[Imc-uk-network] ESRC funded research project on Indymedia UK]
devlishmay at aktivix.org
devlishmay at aktivix.org
Fri Jan 5 08:45:51 PST 2007
Just to clarify things a bit for the network as far as my involvement in the
As somebody involved in indy, I have not undertaken to research Indy in anyway!
Therefore I cannot specifically answer questions about research relating to the
net work ( as have not done any work on this).
I am not sure who if anyone within the project is doing that area of work.
I did not write the initial funding proposal and when I became involved with the
project. was very specific about what my focus was going to be.
I have been looking at media net works within Palestine especially IMEMC, with
the full consent of everyone there involved in the IMEMC project.
Quoting devlishmay at aktivix.org:
> Hey everyone,
> Zoe and I did reply at the time to Tony but we never heard back either so
> must have been a misunderstanding ( one of many)
> Anyway here are copies of my correspondence at the time, as well as my
> reply to Tony.
> Dear Tony
> Happy new year, sorry this misunderstanding has resurfaced.
> I did answer you at the time but never heard back, and the IRC discussion
> accused us of spying, hence my frustration, I would not betray or spy on
> Zoe also replied to you and never heard back.
> Please find my reply to you below, in correspondence at the time. It is
> difficult to deal with this stuff in IRC and I was upset by the spying
> I have a lot on with the anti terror trial stop and search stuff this Feb,
> well serious stuff going on Palestine. If you want to talk call me
> See you at the next meeting
> ----- Forwarded message from devlishmay at burngreave.net -----
> Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 12:33:13 +0100
> From: devlishmay at burngreave.net
> Reply-To: devlishmay at burngreave.net
> Subject: Concerns raised about Alt- Media -res project at september's IMC
> London meeting.
> To: steffen boehm <steffen at ESSEX.AC.UK>, moreanon at gmail.com,
> Andre.Spicer at wbs.ac.uk
> Hey everybody
> Last night I went to the Indy media London meeting and in the course of the
> discussion, Tony one of the founders of IMC UK expressed concerns that we
> proposed a project researching Indymedia UKk and London and recieved a "
> chunk of funding" but have not presented the project to the London
> Or proposed the project to any of the IMC lists.
> He was angry about this because he felt that we have used the name and hard
> of Indy media volunteers to get funding for our own research aims.
> I looked at the intial proposal and I really want to reassure him about our
> project processes and accountability.
> He found our intial proposal on line, and was surprised that we had not been
> This was the e mail that I sent to Tony:
> Dear Tony,
> Here is a link to the FAQ's about the alt-media-res project,
> This is public.
> I need to ask Marion about whether or not our wiki for the project was
> to relevant indy lists, there was a discussion amongst the alt-res media
> that this was to happen but I am not sure if it did happen.
> Marion did recieve some funding from the project for a chronology of
> The project has evolved into interviewing people involved in alternative
> projects and is still on going.
> Sian Sullian and Andre Spicer interviewed Indy media people in Toronto
> their involvement and how they saw IMC.
> Students from UEA have taken on similar tasks, with regard to interviewing
> people in Rossport.
> All of this is about to be put into the wiki.
> I have spoken to Sian and she wondered if you would like to meet up with
> and myself to clarify things further.
> I have copied this e mail to zoe and Sian I have contacted them about your
> issues with our process , I am concerned about how you see this project and
> would like very much to reassure you.
> But the discussion for me raises important questions about how we approach a
> work and I wonder about how we have approached indymedia and have we done
> in the best way for the project?
> Also what we can do to allay Tony's concerns?
> I do feel to a certain extent that he has a point.
> What should we do about this?
> As the project is on going, we need to look at why we have had anxieties
> approaching Indymedia UK Kollectives, and why this has seemed so daunting?
> I would like to have any records, of where we have proposed this project to
> I guess we need to communicate better because I am in a postion where I
> know how to defend the project because I am not clear on all its directions.
> Quoting Tony <tony at cactusnetwork.org.uk>:
> > Hello all
> > Yes we heard very late in the day about this
> > project (a year and a half after it started!) -
> > not in any transparent way - but a comment by
> > Penny at the end of a london meeting in September
> > - which spilled over to a heated discussion in
> > the pub... which did not make things much
> > clearer. There was alot of anger at the way this
> > project had seemingly been using the indymedia
> > name to access funding by academics and imc'istas
> > - and then did not feel there was any need to
> > present it to the UK (as it is a UK research
> > group) or Global network (as they are being
> > researched). I should be clear that this is not
> > an Indymedia London initiative.
