Tickets Now On Sale For Liberating Arts 2017

Tickets are now on sale for the inaugural Liberating Arts conference and srts festival taking place on the 3rd -5th November 2017, at the University of Exeter.

This unique event hosted by the General Federation of Trade Unions, will allow trade unionists, creative activists and public educators to exchange ideas about how the arts can best be used to achieve better campaigning, organisation and education work in trade unions and social movements.

There are a maximum of 200 tickets available for Liberating Arts  so early booking is essential.

Some of the most prominent political artists in the UK today will perform their latest work. Comedians, musicians and poets like Francesca Martinez, Captain Ska, Itch from the King Blues, Attilla the Stockbroker and Anthony Anaxagarou, will appear alongside theatre companies Including Banner Theatre, Townsend Productions, Red Ladder, Cardboard Citizens and Belarus Free Theatre.

Film screenings will run alongside graphics workshops. There will be media skills workshops led by Reel News, Red Pepper and New Internationalist.

Speakers such Tony Garnett, Raoul Martinez, Doug Nicholls and John Smith, will talk about the arts as politics and the status of the arts and artists in society.

And what is also unique about Liberating Arts is that all these performers and speakers will also discuss their work with each other and with the trade unionists, creative activists and public educators attending the festival. It is not just about coming and watching but entering a debate about the potential power of a renewed progressive culture.

If you are a political artist or public educator hoping to connect with the trade union movement or a trade unionist or activist hoping to explore how best to use the arts and media as a tool in your campaigning, then Liberating Arts is designed for you.

To find out how to be part of this important conversation between the trade union movement and the political arts movement then go to www.gftuliberatingarts.org.uk

Programme announced for the 4th Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival.

We are delighted to publish the programme for the 4th Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival.

In light of the Grenfell Tower disaster we have modified our theme and our now showing 2 UK films about the UK housing crisis.

We are also delighted that the bulk of our programme this year is made up of UK films and UK films released in 2017!

Judging of the Small Axe Short Film competition is approaching completion. WE seem to be making a mark here too as this year we received over 1000 entries from across the globe!

Special thanks to The Magnificent Seven Sponsors:
GFTU
USDAW Southern Division
UCU
UNITE North West
Tolpuddle UNITE
Midlands TUC
SWTUC

And to all our other sponsors:
Bath TUC
Unison Power Branch
Bakers Union
Rachel Jury
Chris Van Spal
Unison Bolton
SERTUC
North Staffs Trade Council
Bridgewater Trades Council
White Horse TUC
Footprint Workers Coop
Unison Dorset
Warwickshire NUT
UNITE Amicus Barrow 0401
UNITE Amicus 0754
UNITE Amicus Bolton & District
NW/T60
UNITE N/W Bamber Bridge & Leyland
UNITE Wirral Branch

 

Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival Hosts RFN 2017

As co-founder and programmer of the Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival, I am delighted to announce that in 2017 The Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival is hosting the Radical Film Network conference at the Tolpuddle Martyr’s Festival from 14.00 on Thursday 13th – 14.00 on Saturday 15th July.

Registration for the event is currently open and tickets can be booked here.

RFN @Tolpuddle 2017 tickets cost £68 and include entry to the Tolpuddle Festival and the Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival. Details can be found here.

A great summer festival experience for all the family and a unifying gathering for over 4,000 trade unionists, cultural activists and political artists from across the UK and the globe.

We warmly invite all members of the RFN to join us at Tolpuddle 2017!

Please feel free to share widely with your networks.

Looking forward to seeing you in the Vintage Mobile Cinema bus and on the festival field!

http://www.tolpuddleradicalfilm.org.uk/rfn-tolpuddle

Laborfest San Francisco 2017

As co-founder of the Tolpuddle Radical Film Festival and Producer of the GFTU Liberating Arts Festival, I will be speaking at the Laborfest screening of I Daniel Blake in San Francisco on 19th July.

LaborFest was established in 1994 to institutionalize the history and culture of working people in an annual labor cultural, film and arts festival. It begins every July 5th, which is the anniversary of the 1934 “Bloody Thursday” event. On that day, two workers Howard Sperry and Nick Bordoise were shot and killed in San Francisco. They were supporting the longshoremen and maritime workers strike. This incident brought about the San Francisco General Strike which shut down the entire city and led to hundreds of thousands of workers joining the trade union movement.

Laborfest supports the establishment of such festivals around the USA and internationally. There are now LaborFests in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, every December. Laborfests have also taken place in Buenos Aires, Argentina and El Alto, Bolivia. In April of this year, the first LaborFest in Capetown, South Africa took place. In May, there were LaborFests in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey. The need to build local, national and international solidarity is critical, if labor is going to face the challenges it faces on all fronts. LaborFests help bring our struggles together in art, film and music.

 

Research Grant For Trip To USA

I have received a grant from the Peggy Ramsey Trust to fund a research trip to West Virginia for a play I am developing about the 1921 West Virginia Mine Wars and particularly the Battle Of Blair Mountain.

Wish me luck as I will be spending a week in July in deepest Trump territory!

The Battle of Blair Mountain was the largest labor uprising in United States history and one of the largest, best-organized, and most well-armed uprisings since the American Civil War.

For five days in late August and early September 1921, in Logan County, West Virginia, some 10,000 armed coal miners confronted 3,000 mercenaries and strikebreakers, called the Logan Defenders, who were backed by coal mine operators during an attempt by the miners to unionize the southwestern West Virginia coalfields.

The battle ended after approximately one million rounds were fired, and the United States Army intervened by presidential order.

Public Domain Arts And Media – pilot scheme UNITE in Schools

My newly formed Community Interest Company Public Domain Arts & Media has been commissioned by UNITE N. West and UNITE In Schools to develop a pilot scheme exploring a new approach to educating children about trade unions.

The project uses role-playing techniques inspired by Augustus Boal and Paulo Friere to create an innovative educational initiative designed to give 14-24-year olds, a creative and participatory introduction to trade unionism and collective action in the work place.

This project is about allowing young people to experience ‘light-bulb’ moments of understanding about the possibility of resisting exploitation in the work place and through that an understanding of the wider collective struggle for freedom, equality and economic justice.

Above all this project is about inspiring the union members, activists, reps and shop stewards of the future!