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For the last year we have been putting together two publications: Pandemic Notes, and the first in our ongoing Pamphlet Series, Camera Forward! We are really excited for finally launching them at an in-person event on our roof terrace. So join us for a drink and grab a copy!

Due to the size of the roof and Covid19 restrictions there are limited places so please sign up below:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mayday-rooms-book-launch-tickets-158707587667

About Pandemic Notes:

This workbook is a small contribution to recording some of organised responses workers and different communities gave to the Covid19 pandemic. It also shares snapshots of various emotions people have been experiencing during this health crisis. These everyday thoughts and ideas were gathered as part of the contributions we received to the online Pandemic Notes survey.

The workbook is divided into three sections: Work, Community and State responses to Covid19 and each section is accompanied by a set of questions and an activity to further help the discussion and analysis on these three themes.

We are hoping that this workbook will prove a valuable resource for future organising and be a useful or practical record to be used for the pandemics or social crises that will inevitably follow.

 

 

 

 

About Camera Forward!:


Camera Forward! is the first of the MayDay Rooms Pamphlet Series, which brings together reproductions of documents from radical history while offering a space for extended engagement and critical reflections on their contemporary relevance. Each pamphlet will contain newly created content – including essays, poems, and illustrations – set alongside reproductions of materials to which they are responding.

Camera Forward! arose from an open call for submission and centres on histories of activist film and photography in the 1970s. It features material from the Film and Photography League, The Worker Photographer, Cinema Action, Terry Dennett and Four Corners, with contributions from Lotte L.S, Johanna Klingler, Freya Field-Donovan and Jack Booth.

Join us for a screening of work by Peter Gidal, Kadeem Oak and Wilf Thust with a discussion based on the research of Jack Booth, Freya Field-Donovan, Lotte L.S. and Johanna Klingler soon to be published in Camera Forward! by MayDay Rooms.

In the 1970s the proliferation of photographic and cinematic practices on the Left put the means of image production and distribution into the hands of ordinary people. London in particular became a live and contested site for work which dealt with the conditions of contemporary civic life. Fifty years on, what should be drawn from the socially enmeshed practices of filmmakers and photographers who worked in London towards the end of the twentieth century?

Please join for a screening and discussion that uses the research and writing from forthcoming MayDay Rooms pamphlet Camera Forward! as the basis for a conversation between documents and people. The event is a collaboration between MayDay Rooms and Animating Archives.

Sign up and read more here.

Screening (via Cytube, 7pm, link here)) and discussion (via Zoom, 8pm)

To celebrate Mayday 2021 and launch our online exhibition looking back at Wapping 35 years on, MayDay Rooms will be hosting a screening of Despite the Sun (1986) and a discussion with invited guests Roger Evans (Picket), Siôn Whellens (Picket), Cath Booth (NGA/Lesbians and Gays Support the Printworkers), Mark Saunders (Spectacle) and Kiran (Angry Workers).

Throughout May 2021 MayDay Rooms will host an online exhibition looking back at the Wapping Print Dispute 35 years on. The exhibition focuses on print as a medium and militant worker’s self-activity subverting print, to organise, build their own power and resources and communicate with workers in other branches of industry. Drawing on the tradition of worker correspondence, Picket Bulletin, provides a central example of how print was used to coordinate and circulate autonomous activity by striking workers. The exhibition will showcase new documents recently added to MayDay Rooms collections, featuring audio, film, posters, zines, journals and other printed matter.

 

The Zoom link will be emailed to you a day before the event. Please register here.

After the successes of last month’s conversation on Blake and Césaire, the second instalment of our monthly poetry reading group is here. The group is intended to create a social space to talk about work from the full breadth of historical and contemporary dissident, heretical, non-conformist and revolutionary poetries, from Futurists to social realists to feminists to concrete poetry to dialect to dub poetry to the most recent stuff being produced in small press publications outside the networks of corporate coffee table ‘Poetry’. We’ll see where the spirit takes us. At each session we’ll take a couple of poems to read alongside one another, by two different poets, not necessarily contemporaries. A different person each month will choose the works we’re going to read and give a brief presentation about why it’s worth reading them together, followed by a discussion that might lead us to collective conclusions on the work

The sessions will be a social space for anyone who wants to think carefully about the poetry we’re reading, so no prior ‘expertise’ required, and no future expertise expected. All the poems will be circulated beforehand but we’ll also read them together at the beginning of each session.

The second session (and there’s no need to have attended the first), which will take place 7pm, Monday 29th March. We’ll look at some poems prose poems by Baudelaire, and some verses by Francois Villon! If you want to come along, please sign up for the eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mayday-radical-poetry-reading-group-2-tickets-144665433205 – and we will circulate the poems a week before we meet!

We have really missed welcoming people to the archive since the lockdown so we wanted to give people the opportunity to take a virtual tour of our digital collections and recent accessions. We will be showing you highlights from the collections and guiding you through our ever growing digital collection on https://leftove.rs.