> > At the time i wrote a long and very polite (see
> > below) e-mail to Penny and Zoe asking for some
> > further information etc - Penny didn't feel the
> > need to reply and Zoe basically said that we are
> > all paranoid and negative (a theme Penny seems to
> > be continuing on their list - i would like to
> > think we are just being inquisitive) and
> > indicated that it was being done via personal
> > contacts and that i was just upset that they had
> > not asked me to join in! The arrogance of her
> > mail really pissed me off, and her total
> > mis-comprehension of the political stance of the
> > network baffled me, but i decided that i would
> > give them as a group a chance to inform us in
> > some open way of their intentions, as that would
> > be better for indymedia than where this could go.
> > They have said that it is not research into
> > Indymedia - but alternative media - of course
> > that is up to them if they want to re-define
> > their project as they go along but the fact
> > remains that they applied for a grant on the back
> > of indymedia, used the funding to progress their
> > own ideas and interests and negated to be open
> > with the network in any way. They previously
> > pointed to the IMC UK histories project that
> > Marion organised of work on along with many in
> > the network, claiming it to be the 'indymedia'
> > part of their project - it was linked in to them
> > through funding but this remains a Network
> > project and not a central part of their
> > application.
> > Anyway - just thought i would add what i know for
> > the record - and below is the e-mail i sent to
> > all 5 of them asking for some presentation to
> > Indymedia, rather than answer the questions they
> > keep refering us back to their site which only
> > documents the project they have done.
> > cheers for now
> > tony
> > =============
> > Hello Penny and Zoe
> > Just to repeat what i said to Penny - my concerns
> > about your project are not to disrupt it in any
> > way - but to point out my surprise when i heard
> > that some people near to us got loads-a-money to
> > watch how we have been working as volunteers for
> > 7 years! Or so it seems so far.
> > Early this year or last year i came across this on the internet:
> > -------------------------------
> > Award Name: Alternative Media and Public Action:
> > Organising the Global Indymedia Network
> > Award Holder: Dr Andre Spicer
> > Co-applicant(s): Dr S Bohm, Dr Sian Sullivan
> > Start Date:01/03/2005 End Date:28/02/2007
> > Award Description
> > This project asks how the global Independent
> > Media network (Indymedia) organises
> > non-government public action in four different
> > national contexts. Indymedia is a particularly
> > interesting example of public action because it
> > uses open-sourcing technology to produce and
> > distribute news across the planet. Our project
> > investigates this exciting form of non-government
> > public action by asking three questions; first,
> > what is the history of the global Indymedia
> > network, second, what are the (inter-)
> > organisational processes involved, third, what
> > are the labour processes involved in the
> > production of Indymedia content. For this
> > inter-disciplinary study we will use a mixture of
> > research methods, mainly historical documentary
> > analysis and action research approaches. These
> > methods will allow us to gain a detailed
> > knowledge of the micro-organisational processes
> > in the global Indymedia network. The research
> > will provide the global Indymedia community with
> > documentation of its short but exciting history,
> > the NGO and activist community with an
> > understanding of the organising processes
> > involved in open sourcing, and policy makers with
> > some insights into new methods of public action
> > in the media sector.
> > Award Amount ESRC Grant Number
> > Institution Discipline Award Type
> > £44,754.78 RES-155-25-0029 University of
> > Warwick Management and Business Studies
> > -------------------------------
> > As you can imagine - i was very curious about it
> > - I didn't recognise the names - and as indymedia
> > is a transparent network with our working online,
> > it is inevitable that some people will research
> > us (or claim they have) and get some brownie
> > points from their department heads. So i forgot
> > about it - just one of many we have come across -
> > although many others have at least had the
> > decency to talk to indymedia and explain what
> > they want and why - allowing us the respect of
> > deciding if we want to help out their research or
> > let them get on with it if it's outcomes do not
> > benefit the network at all.
> > In the past a page was put up on our wiki as a
> > guide for local groups who were asked about
> > research -
> > https://docs.indymedia.org/view/Research/ImcResearchPractices
> > and it is all positive. Sometimes the discussions
> > have not got far - one such case i remember was a
> > university in Gwent, that wanted to use the a
> > feature on the UK site to do a questionaire of
> > our users - after much debate we declined -
> > feeling it was not a suitable use of the middle
> > column - they no doubt went on with their
> > research but found other channels.
> > When i heard that the grant had gone to people we
> > knew here in London - who work along side us - i
> > was shocked that nothing had been said. I can
> > understand a reluctance to shout about academics
> > and money from the roof tops but this problem
> > must have been thought about before you applied!
> > The application above is quite clear - but...
> > How did you plan to understand the history - without asking people
> > How would you understand the '(inter-) organisational processes'?
> > and how were you to understand the 'labour processes involved'?
