[Imc-uk-network] ESRC funded research project on Indymedia UK]
devlishmay at aktivix.org
devlishmay at aktivix.org
Fri Jan 19 16:45:30 PST 2007
Thank you for your long and considered comment re the ERSC project.
As an IMC participent, I have not undertaken any research of IMC networks.
If any contributers to this project have researched IMC I hope they will write
to this list.
However I cannot answer for other people's research which I am not involved in
nor have as yet seen.
All of the ERSC-funded people are going to have a meeting at the end of this
This project still has another six months to run.
I will raise all of these concerns with the group, as they are not on this
Is it ok to forward this message to them?
Quoting "planet-mail at aktivix.org" <planet-mail at aktivix.org>:
> - having read all this i'm now adding my view, bit long though, sorry.
> I've known about this project for over a year and a half - i think i found
> about it around the time of the G8 in scotland, but can't remember exactly.
> Maybe I should have said something on imc lists about it sooner, but the
> involved people who have been both friends and imc/alt media colleagues, and
> that made it difficult for me to comment.
> I don't remember when i found out about the actual £40,000+ grant itself, but
> do remember being told originally that the idea was to produce things that
> would be of use / support, in a groovey activist researchy way.
> I also remember stressing to one person that the key thing, of vital
> was to inform the 'sovereign' indymedia uk lists that the project was
> happening, had secured some funding, and that it intended to at least, in
> study indymedia (btw when i first heard about it, it was framed as
> media with a focus on indymedia, and perhaps the g8 in scotland).
> I also thought this was of paramount importance because back then at least
> person who had worked on indymedia uk projects for a few years was involved,
> and that it would surely lead to complaints later down the line if a
> transparent approach was not taken from the outset (esp with £40K sloshing
> around). I also said that I would probably not get involved at all, and
> certainly wouldn't unless the project was introduced the the main indy uk
> It was quite a long time after this that I actualy saw the alt-media-res
> grant award outline and understood that the entire project was sold to the
> funders as being all about Indymedia (global network).
> This made me initially angry at the time. Esp because indy uk runs on
> comparatively little money, generated through donations, benefits and hard
> work. When I think that before the G8 in scotland Indy was relatively skint
> spent about 3.5K on the entire G8 reporting operation, I reckon it puts
> £40,000+ into perspective.
> So, £40,000 of government funding was awarded to this project to study
> in general, and yet during the first year, no official email was ever sent
> introducing this project to the Indymedia UK network.
> People who worked on Indymedia were involved, and they too failed to notify
> main indy uk lists about the project (seemingly prefering to approach, or
> communicate with, individuals in private).
> For somebody like me, who knew about the project (and who knew some of the
> people) I didn't want to write to an imc list saying - look have you seen
> And to be honest, I really thought they would write and introduce the
> in due time.
> As it worked out, the project changed, and very little of the total output
> been about Indymedia.
> I'd like to stress that I think the project has done some enormously
> and important work. For example attending, and then organising one of the
> re-transmission series of international video events, solid work on the
> IFIwatch website and network development, as well as media production and
> of the same in palestine, plus attendance at events like the Knowledge lab
> Clearer Channel video activist meeting. All very good worthwhile stuff.
> Regarding actual research production on indymedia itself, there have been a
> couple of interviews done with imc people (folks from aussie CAT, climate
> and imc poland), and the imc uk chronology as notified to the imc uk lists.
> There have been several ideas floated that I'm aware of that never happened,
> one that may still be ongoing according to the project wiki: "We are also
> looking at the history of online organizing processes in the UK indymedia
> collectives. We are using publically list archives to do this".
> There have also been several written pieces and presentations on Indymedia
> have been done by members of the project team. These include the explanatory
> definition of "Indymedia" in the 'Encyclopedia of Activism and Social
> published by Sage, and presentations given at the School of Development
> Studies, University of East Anglia; Oxford Internet Institute, University of
> Oxford; and Goodenough College, University of London.
> The other two points I'd pick out for mention is that my experience of this
> almost entirely come from personal conversations. This was problematic in
> you hear about things in anecdotal form, as ideas, mooted plans, opinions,
> essentially from conversations with individuals. And that makes it
> hard to be sure of what you're hearing, or to be sure you have the full
> picture, especially when you hear things you disagree with, or where there
> some personal arguements (which there were in this case).
> I honestly believe this could have been avoided if a proper transparent
> introduction to the one or two main uk network lists (eg network and
> had been sent at the early stages of the project. The way it worked out,
> that some good opportunities either for discussion or projects were lost.
> This leads me on to the other point, which is that (and now I am re-telling
> anecdotes, so can't be 100% sure, but think it too important not to mention)
> one of the problems around 'informing the imc lists' was that one or more
> people in the organising group of the alt-media-res project thought it not
> necessary to make such an official introduction to the imc lists, since they
> were involved and contributing to indymedia, and as such were indymedia
> themselves, and thus Indymedia was already 'informed'.
> Now, not wanting to to go off on one (cos this is an issue that can be
> again and again - eg who is indymedia - we are all indymedia! - four legs
> two legs bad - activist media or media activists? etc etc etc), but there
> clearly different perceptions about what constitutes "indymedia".
> I reckon the "list-based" indymedia and infrequent network meetings along
> local collective meetings are what constitute the sovereign (crap word I
> decision making mechanisms of Indymedia uk, and thus are what constitute
> "Indymedia" when the term is used in any official-ish capacity. And in this
> case I don't think there is any doubt that the project should have informed
> main lists at an early opportunity, or presented itself at a suitable
> Sure the demarcation lines are blured and often sometimes deliberatly so, but
> this case, with a funding proposal netting £40K to study Indymedia, I think
> it's pretty damn obvious! - let alone thinking about how to develop the
> project, or ask for suggestions, submissions or inputs, or offer an equitable
> transparent opportunity to get a slice of the pie!
> That said, there are very valid general criticisms of inydmedia in terms of
> process, or rather the problems of gaining consensus or arriving at
> or implementations - and to some extent I can see good reasons why people
> wish to persue some projects outside of indymedia structures.
> Anyway, I also know that there has been a lot of heartache for some people
> involved, a fair bit of pain, accusations and even stand up shouting at
> meetings about this, so I'm not interested in furthering bad felings. For
> i haven't referenced particular names in this mail cos I don't think it
> particularly useful to do so.
> Looking forward, it has reinforced my view that often large chunks of money
> cause arguements, that transparency (and therefore the opportunity to
> participate) is a value or form or politics which indymedia (in my
> of it) values highly, that it often gaulls me to see academics getting big
> funding to write about indymedia when I know so many people in Indymedia can
> write well (and do write well) about indymedia itself, and that academic
> research can often come with some unique challenges when it focuses on areas
> the researchers are involved in - AND, as such, all of these things need
> treating carefully when they come up, and deserve to be discussed openly and
> honestly by all concerned, and that if ignored, almost always lead to bad
> Still, as said, nice to see some very good stuff come out of the project, but
> apology wouldn't go amiss either... - from my side, i'm sorry i didn't say
> Imc-uk-network mailing list
> Imc-uk-network at lists.indymedia.org
> Also other list of similar interest Indymedia United Kollektives process:
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