Issue 17 | February 2024

Welcome to the new year, and the February 2024 edition of The Miaaw Monthly which (as usual) tells you what you might expect this month, and provides a few pointers to things you might like to explore.

Our podcasts represent one way to have (hopefully) interesting conversations about the things we care about. Please spread the word as widely as you can, and encourage people to subscribe to The Miaaw Monthly.

If you have anything that you want to include in The Miaaw Monthly, or discuss in the podcasts, then please email us at and we will be happy to collaborate.


Today’s podcast counts as Episode 31 of the Common Practice series, and pops onto the web and into your ears at 12:12 Helsinki time. In it Brendan Jackson explains about the 18 month long process to create a new digital library for the Jubilee Arts Archive 1974 – 94, from original materials and material held in the collections of Sandwell Archives.

He also looks at what the team intends to do next, now that they have celebrated their public launch and the official finale of the project.


Every Friday a podcast appears at approximately 12:12 Helsinki time (or 10:12 UTC, fact fans). Sometimes we get so eager that they appear an hour or two early to allow for any lag across the internet. Mostly they arrive on time. With that in mind, here are the podcasts that will drop in February.

Friday February 2: Meanwhile in an Abandoned Warehouse | Episode 70

This episode begins a loosely connected mini-series that Sophie suggested, in which we discuss tools we can trust. We start, in this episode, by explaining why we think we should care about what we use for email, and where we store our files. In the next episode we will look at the tools we actually use to run Miaaw, and in our other projects, and explain why we have chosen them.

Friday February 9: Ways of Listening | Episode 4

This month we finally hear the episode we had originally planned for a couple of months ago, now that we have cleared all the necessary permissions.

In an episode called titled Building Listening into Everything, disabled artist and drag king Lady Kitt talks to host Hannah Kemp-Welch about their practice of ‘mess making as social glue’.

Kitt describes a ‘collaborative sandwich’ activity that helps to build relationships at the start of a community project, and ways they make space for listening throughout this work.

Friday February 16: A Culture of Possibility | Episode 37

In Culture of Possibility #37 Arlene Goldbard talks with David Francis, Director of the Traditional Music Forum in Scotland, about its impressive network of traditional musicians, preservation, reinvention, formal and informal education, Scottish cultural policy and funding, and the whole tapestry of issues, questions, and possibilities it engages.

Friday February 23: Common Practice | Episode 32

In an episode that we call Warning Signs: Imagining Collective Tactics of Resistance Against Exhaustion Sophie reports back from a workshop about rest, care and the ‘politics of exhaustion’ at the MACRO – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Italy. Fabiola Fiocco organised the workshop in collaboration with the Arts Module of the Master in Gender Studies (Roma Tre University), and it was facilitated by Sophie.


All our podcasts are available from, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Overcast, RadioPublic, Soundcloud, Spotify, and Stitcher.

You can also listen to them at the website where you will find additional links, notes, and references accompanying each episode. You will also find a full archive of all the previous podcasts there.


Moral Repair: A Black Exploration of Tech

On Moral Repair: A Black Exploration of Tech, hosts Annanda Barclay and Keisha McKenzie talk with tech and spiritual leaders. Their conversations inspire curiosity about tech while showcasing practical wisdom from the African continent and diaspora to nurture wellbeing for all.

Moral Repair expands mainstream tech narratives, celebrates profound insight from Black philosophy and culture, and promotes technology when it serves the common good. Listeners leave each episode with new ways to think about tech’s impacts and apply practical wisdom in their own lives.

You can find the episodes so far at

Cold War Steve

If you live in England and peruse the web on a regular basis then you may already have come across the work of Cold Ware Steve. If you don’t live in Little England, or have somehow missed him, then you might care to know that “Cold War Steve aka Christopher Spencer is an artist from Birmingham, England who specialises in surreal, satirical and hilarious collages originally made on his phone and iPad.

