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.


Emma Arnold

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