Register for the tour here

This month we’re reading a second book recommended by Shola – Irenosen Okojie’s short story collection, Nudibranch (2019).
This is what Shola has to say:
“I feel like Okojie’s work is hugely important in and of itself, but also when taking stock of British experimental/innovative writing – I’m interested in how when it comes to the contemplation of such spaces, Black women in Britain continue to be neglected, despite not only having always made work which is innovative, but also influencing the white work which comes to be categorised as such… I suspect this has a lot to do with the policing of the ‘brows’ and the long history of divesting Black art of intentionality, consciousness, self-consciousness, whilst conversely overinvesting, overdetermining even the most tedious white mark-making with the promise of limitless unplumbed cognitive vistas!”

Please read the collection if possible! No prior knowledge is necessary and all are welcome to join.

Email slackpuss.rg@gmail.com to book a place

Anyone who has ever written poetry knows it is communal practice: shared experience, collective metaphors, communal transmission of ideas, memories, and forms. Valuable poetry is written by individuals coming out of intense shared spaces of expression and valuable readings of poetry happen when the love and solidarity we feel for each other are directed towards words on a page. Isolation is lethal to poetry; there has never been a great ‘individual lyric poet’ without a massive collective revolt happening somewhere in the background – or in a future into which the poem draws the crowd.

The MayDay monthly reading group will create a social space to talk about work from the full breadth of historical and contemporary dissident, heretical, non-conformist and revolutionary poetries, from Futurists to social realists to feminists to concrete poetry to dialect to dub poetry to the most recent stuff being produced in small press publications outside the networks of corporate coffee table ‘Poetry’. We’ll see where the spirit takes us. At each session we’ll take a couple of poems to read alongside one another, by two different poets, not necessarily contemporaries. A different person each month will choose the works we’re going to read and give a brief presentation about why it’s worth reading them together, followed by a discussion that might lead us to collective conclusions on the work

The sessions will be a social space for anyone who wants to think carefully about the poetry we’re reading, so no prior ‘expertise’ required, and no future expertise expected. All the poems will be circulated beforehand but we’ll also read them together at the beginning of each session.

The first session, which will take place on Thursday 25th February. We’ll look at some poems from William Blake’s Songs of Experience, and some prose poems by Aimé Césaire. If you want to come along, please sign up for the eventbrite, and we will circulate the poems a week before we meet!

Please sign up here

The coalition government came to power in May 2010. By November the windows of Conservative Party HQ at Millbank had been smashed in, by a crowd furious at the proposed tripling of university fees, and the abolition of the Educational Maintenance Allowance. A movement formed, leading to further protests, often violently repressed by the police; occupations sprang up at universities across the country. Out of that movement grew legal defence groups like Green and Black Cross, activist groups like UK Uncut, and media organisations like Novara. Some people formed crews to make squats and social centres; others started organising for better wages and conditions for precarious workers. The movement ultimately failed: the government’s legislation was passed into law. But the student movement in these years set the scene for the struggles against the first years of austerity.

On 20th February we will be holding a session offering a chance for people who were involved in the student movement to come together and reflect on their experiences, and to talk about how the student movement a decade ago relates to radical politics today. This session will be open to all people who were involved in the student movement – however peripherally and briefly! The event will be split into three parts: in the first a number of people will be asked to give short (3 minute) reflections on one aspect of the student movement. The next part will open up into an open discussion. And finally we will discuss the idea of building an archive of this movement. Right now MayDay Rooms has a small archive of mainly printed material from the time, but we would love to expand it, and we know lots of you are sitting on some documents from those bitter old days! If you want to come along and please enter your details into the eventbrite here.

If you want to give a 3 minute talk on one bit of your involvement in the movement then drop an email to jacob@maydayrooms.org. We will do our best to hear from as diverse a set of people as possible! 

We are happy to be teaming up with the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest to bring you this event of Newsletter, past and present! 

Newsletters, the stuff of steady curiosity,  bureaucracy or just some local groups’ ephemera. MayDay Rooms archive is full of historic examples, and the recent 11th issue of the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest is primarily a compendium of contemporary, locally situated anti-fascist or avantgarde newsletters. Join us for a discussion led by the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest on autonomous and radical cultural work and sociality through the lens of the newsletter. We will be hearing contributions from Woodbine in Queens NYC, the Center for Enchantment from Albany NY, and Five Years (London) together with material presented from the MDR Archive. There will be a discussion led by Nick Thoburn, author of the Anti-book: On the Art and Politics of Radical Publishing.

Sign up here to receive the Zoom link for the event 

‘We Have the Right To Be Here’ is an oral history and analysis of some of the black and anti-racist movements of post-war Britain, told by three activists in an interview conducted by poet and educator, Sam Berkson. Suresh Grover, Frances Webber and Colin Prescod talk of their first-hand involvement in groundbreaking events of the British anti-racist and anti-fascist struggle. From the response to the racist murder of Kelso Cochrane in Notting Hill 1959, to Asian Youth Movements in Southall in the 1970s, the case of the ‘Bradford 12’ in 1981, to the Stephen Lawrence justice campaign in the 1990s, the activists tell how successful movements came together to challenge the state and the far-right. Talking from their personal experience at the heart of the struggle, Grover, Webber and Prescod analyse the dynamics of state racism and people’s resistance to it. They reflect on how victories have been won and how much more work there is to do.’The interview was conducted at the Institute of Race Relations in summer 2019, and contains footage, photographs and archive material from many of the struggles mentioned.
Running time: 1 hour 21 mins
Join us after the screening for a discussion with Frances, Suresh and Sam! 
https://cytu.be/r/we_have_the_right_to_be_here