Since 2016 Cold War Steve’s Twitter account has been a lifeline to many in these dark times with his following increasing by the day. Three solo exhibitions, two books with Thames & Hudson, commissions for the National Galleries of Scotland, Whitworth in Manchester, Birmingham Museum and Gallery, a giant billboard installation at Glastonbury Festival and an international TIME magazine cover have all followed”.

Cold War Steve’s work originally appeared in the form of tweets. They now also appear on his website which gets updated very regularly.

Joe Biden by Cold War Steve

If you like this sort of thing then you might find it well worth bookmarking. What’s more, if you find yourself wishing you could see some of his earlier work then you can head straight to the Cold War Steve archives, the work of a fan and supporter called Nick.

Have we mentioned Tante before?

In his own words, “tante is an independent theorist and keynote speaker working on the intersection of technology, politics and the social. He is a de-evangelist and luddite. He writes and speaks (but mostly writes) about the social consequences of the digital turn as well as the structure of the digital itself. tante holds a diploma with a major in computer science with a minor in philosophy. He is no longer associated with academia in any way”.

You can find his writings at In his latest note he muses about “AI” as unregulated space. He begins by arguing that:

““AI” companies and “AI” influencers love to argue that the space is so new and unregulated, that we quickly need new regulation to give business a foundation to thrive on. This argument is very dishonest.

There is regulation, just not the one they like. Data protection law, copyright law, anti discrimination law, transparency laws all those things do apply, even to systems that you slapped the magic “AI” sticker on.

We see that a lot in tech where when the existing legal framework is inconvenient you argue that nothing existing applies any more and it’s the Wild West because “innovation” – but that is just a mechanism to undermine existing rules and rights.”

How does he get paid for his writing? He relies on Patreon for support from his readers.

One Year! 1984 – 1985

The Martin Farr Foundation in Bristol, UK, has an exhibition on display from January 18 to March 31 called ONE YEAR! PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE MINERS’ STRIKE 1984 – 85. It contains a set of striking (and historically important) images.

The exhibition coincides “with the 40th anniversary of the miners’ strike this exhibition will look at the vital role photographs played during the year-long struggle against pit closures, including many materials drawn from the Martin Parr Foundation collection. The miners’ strike was one of Britain’s longest and most bitter disputes, the repercussions of which continue to be felt throughout the country today”.

You can view a powerful sample of the images at the Martin Farr Foundation website.

A VERY QUICK QUIZ: 3 questions for you

Two months ago we noted here that we will stop using Twitter, and move to using Mastodon, for reasons that we explained at the time. This has started a wider debate about digital tools, that feeds into Cory Doctorow’s arguments about enshittification and the points made by people like Tante.

We know that some people, and some groups, working creatively with communities believe that the tools they use should reflect their own beliefs and ideologies, while others believe that “tools are tools” and we have no need whatsoever to avoid GMail, Google Docs, iCloud, OneDrive, Teams, and so on for options that seem harder to get used to.

We feel that we should explore the issues around this question because they affect us too (and we have differences of opinion within Miaaw about what we should use and what (if anything) we should avoid. We kick off this exploration with this month’s episode of Meanwhile in an Abandoned Warehouse and we would welcome feedback from you.

We would really appreciate it if you could take the time to answer 3 very simple questions:

1. Email. I use Gmail | Hotmail | something else
2. Storing stuff online. I use Dropbox | iCloud | OneDrive | something else
3. Online Meetings. I use Teams | Zoom | something else

You can, of course, add any comments you like, if you have strong view on this issue. You do not have to, though. We will be very happy to receive one line emails that say something like “1. Gmail 2. Dropbox 3. Zoom”. However, if you use “something else” then we would be very interested to know what it is! We don’t want to recommend something that everyone has already been using for as long as they can remember…

Your answers will help us shape the series we have planned about tools we can trust, and why we should have any interest in whether we can trust our tools or not.

We will not use this information for any other purpose than counting the replies and publishing a completely anonymous list of your choices in the next newsletter. After that we will destroy your emails.

We understand you have a lot to do, and probably little time to answer random surveys, but we would be very grateful if you could spare a moment to send a one line email to

Happy February!

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