[Imc-uk-network] ESRC funded research project on Indymedia UK]
devlishmay at aktivix.org
devlishmay at aktivix.org
Fri Jan 5 08:02:40 PST 2007
I did reply to Tony at the time, here is a copy of my correspondence from then
from which I did not recieve a reply, as well as my most recent reply to 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 other
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, as
well serious stuff going on Palestine. If you want to talk call me 07981 184474
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
To: steffen boehm <steffen at ESSEX.AC.UK>, moreanon at gmail.com,
Andre.Spicer at wbs.ac.uk
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 have
proposed a project researching Indymedia UKk and London and recieved a " big
chunk of funding" but have not presented the project to the London collective.
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 own
project processes and accountability.
He found our intial proposal on line, and was surprised that we had not been in
This was the e mail that I sent to 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 group
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 Indymedia.
The project has evolved into interviewing people involved in alternative media
projects and is still on going.
Sian Sullian and Andre Spicer interviewed Indy media people in Toronto about
their involvement and how they saw IMC.
Students from UEA have taken on similar tasks, with regard to interviewing IMC
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 zoe,
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 this
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 about
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 IMC
I guess we need to communicate better because I am in a postion where I don't
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
> 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
> 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 -
> 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 involved?
> 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 would
> >be nice to see any specific questions or problems before going any
> 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 planned
> >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 keep
> >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 to
> 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:
> 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!
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