Information and communications technologies have had a profound effect on political activism in the 21st century. In the hybrid space of contemporary cities, movements for social change are co-ordinated through social media and, effectively, take place both on the street and in information space. At the same time, as the Snowden files have revealed, digital communications are routinely monitored by government agencies and military applications of the same technologies facilitate drone surveillance and targeting. In the lead up to our annual lecture, this seminar brings together specialists in the field of social media, activism and surveillance to assess the impact of digital activism and its future development. How is the use of social media changing in the face of increased surveillance? What are the connections between activist and military applications of information technologies? And how do people respond to monitoring and surveillance in daily life? Continue reading Social Media, Activism & Surveillance
Our conference for 2013 will address the problematics of space both as concept and as lived social reality, with a particular emphasis on the tension between spaces of control in the context of contemporary neoliberalism, spaces of resistance and the apocalyptic spaces which emerge from war, forced migration and the failures of consumer capitalism.
What are the politics of space in contemporary contexts? How can we re-think space beyond the public/private divide? How do spatial arts re-configure space and the way in which it is experienced? What new configurations of space may emerge from burgeoning forms of community? How do the theatres of contemporary war force a re-assessment of spatial concepts? Is it still possible for the notion of virtual space to function in opposition to the striated space of contemporary cities?
We are pleased to announce that Deborah Dixon and Carl Lavery of Aberystwyth University, Dimitris Papadopoulos (University of Leicester) and the independent artist Joanna Rajkowska have been confirmed as keynote speakers. The conference will also offer the chance to participate in movement workshops and performative explorations of space.
This is the third seminar in our Culture & Polity series in which our invited speakers will be examining the city both as a concept and as a space marked by social and cultural divisions and in which conflicting notions of community emerge. Has the economic downturn restructured the suburb from paradise to pressure cooker, making it the new inner city precariously perched on the edge? What are the political consequences of the impact of privatisation on city space? The award-winning film-maker John Smith will also present his film ‘Blight’ which revolves around the building of the M11 Link Road in East London, which provoked a long and bitter campaign by local residents to protect their homes from demolition.
Our second annual lecture, on 16th June, 2010 featured Marshall Berman, Distinguished Professor of Political Science at City University of New York and CUNY Graduate Center and author of All That is Solid Melts Into Air, Adventures in Marxism, The Politics of Authenticity and, most recently, On The Town (all published by Verso).
Professor Berman’s speech, ‘Urban Ruins: City Life with Urbicide’, explained the phenomena of ‘urbicide’ – the distinct form of violence against the built environment. Full report here