> > and once we get to this"
> > "The research will provide the global Indymedia
> > community with documentation of its short but
> > exciting history, the NGO and activist community
> > with an understanding of the organising processes
> > involved in open sourcing, and policy makers with
> > some insights into new methods of public action
> > in the media sector."
> > In what form were you planning to offer us our
> > short but exiciting history - do we need you to
> > do this for us - or are we capable of doing this
> > ourselves or have we already done this ourselves?
> > I imagine this was written in this patronising
> > way to please the funders - but as you have never
> > talked to us as a community - this is the only
> > text we have to go on.
> > Personally i don't have a problem with research -
> > being based in academia and doing research
> > myself. But some in indymedia do, and their
> > concerns should be at least acknowledged rather
> > than ignored because they are a little
> > uncomfortable. At the end of the day it is this
> > opaque attitude of researchers to their subjects
> > and their lack of credible two-way discussion
> > that tends to put people off wasting their
> > valuable time of other peoples work.
> > Have you approached the Indymedia research list?
> > - this was set up after so many requests from
> > academics - to better answer their questions and
> > to discuss useful projects to indymedia - that
> > the many activist / academics within the network
> > are thinking about.
> > Have you approached other indymedia's via their
> > lists? You mention in your mails that you wanted
> > to talk to other indymedia groups around the
> > world - great - maybe it would be interesting for
> > us also to hear about it so we can join in. Of
> > course there is no reason that you have to talk
> > to the network at all - i just would have though
> > it would have been an obvious starting point. My
> > understanding of activists doing research is that
> > they want to do it in a way that differs from the
> > mainstream academic world - use different
> > methodologies and give as much back to the
> > movement as they take out. To me that would at
> > least involve a dialogue with the network on some
> > level (not at the individual level - leaving them
> > the question of opening up the debate to the
> > network). Accepting - indymedia is a political
> > network that does discuss its workings openly for
> > a reason - i am curious that you seem to have
> > avoided this route.
> > At the end of the day - i am not here to cause a
> > fuss - the project came up at a meeting, so i
> > asked lots of questions. Just as i imagine you
> > all would if someone next to you mentioned that
> > they were examining your motives and documenting
> > your work 'for research'. What if i worked on
> > Schnews - and then applied for a grant to study
> > them - but never mentioned it to them - wrote up
> > my report, then one day they heard about it...
> > what do you think their reaction would be?
> > One final point - Penny did make a big issue that
> > this grant was never to study indymedia - but
> > alternative media - fair enough, and you point
> > out your wiki - that talks only of alternative
> > media and not of indymedia. Great, there is a
> > whole network out there to study - brilliant and
> > inspiring projects, but the above statement on
> > the ESRC website talks only of indymedia - so i
> > have to presume you used the cashé of Indy to get
> > the cash - then changed your minds. Did you
> > change your minds as soon as your got the grant
> > or at the time of putting the wiki up?
> > Anyway i ramble - i have said my bit - i am
> > disappointed no one talked to us, not that they
> > had to, but i would have enjoyed the discussion -
> > but it is all a bit late now and no doubt some
> > good will come out of the research you have done
> > and are doing.
> > Cheers tony
> > ps please feel free to send on to your fellow
> > researchers - if they are interested.
> > ps. below i have responded to some of Zoe's
> > e-mail as i am a bit confused by it...
> > >I should also say that I'm not sure what's going on here... nobody has
> > >raised any specific problems with me about our way of working, so it
> > >be nice to see any specific questions or problems before going any
> > further...?
> > Probably as we did not know about it - we may
> > have praised your way of working - hard to tell.
> > >re the proposed sub-project on london imc, my understanding was that
> > >objections in parts of the lists-based uk indymedia network led to
> > >action research in that area being scaled back if not cut altogether, I
> > >never fully understood the problems arising but then I wasn't going to be
> > working on that side much anyway so just got on with my stuff.
> > I don't remember any list based discussion -
> > could you point it out to me so i can see what we
> > said to put you off talking to us.
> > >it is a shame that inevitable questions and issues about this project
> > >coming up in an apparently negative way - that is, undermining the
> > >confidence of my compadres when this kind of work is hard enough to try
> > do right already..
> > What questions? What do you mean by negative -
> > how else did you expect me to react other than
> > above? In many ways and to many people i think i
> > am being very relaxed.
> > A link here shows how open indymedia can be to researchers:
> > http://archives.lists.indymedia.org/imc-communication/2004-June/003179.html
> > and if you follow the thread there are no
> > negative responses.
> > >that said, it's obviously vital to keep dialogue open and like I think
> > >everyone involved, I'm more than happy to challenge, be challenged and
> > >answer any questions about what we're trying to do.
> > so, fire away!
> > Dialogue?
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