally charged – objects on show were these ‘Face Shields‘ from Climate Camp 2007, designed by Jody Boehnert at EcoLabs, which were used as part of a mass action at Heathrow against the proposed third runway.

'Face Shields' Time2Act Climate Camp 2007 Green Week LCC by Lizzy Holbrook

Face Shields by Lizzy Holbrook

Wooden Objects by Gregor Garber LCC Green Weekphoto by Maria Papadimitriou

I was quite taken by these really well made and well presented reclaimed wood toy kits made by the college’s 3D technician Gregor Garber, who salvages good quality wood from shelving or broken easels. He thinks it a shame that maquettes by interior design students can look rather samey because of the standard materials they use, so during his workshops he encourages students to use all sorts of more interesting and varied looking reclaimed materials – as in the examples below.

reclaimed wood interior design models by Gregor Garber LCC green week photo by Maria Papadimitriou

LCC Green Week pop-up bicycle powered cinema by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly The Eggs

LCC Green Week pop-up bicycle powered cinema by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly The Eggs

The collective Magnificent Revolution brought into the college their bicycle powered cinema!

London College of Communication Takeaway LCC Green Week photo by Maria Papadimitriou

During my visit on the last day of the events I was happy to see LCC students’ Azra Bhagat and Laura Carless ‘Green Takeaway’ stall where they displayed tons of reclaimed takeaway coffee cups – along with these ceramic mugs and glasses – which they had turned into tiny city flower pots by adding seeds.

LCC Green Week Furniture Upcycling 1 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Also on the last day unused and ignored furniture from around the college was given pretty make-overs by the students and the resulting pieces will be auctioned on the Supermarket Sarah website!

Book Swishing at LCC Green Week photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Throughout the week there was a book swishing point, accompannied by this lovely hanging books display, where students could bring a book in and take one away.

LCC Green Week 'my apple is jetlagged' wall painting photo by Maria Papadimitriou

In terms of more student led events this wall painting highlighting the issue of food miles was created by a team of them as the week unfolded.

Other highlights were Garudio Studiage creating a ‘Lucky Skip’ interactive installation where all those unattractive Christmas presents could be put to good use or passed on to someone else, and Food for Good, an initiative by three graphic and media design students who pick up left over food from restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets and trasnport it to charities. Finally there was a lot of extra cycling related activity in the middlele of the week, which I unfortunately missed, including letterpress artist, poet and cyclist Dennis Gould exhibiting his work as featured in Boneshaker Magazine and talking about his love of cycling.

All photography by Maria Papadimitriou.
Skip Sisters photo by London College of Communication.

Categories ,activism, ,bicycle powered cinema, ,books, ,Charities, ,cinema, ,Climate Activism, ,Climate Camp, ,Deborah Moon, ,ecolabs, ,Film Screening, ,Food for Good, ,Food Miles, ,Found, ,Furniture, ,Garudio Studiage, ,Green Week, ,Gregor Garber, ,Heathrow Airport, ,Heathrow third runway, ,installation, ,Interior Design, ,Jet-Lagged, ,jewellery, ,Jo Ley, ,Jody Boehnert, ,LCC, ,Leftovers, ,Lizzy Holbrook, ,London College of Communication, ,Magnificent Revolution, ,Maquettes, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,painting, ,people and planet, ,People and Planet Week, ,plastic bags, ,Plastic Seconds, ,recycling, ,Sarah Bagner, ,Skip Siters, ,Slowly the Eggs, ,Supermarket Sarah, ,Swishing, ,talks, ,Tiziana Callari, ,Toys, ,Upcycling, ,Urban Farming, ,Veja, ,Walls, ,Waste, ,wood, ,workshops

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