Day 11. Non-violent direct action training with Extinction Rebellion Southwark

These #twitternotes were originally posted 23 September 2019 on Day 11 of fieldwork, travelling from Oslo to London. These tweets describe documenting taking Extinction Rebellion’s non-violent direct action training in South London. The thread can also be accessed on twitter.

1/ Day 11. London. Extended my stay in London a few days to squeeze in a few extra events before travelling onward. Was unsure how fieldwork would go but it’s been more magical and inspiring than I could have ever imagined. Letting go in life and work opens up many possibilities.

2/ Making my plans for the week. Have a number of lectures/meetings lined up. But one thing I REALLY want to do is #ExtinctionRebellion‘s #nonviolentdirectaction training in London. I’ve taken a 9 hour course in Oslo and I’m eager to learn how the training differs in the UK.

3/ Protesters are very highly trained. The #nonviolentdirectaction training prepares activists to get arrested but also grounds one in the theories and principles of #civildisobedience. It is an excellent way to learn one’s rights in public space and how to interact with police.

4/ Life seems more serendipitous than usual lately. Turns out I’m staying a few doors down from where my (presently) local #ExtinctionRebellion chapter is holding #nvda training this evening. The event was full but they’ve made a space for me. To be continued … Love and rage! 

5/ Best part of staying near Elephant and Castle? All the elephants, surely.

 

6/ Took the Thameslink to Farringdon and am now in Clerkenwell. Met some lovely, friendly architects at the Barbican #ArchitectureofEmergency event on architecture and the climate crisis. So, popping by their studio for a visit and a chat. First, a coffee!

7/ Just had a wonderful chat in the park with Cecilia Lindström from @StudioEgretWest  about the #climatecrisis and the role of architects, architecture, and urban design in an uncertain future. How can we build more sustainably and how can we design climate resilient cities?

8/ London, what’s with all the neighbourhoods? This is too much for an urban/cultural geographer who’s already pretty good at getting lost. Listening to Warren Zevon ‘Werewolves of London’ from the top of a double-decker bus. Trying to regain some spatial awareness.

9/ Time enough for a quick cup of tea and then a quick walk down the block for 4 hours of training in #nonviolentdirectaction. Note: it was the only decent cup for tea in the cupboard.

10/ Just completed #nvda non-violent direct action training with the London Southwark local group of #ExtinctionRebellion. I have a lot I’d like to say but my thoughts are a bit like fireflies at the moment. Bright sparks burning out quickly before I can catch them.

11/ Have had a crash course in authority the past 6 months just through taking photographs and believe that this type of training should be mandatory for all citizens. We should all know our rights if/when confronted by police AND we should know our rights to dissent and disrupt.

12/ In community halls, local libraries, living rooms and lofts in neighbourhoods across London, in cities all over people are coming together. Strangers. They are expressing their collective grief over the urgency of the climate crisis, over government inaction. They are mobilising.

13/ And I truly believe that this mobilising is not just about a global environmental crisis. This mobilisation is possible through deep disaffection with society, government, structures and systems that breed inequality. Inequalities that will surely deepen with climate breakdown.

 

Day 13. Somerset House and returning to Wood Green

These #twitternotes were originally posted 25 September 2019 on Day 13 of fieldwork in London. The thread can also be accessed on twitter.

1/ Day 13. London. Some subvertising on the way to King’s College to meet up with @eliasyassin_ for the lecture ‘Averting climate catastrophe: Extinction Rebellion, Business & People Power’ at the School of Law.

2/A delightful coffee break with fellow rebel geographer @eliasyassin_ at Somerset House, talking #ExtinctionRebellion, art and artivism, the city, politics, activism, the climate, the system, the police, etc. Love and rage! And cake, of course! #nottheusualsuspects

3/ These cards for sale at the Somerset House gift shop made me feel like a ‘beautiful relic of the past’ too. Doing #GIS with dozens of floppy disks while listening to The Bluetones on my walkman is probably something that actually happened. #slightreturn #90s

 

4/ Now back to Wood Green for my last few days in London before fieldwork continues … elsewhere. I’ve posted some red satin and excess books that were weighing down my little yellow suitcase back to Norway. The post office was surprisingly unpleasant.

5/ Don’t get to see train graffiti in Oslo so this was a treat to spot at Blackfriars while waiting for my train.

6/ Back at the social enterprise arts hotel in North London. Spoiled for fresh air, tranquility, and short commutes in Oslo so it’s good to experience something different even if it does take years off my life. I do really like this place. Good vibe + it’s been great for writing.

7/ Had an aha moment as I was approaching an escalator, juggling my luggage, cursing London Transport. And so after a nap deeply breathing in double-decker bus exhaust, I am sitting in the hotel common area with a giant bowl of ramen and trying to shake out my muddled thoughts.

8/ Or, was it an A-ha moment? #takeonme

9/ Wanted to share some impressions about this morning’s lecture on #ExtinctionRebellion by Neil Gunningham (professor, lawyer, social scientist, and #XR rebel!) at King’s College School of Law at the (very beautiful) Somerset House.

