DAY 1 – 14TH December 2015
10:00 – 12:30 PANEL ONE
The Disconnection between Academic Theory and Activist Practice
Chair Veronica Barassi (Goldsmiths University of London)
Research on digital activism has often focused on the importance of ‘connection’. In this panel activists and academics are invited to reflect not only on the potential disconnection between academic knowledge and activist practice and on the ways in which they have tried to tackle this disconnection.
Brett Scott (London School of Financial Arts) – Dark side anthropology & the Art of Financial Culturehacking
Sandra Jeppesen (Lakehead University) – Anarchy in academia: Direct action research with antiauthoritarian media activists
Sam Halvorsen (Sheffield University) – Critical Reflections on Doing Militant Research with Occupy London
Todd Wolfson (Rutgers University) – Capitalism, Technology and Contemporary Social Movements: A Methodology of Research and Change
12:30 – 14:00 LUNCH BREAK
14:00- 15:30 SCREENING OF THE FILM PRE-EMPTING DISSENT
Q&A with Greg Elmer
Chair Ganeale Langlois
The creative commons documentary Preempting Dissent (2014) builds upon the book of the same name written by Greg Elmer and Andy Opel. The film is a culmination of a collaborative process of soliciting, collecting and editing video, still images, and creative commons music files from people around the world. Preempting Dissent interrogates the expansion of the so-called “Miami-Model” of protest policing, a set of strategies developed in the wake of 9/11 to preempt forms of mass protest at major events in the US and worldwide. The film tracks the development of the Miami model after the WTO protests in Seattle 1999, through the post-9/11 years, FTAA & G8/20 summits, and most recently the Occupy Wall St movements. The film exposes the political, social, and economic roots of preemptive forms of protest policing and their manifestations in spatial tactics, the deployment of so-called ‘less-lethal’ weapons, and surveillance regimes. The film notes however that new social movements have themselves begun to adopt pre-emptive tactics so as not to fall into the trap set for them by police agencies worldwide.
15:00 – 15:30 COFFEE BREAK
15:30 – 18:00 PANEL TWO
Dual Identities: The Academic, the Activist and the Challenge of the Politically Engaged Individual
Chair Anastasia Kavada (University of Westminster)
In this panel we invite participants to discuss the meaning of a politically engaged academic. What happens when academics who consider themselves activists, become effective political agents through the gathering and processing of data? What is the impact of these individually centred processes on the everyday life of social movements? How can individual academics promote social change? What technologies and communication channels do they use?
Jerome Roos (European University Institute and RoarMag.org) – There Is No Dual Identity: Reflections on the Politically Engaged Academic
Charlotte Ryan (University of Massachusetts Lowell) – The Many Routes to Movement Relevant Research
Hilary Wainwright (Transnational Institute/Red Pepper) – Committed Scholarship, Political journalism: What Role for Techno-Political Tools?
Finn McKay (University of West England) – Mud on Your Hands: Research and Activism in your own Field
DAY 2 – 15TH December 2015
10:00 -10:30 – COFFEE BREAK
10:30 -13:00 PANEL THREE
Activist Academics and Participatory Action Research: A Possible Solution?
Chair Gholam Khiabany (Goldsmiths University of London)
Participatory action research has proven to be a fundamental way to challenge the disconnection between academic theory and activist practice and to build the dual identity of the activist/academic. Yet there are many ways in which we can imagine, design and structure PAR projects. In this panel we invite scholars who have been engaged in different projects share their experience and critically reflect on the promises and challenges of participatory research designs.
Dan McQuillan (Goldsmiths University of London) – Citizen Science in Kosovo. The Power of a Partial Perspective
Kate Coyer (Central European University) – Supporting Communication Access for Refugees
Doug Specht (University of Westminster) – Walking the Tightrope: Local Voices in Activism and Research.
Margaret Gillan (Indipendent Researcher) – Participatory Action Research for community television in Ireland (2001-2009)
13:00 -13:30 ROUND UP DISCUSSION
13:30 – 14:30 LUNCH BREAK
14:30 – 17:00 RESEARCH PRACTICE SESSION: POLITICALLY ENGAGED THEORY AND ACTIVIST BOOKLETS