Workshop Announcement: (Re)thinking Protest Camps: governance, spatiality, affect and media

Booking is now open for this free one day workshop, “(Re)thinking Protest Camps: governance, spatiality, affect and media” to be held on Tuesday 26 June 2012 at the University of Leicester, UK.  To reserve a place please complete this online form.

Non-Stop Picket of the South African Embassy, London c. 1989 (Source: Gavin Brown)

Workshop Overview

Over the last year, urban protest camps and encampments have captured the world’s attention and imagination.  From Tahrir Square to the tent city of Tel Aviv, from the encampments of the Los Indignados in Spain to the Occupy movement, enduring protests have arisen to demand democracy and fight austerity measures.  In addition to these protest camps situated within/outside symbolic targets, other kinds of protest camps have grown as a social movement tactic in recent decades.  These include camps that aim to prevent or disrupt the destruction of a site under social or environmental threat (for example, anti-roads protests, or the solidarity camp that sought to prevent the eviction of Irish Traveller families from their land at Dale Farm in Essex).  There have been camps that draw attention to sites posing a specific social, military or environmental threat (for example, the siting of Climate Camps outside oil-fuelled power stations or peace camps outside military installations). Finally, camps have been organised as counter-summits or ‘convergence spaces’ (Routledge 2003) in opposition to strategic meetings of global political leaders.

This one-day workshop seeks to examine both these recent and contemporary expressions of protest camps, as well as charting the historical geographies of protest encampments in earlier periods.  The workshop is open to a broad interpretation of ‘protest camps’ from physical encampments where e live or other continuous ‘non-stop’ protests through to the picket-lines of long-running industrial strikes.  In some cases it is the act of camping, of being in place, that is central, in others it is the duration and creation of a persistent physical infrastructure of protest in situ.

The workshop is primarily structured around four ways of approaching protest camps and theorizing their social, cultural and political impact.  Through four short introductions examining the governance, spatialities, affective terrain of protest camps and media representations of/from those sites, we hope to provide plentiful opportunity for open, yet focused, discussion and debate.

Workshop Organisers

The  “(Re)thinking Protest Camps” workshop is organised by: Gavin Brown, Fabian Frenzel, Jenny Pickerill and Helen Yaffe University of Leicester, Anna Feigenbaum, Richmond, the American International University in London, and Patrick McCurdy, University of Ottawa.

Workshop Logistics

The event is free, and lunch is provided: but a place must be reserved in advance.  Please complete the online booking form to book your place.

A limited number of travel/accommodation bursaries are available for postgraduate / unwaged participants or people without access to funding for such activity which are available on a first come, first served basis.  To request a bursary please contact Gavin Brown (gpb10 (at) specifying your status and (briefly) the reasons for your request.

There will be a meal available afterwards at your own cost.

Location: University of Leicester – 15 minute walk from Leicester rail station.

Accommodation:  we would recommend Spindle Lodge:
or you can find other options here.
(If you are unsure about where is and isn’t convenient for the University campus, contact the organizers.)

Please inform us of any special requirements (eg. dietary, access etc.). We will do our best to address these.

About Gavin Brown

Professor of Political Geography and Sexualities University of Leicester
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