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!

Emma Arnold