If you’re in the UK why not spend this Bank Holiday weekend in UKIP-on-Sea?

If you’re in the UK why not spend this Bank Holiday weekend in UKIP-on-Sea?
UKIP
The showman has been in town…
UKIPOn_Canvey
Pulling in the desiring crowds
WTF!
Well, we’re hoping that an alternative voice in Essex can be heard amid the din of far right populism…

Where is the Common Ground? Making Local Activism Work in Southend
3rd May, 2015 at 8pm
Free entry
Upstairs at the Railway Hotel, Southend-on-Sea
http://www.railwayhotelsouthend.co.uk/

The General Election on May 7th is occurring against a backdrop of relentless austerity, food poverty, tax evasion and scapegoating of groups without access to the mainstream media that marginalizes them.

Is there an alternative to this politics of despair, and if so, is collective activism the answer? Is Essex man Russell Brand right when he tells us that the system is broken and what we accept as ‘common sense’ has been imposed on us? On one hand, events in Greece and Spain show that collective responses to inequality are working. On the other hand, there is the anti-European, anti-immigration stance of populists like UKIP and Le Front National in France, whose appeal seems to resonate with the mythologized ‘man in the street’.

This pre-election CCT special event explores alternative ways of thinking critically about our everyday political lives and considers the effectiveness of collective activism. We’ll discuss what can be done at the local level to make a difference and what kind of differences ‘we’ want by first thinking about who ‘we’ are – a collective political force or fragmented individual consumers?

We ask you to contemplate the idea of the common ground and critically explore related concepts like neoliberalism, individuality, crowds, publics, multiplicities, collectivity, and of course, democracy.

Programme

8pm start

Introduction by Andrew Branch

8.10pm

Tony D. Sampson (author of Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks): Crowds, Publics and Desire.

8.30pm

Giles Tofield (Director of The Cultural Engine): Finding Common Ground – Southend.

8.50pm

Q&A Chaired by Andrew Branch followed by break for drinks

9.20pm

Special guest speaker Professor Jeremy Gilbert (author of Common Ground: Democracy and Collectivity in the Age of Individualism): The Common Ground

10pm

Discussion chaired by Andrew Branch

Dr Tony D Sampson
Reader in Digital Culture and Communications
School of Arts and Digital Industries
UEL
Homepage: http://www.uel.ac.uk/research/profiles/adi/tonysampson/
Blog: http://www.viralcontagion.wordpress.com
Club Critical Theory: https://clubcriticaltheory.wordpress.com/

About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. He has a PhD in social-cultural-digital contagion theory from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. He is a former art student who re-entered higher education in the UK as a mature student in the mid-1990s after a long stint as a gigging musician. His career in education has moved through various disciplines and departments, including a maths and computing faculty, sociology department and school of digital media and design His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018). He is organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK. As a co-founder and co-director of the public engagement initiatives, Club Critical Theory (CCT) and the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG), Sampson has developed a number of funded research projects and public events that aim to bring impactful critical theories into the community and local political sphere to approach a series of local challenges. These activities have included large conferences co-organized with local authorities looking at a range of policies relating to the revitalization of the Essex costal region, developments in the cultural industries as well as a series of community focused events on food cultures and policy, collaborations with arts groups and informal lectures/workshops in pubs and community centres. Director of the EmotionUX Lab at UEL. He occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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