Day 9: Blockade of Dover Port by Extinction Rebellion

These #twitternotes were originally posted 21 September 2019 on Day 9 of fieldwork. These tweets describe the Dover Blockade, Extinction Rebellion’s blockade of the Dover Port to raise awareness of food (in)security in a changing climate. The thread can also be accessed on twitter. And one of these tweets was picked up by The Guardian.

1/ Day 9. London. A very sleepy good morning from Southwark. Somewhere around Elephant & Castle. These beautiful small apartment blocks are eclipsed by more recent large-scale development and are like little brick islands in a sea of a glass and traffic junctions. #LAXLAB

2/ On my walk from my apartment to the tube this morning. #aestheticpolitics #urbanaestheticpolitics #ExtinctionRebellion

3/ Have slept 6 hours or less each night so far on my travels and I’m starting to slow down a bit. Intense photographic fieldwork is exhausting! I missed the train I hoped to get so I am enjoying a moment of détente and some coffee before the next one. Also, a bit of reading …

4/ Where to?, you ask. To the seaside, of course. For a blockade.

5/ So beautiful. Bits of white chalk peaking through. Approaching Dover.

6/ In Dover. It is the most gorgeous autumn day. The perfect birthday weather. I have zero clue where I am going. Must be on the right track as I’ve just passed a bunch of #ExtinctionRebelion [sic] posters. Worst case, I have a picnic on the beach.

7/ Well then, definitely in the right place as I have just been issued a Section 14 breach of public order warning by police. Just for walking with my camera. If I leave the designated area, I can be arrested. #ExtinctionRebellion #Dover #Blockade

8/ I’m in the designated area, an encampment overlooking the sea. Lots of police, given that this is a blockade of a major port. It’s difficult to know what’s happening at the blockade which is some distance away. Arrests highly likely. #ExtinctionRebellion #XR #DoverBlockade

9/ Red rebels, white cliffs. #ExtinctionRebellion #climatecrisis #nofoodonadyingplanet #foodsecurity #DoverBlockade

10/ A beautiful silent performance by #ExtinctionRebellion‘s #RedRebelBrigade as transport trucks move past the #whitecliffsofdover. #DoverBlockade #foodsecurity #climatecrisis

11/ Do not take all the beautiful pebbles, Emma. Also: I should have been born by the sea.

12/ A delicate balancing act between respecting those being disrupted and those doing the disrupting, says Kent Police.

13/ Sometimes good to take a peaceful moment and get your feet wet. I would have gone for a swim. The sea is actually warmer than the Oslo Fjord!

14/ No Brexit on a dead planet. #ExtinctionRebellion #DoverBlockade #Brexit

15/ The sound of the sea and a live band playing ‘Knocking on heaven’s door’ and the silence of the #RedRebelBrigade in their final action of the day. Very powerful performance.  #ExtinctionRebellion #DoverBlockade #Dover #Kent
16/ My introversion kicked in today and didn’t talk to anyone much. Instead had a peaceful day observing, making art (took many photos). Lay on the beach, got some sun and sea air. Missing my Norwegian rebels but had a really inspiring day, a little wiser maybe, more relaxed surely.
17/ I love the palette of Dover: the white cliffs, the flint pebbles, the colour of the water and algae against concrete, dusty green shrubs. #Dover #Kent 
18/ Well, I’m mentioned in The Guardian on my birthday. So thanks @guardian for the most excellent gift. More importantly, thank you tp [sic] @ExtinctionR #XRDover + the rebels who did get arrested during #DoverBlockade to raise awareness on food security + climate.
19/ Thank you to all #ExtinctionRebellion activists present at #DoverBlockade today. I felt like more of a bystander but was so impressed by the atmosphere, organisation, the amazing performances by the #RedRebelBrigade, and a very peaceful protest. Dover rebels are awesome!

20/ Also, thank you very much to Mary from Ramsgate who generously gave me 20p for the washroom AND bought me a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone. I’ll pay the kindness forward. #kindnessofrebel

Day 10: Rest day in South London

These #twitternotes were originally posted 22 September 2019 on Day 10 of fieldwork in London. These tweets describe my much needed rest day in South London. The thread can also be accessed on twitter.

1/  Day 10. London. Followed the smell of breakfast down the street and into The Electric Elephant Café. About all I have the energy for is to read my brochure on the pebbles of Dover beach. I am not being facetious, it is excellent. I have already identified all of my pebbles.


2/ Peter Gabriel’s ‘Games without frontiers’ is playing over a backdrop of sizzles and the café owner + cooks are discussing the climate strike. Because of the strike, the owner has decided to go vegetarian. A full vegetarian English breakfast is ridiculous. This is food for a day.

3/ Off for a wander. The area around Elephant & Castle is such a fascinating mix of architecture and atmospheres. Phone away for a bit, going to explore.

4/ After a long meandering walk around the neighbourhood in daylight, I realised that I have been here before. And I have been to The Electric Elephant Café before. My good friends used to live the next street over + I stayed with them. #visualmemory #serendipity #kennington

5/ Had very restful day in South London. A morning walk through soft rain and soft sounds, collecting textures and palettes. A Sunday afternoon nap, a cup of tea, and a little writing in bed as inspiration struck.

6/ I would move to the UK for the gardens alone. I love all the colours and disarray of autumn gardens, full of splayed open seed pods and pale hues of crispy, dried out leaves and stems. Smells so nice in the rain too.

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.