Welcome to the November edition of The Miaaw Monthly which tells you what to expect this month, and provides a few pointers to things you might like to explore.
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The final podcast for October arrives today – and it turns out to arrive all dressed up as our 200th episode, assuming we can count correctly!
In this, the 28th episode of Common Practice, Sophie Hope talks with Sam Trotman from the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, which we featured recently, and asks her about SSW’s philosophy and practice.
Among other things they discuss the nature of soup.
Every Friday a podcast appears at 12:34 UTC. 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 October.
Friday November 3: Meanwhile in an Abandoned Warehouse | Episode 67
Owen Kelly wraps up the recent segments on copyright by looking at the current plight of Easy Life, a band whose very name has become the subject of copyright bullying, and an example of how the copyright laws have developed so that they have little in common with their original intended purpose.
Friday November 10: Ways of Listening | Episode 1
This month we start a brand new series, Ways of Listening, that turns its attention to an area that we have not yet discussed in the sort of detail that it merits: the importance of hearing and listening in creative community activity. Our guide on this series will be Hannah Kemp-Welch, who we first met in July in episode 29 of A Genuine Inquiry.
Hannah works as a sound artist with a social practice. She creates works collaboratively and in community settings, often responding to social issues. She has a particular interest in transmission arts – she experiments with DIY radios and produces zines to make these technologies accessible. She is a member of feminist radio art group Shortwave Collective and arts cooperative Soundcamp, and has produced works for Radio Art Zone (2022), Movement Radio (2022), and Radiophrenia (2020-23).
In the first episode of Ways of Listening, titled Listening and Not Knowing, Albert Potrony introduces his participatory arts practice, describing a recent project with young fathers in Gateshead and former members of an anti-sexist men’s group. Hannah and Albert talk about collaborative practice in detail, and the role of listening within this. ‘Not knowing’ emerges as a key theme.
Friday November 17: A Culture of Possibility | Episode 34
François Matarasso and Arlene Goldbard talk with Ralph Lister, executive director of Take Art in rural Somerset, England.
Take Art has been offering rural touring, projects in dance, theatre, and other arts practices, and working with artists and community groups, including schools, hospitals, day centres, youth clubs and early childhood education for going on four decades.
Friday November 24: Common Practice | Episode 29
Falay means running water, accumulated underground through rainfall over millennia. Considered by locals of Ru-us al-Jibal as sacred, it acts as a driving force in the creation of landscapes and social practices. In Helsinki, Zeynep Falay von Flittner has brought together a collective of transitions designers, systems thinkers, sustainability experts and researchers using system-aware creative practice to catalyse regenerative futures.
She discusses what drives her, the work of Falay Design, her personal journey, and her roles as the founder of Design Activists for Regenerative Futures, and as a member of the board of Systems Change Finland.
All our podcasts are available from Anchor.fm, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Overcast, RadioPublic, Soundcloud, Spotify, and Stitcher.
You can also listen to them at the miaaw.net 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.
Microplexes in the UK
Writing in The Guardian, Clair Armistead notes that “The UK now has 1,500 volunteer-run venues, according to Jaq Chell, CEO of the charity Cinema for All, which supports them with everything from licensing and insurance to equipment. Some are just pop-ups in pubs or community halls. “It’s a hidden world, especially in rural places: anywhere you can set up a screen you can have a cinema.” She attributes the growth to a combination of lighter, more user-friendly equipment and successive changes to licensing laws, which have cut the bureaucracy for community venues with fewer than 500 seats”.
You can read the full story, called Welcome to the microplex! The hidden world of Britain’s 1,500 tiny cinemas here in The Guardian.
Purple.space: not for us
Owen writes: I came across purple.space this month. Not a social network, as it makes very clear, it “is a proven community of more than 500 people who are doing the work with each other, not at each other”, and only paying members can access that community.
They note that “It’s entirely possible that this isn’t for you. That’s why the discount code gives you the first week at no cost”. Indeed, purple.space did not seem like a community that I would wish to join. The impetus behind it, however, most definitely did seem to offer a way forward beyond the enshittification of the web that we talked about in recent podcasts. The idea of web-based communities whose members commit to each other, and support that commitment by self-financing the community, does seem to offer a lot.
So while that specific community may not draw me to it, the ideas underpinning the community most definitely do.
Stories shape our lives
Starhawk, “author, activist, permaculture designer and teacher, and a prominent voice in modern earth-based spirituality and ecofeminism” writes that “Stories shape our lives, our sense of what we can be, and awaken our sense of empathy. Story has the power to move us emotionally. The larger collective stories we call myths reinforce the values our culture holds dear. When we listen to a story, we are entranced. And when we create trances or guided imagery in ritual or healing sessions, we are co-creating a story in which the participants become the protagonists”.
In November she will run a short intensive online course called Ritual Skills Intensive: Myth, Trance, & Story. You can register here.
Sculpture at the Gandhi Museum, Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Justice and Universalism
François suggests that we might care to download a pdf of an essay from The New York Review of Books by Fintan O’Toole. The essay, titled Defying Tribalism, constitutes a review of, and meditation on, Susan Nieman’s new book Left Is Not Woke.
This polemic charges her fellow leftists with intellectual betrayal and notes that “Self-harm and self-pity form a feedback loop of endlessly renewable political energy. And this perpetual motion machine is also driven by revenge. If you hurt the other side, they will hurt you back, and when they do they prove themselves to be the incorrigible enemies you always knew they were”.
O’Toole concludes that “Without the courage to assert the imperative of justice and the urgency of humanity, the left suffers the worst fate that any movement can contemplate: becoming indistinguishable from its enemies”.
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