We had two politically charged events in May with some brilliant speakers.

Klaus Mitchell, the founder of prominent vegan media platform Plant Based News, came to a climate event we hosted back in January. A week later he approached me to host an event around food politics in the climate space. He explained that he had a 25 minute speech that he wanted to practice about the centrality of food systems in the climate crisis . We settled on Wednesday 17 May as our date and invited Indigo Rumbelow from Just Stop Oil to offer balance to his argument.

Klaus gave a powerful and convincing talk that explained why the focus on oil and gas in climate politics misses the devastating effects of our food production systems on the climate. Indigo spoke about oil and gas still being an important factor in climate change. But even more than that she explained how oil and gas activism has been an important way of mobilising people to care about the “wicked problems” we face today. She spoke about how different social movements need to collaborate and work together because they’re all part of the same problems. So it’s not a question of food systems vs. oil and gas. Most of our problems are connected and the real problem is how do we challenge systemic issues. They were engaging speakers and we all laughed at the end when they were faced with questions like “How do we stop capitalism?”.

Our second event came out of a project between Loughborough University and Outlandish about democratic decision making. They had created resources on community organising from their research and wanted to speak to community organisers about how best to share their knowledge. We helped them by joining up with ACORN the Union and Unite for a Workers Economy to host an event about Class Power.

The unions spoke about their work they’re doing on the ground. ACORN talked us through the specifics of their organisational structure which they have built with the intention of long-term participation and power rather than short-term haphazard campaigning. There was lots of discussion around definitions of class and how to be inclusive within the union movement.

Extract From Loughborough University’s Presentation
Extract From Loughborough University’s Presentation

Loughborough University zoomed out and spoke more theoretically about how we might understand different modes community organising. They led a really engaging and participatory workshop at the end of the talks in the SPACE4 lobby. They’ll be hosting another workshop at SPACE4 this summer. If you’d like to be involved please contact natasha@outlandish.com.

Follow us on socials to keep up-to-date with SPACE4 happenings. We’ve got some fanstastic events and masterclasses lined up!