Searching for blog posts tagged with 'london'

Visual Artists I wish I could work with....



I forgot to tell you all about this: United Visual Artists created an installation in Covent Garden during xmas and the new year. So I took my brother and sister along to watch it, alongside a nice little orchestra that set the mood perfectly:

You can also see much more sexier, high res images on their site, 2nd project down the page.  I had a friend who went to see Becks Fusions 2008 in both the USA and Manchester. Simply amazing...

I wouldn't mind working with these guys on a collaborative project, what do you think?

'Free Education' protest, London 2009



Sussex University students take up the call to action.
Image © Josh Jones.

Over one thousand students descended on London this week to show their opposition to the UK's controversial 'top-up fees'. Read more....

London Calling: Free Gaza demo January 2009



Photo © Alex Mannion-Jones.

London city centre hosted a diverse range of speakers demanding peace in Gaza, yesterday. Speakers from the Jews for Justice stood alongside the Muslim Council of Britain, Amnesty International spokeswomen Annie Lennox, and a score of other political, religious, and social groups. Read more...

Britons shows solidarity with Palestine: Tens of thousands make their voices heard



Photo © Josh Jones.

London hosted thousands of protesters today, demanding an end to the Israeli invasion of Gaza. Read more...

The value of University



I recently received copies of an email to a few mailing lists I'm on, on autonomy and education, which I'm quite keen to respond to. The full email is below:

The London Free University

We believe there can be no right to annex thought and learning, to erect
concrete buildings in which to lock up knowledge.

Their universities create obedience, uniformity of thought and docility.
Beyond their gates is our intellectual freedom - within them are
the resources we need. Until these gates are opened for all we shall
remain alienated from each other and from our futures. We want to question access
to knowledge, the uniformity of success and production, and to experiment
with alternatives and the redistribution of knowledge. We invite you to cross
 these borders and see where we can go with the freedoms we create for

We're starting by doing, by learning how to hack, pirate and redistribute
knowledge whilst building alternatives. Join us in this exciting new
project and come to a planning meeting at LARC, 21st October, 6pm.

If education is not a commodity then can it be stolen?

I disagree with the directions proposed in this statement, but they're based on real concerns and deserve consideration.

As members of a university we have access to the wonderful library, but the point is that not everybody is able to attend university (or stay affiliated with one forever), and knowledge which is currently somewhat locked behind university doors could be easily made available to everyone. I am a big supporter of open access in publishing, and believe that restricting the distribution of scholarly works is ridiculous. Parts of this are being addressed. The open access journal movement is building in momentum, and some academics (particularly around my field of social science of the internet) are making their articles and books available to download freely online [incidentally, some advice to budding academics: if you have trouble finding a book chapter or article, email the author and ask for it - they want their work to be widely read, considered, and referred to, and will be very happy to hear from someone interested in what they love].

However, traditional Universities still have value far beyond mere distribution of knowledge. Interaction with academics and students interested in thinking the same subjects creates possibilities for far deeper understanding than merely reading and thinking alone (vital as these are to the process of learning). Learning is not a passive process, from books and teachers to students, but a discussion.

This discussion is what is most important and differentiating in Universities. I'm absolutely supportive of sharing course materials and recordings of lectures as widely as possible (as MIT pioneered with OpenCourseWare), but this can be done without undermining the unique value of universities to learning. To put this in economic terms, publications, recordings of lectures, and course material such as slides, are non-rival, and should be shared as widely as possible. However the time and attention of students and academics is rival, and this is where universities still have unique value.

While I sympathise with the call to 'hack, pirate and redistribute knowledge,' doing so risks causing a rift with the academic community, which would only be counterproductive to (re)building a vibrant and thoughtful society.

As for the statement that 'universities create obedience, uniformity of thought and docility', I cannot disagree with more, based on my experiences in university. I have learned to question and critique quite effectively in university - as well as outside of it - but it is especially my university experience which has encouraged and helped me to think and question with greater depth.

Photos - 'Bring the Troops Home', Stop the War march in London



Hey! Just got back from today's anti-war demo in London. Got some photos up online...


Click on the image to see more :)

Stop the War march in London, 24/10/09 Photo


Confessions of a wannabe QC part 5



Can anyone get the light switches in Freeman to work? It seems to me they only display the light all the while you're pressing down on the button and this results in me, sitting in darkened rooms, looking like something from a horror show, or someone about to top themselves. Seriously, legitimate question, if anyone has mastered this, I could use a hand! This week saw the second official deadline of the GDL and, by some fresh level of hell I am on the cusp of the first exam. Seriously, where is time going? It's always difficult with a multiple choice-r as, you don't want to underestimate the enemy, bring no ammuntion (in the form of revision) and get your arse well and truly kicked by something everyone deemed as "so simple." Yet, with a schedule as tight as mine, I have no desire to waste copius hours on something that turns out to be, precisely that simple. Decisions, decisions...

   Deadlines for scholarships and a Bar school viewing are also on the horizon which is frankly terrifying. At the moment my answer to 'the quality that make me a good candidate for the bar...' is resillience. If a cockroach can live for something like 9 days without a head, I reckon a bar student can do the same. Living off of stolen sleep and far too many microwave meals in the GDL room proves this fact, I have now been without a functioning brain for approximately 7 weeks. Nevertheless, I don't think the cockroach analogy is really what the Inner Temple was going for so, I will have to reconsider that one.

   The other worry is the speedy approach of Christmas. Now, I always knew Christmas in the conventional sense was well and truly cancelled this year due to exams and dissertation and the like, however, it is now more cancelled than ever given the fact that I've been given an (albeit awesome) work experience, which means a London commute everyday in the only slightly more relaxed week I had. If I survive to the new year, I will have done well, and I will book a holiday, somewhere far away and sunny. Until then, I have a Public seminar to prep...


PS: Is this blog starting to sound like Bridget Jones' diary? Only without the men or the cigarette counter?

Confessions of a wannabe QC part 10



Ok, so what I wanna know is where has the time gone? The final exam dates are in, I have a place on the BPTC and the home straight of the GDL is in full swing. It's absolutely terrifying that I have about 3 1/2 weeks of actual legal learning left to go... this is all the law I am ever gonna know and then, come September I have to start putting some of this into practice. I am questionning more than ever my choice not to be a legal puritan!

   It finally feels like spring which, I always find very positive. The fact that I have more work than I know what to do with seems to fade into insignificance as the nights are drawing out and the sun is shining every other day. It's all in my head but, strangely the course doesn't seem so hellishly busy just because it's bright outside. I'll take this over January any day. But the maddest thing is now making plans for the summer and the prospect of getting my life back, at least for three months or so! Beyond that is even madder- looks like I'm moving to London so, I am preparing to be poorer than ever as, I think they'd tax air up there if they were able to enforce it! I suddenly feel very adult again, looking at property and the like. I suppose the silver lining of all these civil law modules is that I'll actually understand the contract to the house this time round. I feel very empowered!

   Then of course, the next biggie is pupillage applications. After being slightly bullied into making applications this year, and, on reflection I have decided my bully is far scarier than the application process, I have to start the somewhat awkward process of trying to sing your own praises on paper to a bunch of strangers all the while attempting to sound personable and not in the least conceited or narcisistic! That, is a difficult balance to strike. I am definitely more of an 'in the flesh' kind of person, that way they get to see my charming, personality, infectious laugh and other pint-sized cuteness! Oh how I wish that were true!