10/ Lecture is part of a series on Climate Law & Governance, which itself is quite interesting. Aswas said in the intro, the climate crisis requires ‘all hands on deck’ + the series is meant to prompt discussions around the role of, well, law and governance in the #climatecrisis.

11/ From café owners to architects to lawyers, seeing how different professions are manoeuvering to find their place in addressing the #climatecrisis has been an unexpected finding from my time in London. Perhaps an example of mobilising in a different way?

12/ A major takeaway from the lecture was the important role of governance, which is basically what #ExtinctionRebellion is all about. About governments telling the truth about the #climatecrisis and acting accordingly. And about finding new ways of governing, ‘beyond politics’.

13/ Unsurprisingly, I was most interested in the methodological aspects. About how to navigate being part of a movement/organisation like #ExtinctionRebellion and then also doing research/writing on it.

14/ I struggle with such methods on many levels: personal boundaries; legal repercussions; ethics; avoiding instrumentality. Visual methods add extra dimensions of risk for activists and the researcher. Also, mental health issues to consider when doing embodied fieldwork.

15/ To conclude (for now), Neil Gunningham has recently published a paper on environmental activism and Extinction Rebellion in the King’s Law Journal. Look forward to reading it once I have institutional access!

Day 14. Ally Pally and Heading for Extinction in Lewisham

These #twitternotes were originally posted 26 September 2019 on Day 14 of fieldwork in London. The thread can also be accessed on twitter.

1/ Day 14. London. There’s something special about stumbling into a hotel common area in leggings, a t-shirt, and flip-flops, no make-up and complete anonymity. To do a bit of writing. I may start wandering around hotel lobbies in Oslo to do more local writing retreats.

2/ Just interviewed by Roya Shahibzadeh from @Universitas_no, Norway’s largest student newspaper about flying less, flying shame, and my decision to travel by train to London. Thanks to someone at @sum_uio who suggested I be interviewed. Much appreciated!

3/ The question I had to think about was whether I am an environmental activist. I think what it means to be an environmental activist is changing. As an environmentalist, I try to align my actions with my values. But I think activism takes so many forms so, yeh, I guess I am!?

4/ “Place I’m staying at may be a bit rough around the edges, the bathrooms shared, the street-side rooms noisy/exhausty, but because it’s a creative space tailored to artists, there is such cool art. Like these stunning wool tapestries by Selby Hurst Inglefield. LOVE the titles.

 

5/ Stopped in the local @Oxfam shop in #WoodGreen in hopes to find something for the event I’ll be attending this evening. No luck but had a nice browse. My Mum used to work in an #Oxfam shop years ago in Guildford. I have such fond memories of these spaces. #secondhand

 

6/ While I do not miss Norwegian Air, I do miss Norwegian air. Air quality in London is not great. Am starting to feel it in my lungs. So, took a long walk through Alexandra Park. Was exactly what I needed. Love North London for the feeling of altitude, which I also miss from Oslo.

7/ Wandered around #AllyPally #AlexandraPalace. I like the blue and the lamps and the view of London.

8/ A long list of artists who have played #AlexandraPalace and a photograph from a Rolling Stones show 1967.

9/ And I saw some really interesting birds. I especially like the little moorhens and their adorable feet! #AlexandraPalace #AllyPally

10/ And this evening’s plan after an afternoon in the park? I’m in Lewisham with a fellow Norwegian rebel for the #HeadingforExtinction and what to do about it lecture. #ExtinctionRebellion

11/ There are many entry points into #XR and the #HeadingForExtinction lecture is one. About an hour and a half long, it is divided in two parts. 1. introduction to the science of the #climatecrisis and 2. discussion of what can be done about it (i.e. #civildisobedience).

12/ Have only ever seen this lecture in Norwegian so it was great to hear it in English. We discuss circles a lot in Oslo … no different in Lewisham! #ExtinctionRebellion is global, after all.

13/ We arrived too late for the block printing, sadly. This is a big part of #ExtinctionRebellion’s art culture.

14/ So surreal (+ great!) to meet up with a friend from Norway that I met through #nvda training. Best thing about #XR is all the sweet, gentle souls you meet. People trying to save the planet are generally quite nice. We got to ride at the back of the train, which was cool.

Day 26. Berlinblockieren: A day at the Siegessäule blockade

These #twitternotes were originally posted 08 October 2019 on Day 26 of fieldwork, travelling from Oslo to London. These tweets describe a day spent at Extinction Rebellion’s blockade of Siegessäule in Berlin. The thread can also be accessed on twitter.

Day 26. Berlin. Two sites have been occupied and held overnight in Berlin: at #PotsdamerPlatz and #Siegessäule. I hope to visit them both this morning. Meanwhile, here’s a piece from @guardian on how @ExtinctionR is changing climate culture.

2/ Weather may be on side of police today. Cold, dreary, wet. Though Nordic blockade at #Siegessäule has had breakfast and is dancing Lindyhop in the rain. Not sure I will arrive before arrests begin. Police have evicted #PotsdamerPlatz. #BerlinBlockade #BerlinBlockieren

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