Geopower (Spatial Self Organisation Against Injustice in Sheffield)

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McCloskey, Paula and Vardy, Sam 2019. Geopower (Spatial Self Organisation Against Injustice in Sheffield).
AuthorsMcCloskey, Paula and Vardy, Sam
Abstract

“[G]eopower has no outside, no ‘place’ or ‘time’ before
or beyond it: it is the force, the forces, of the earth itself:
forces which we as technical humans have tried to
organise, render consistent and predictable, but which
we can never fully accomplish insofar as the earth
remains the literal ground and condition for every
human, and non-human, action.”
(Elizabeth Grosz, 2017)
On the fringes of Sheffield there is an active
and ongoing energy for diverse forms of
spatial self-organisation as resistance to
forms of injustice, specifically around resistance
to shale gas fracking, and the struggles of
former coal-mining communities, where 35
years after the so-called ‘Battle of Orgreave’,
campaigners are still organising for justice.
The varied topography of the former colliery
at Orgreave is now starting to be reinscribed
through new housing and leisure developments
yet harnesses complex layers of trauma
and politics.
Geopower (Spatial Self Organisation
Against Injustice) (September 2019),
an ‘a place of their own’ (art and spatial
research practice of Sam Vardy and Paula
McCloskey aplaceoftheirown.org) project,
commissioned by Arts Catalyst (artscatalyst.
org) as part of their Recentring Attention
Programme. The project was a co-inquiry
into the complexities of extraction in the
ecologically diverse and newly politicised
territories of the former Orgreave Colliery,
South Yorkshire, as well as anti-fracking
protest camps around Sheffield’s old
mining communities.
McCloskey and Vardy engaged with activists
from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign
to explore their organisation and annual
event, as well aa Women Against Pit Closures,
and anti-fracking activists who have established
camps to protest new fracking test sites.
A multi-format event was devised across
the former Orgreave colliery site, and in the
Treeton Reading Rooms. The event included
McCloskey and Vardy’s performative walk,
which saw them perform extracts from
theoretical texts and speeches exploring the
politics of extraction from decolonial and
anti-colonial theorists and activists (e.g.
Gloria Anzaldúa, Elizabeth Povinelli, Artemisa
Xakriabá, Sylvia Wynter, Elizabeth Grosz,
Anna Tsing, Kathryn Yusoff, Zapatistas)
around the post-extraction landscape
with a live art performance by invited local
artist Damien Fisher (who is part of the
LGBTQI community in support of the
miners’ campaign).
Following the walk, a collective conversation
with local fracking and coal-mining activists
drew together different groups and networks,
and created a unique space for different
struggles, experiences, and stories to be
shared, between academic and non-academic
groups. The event, which was attended by
about 60 people, also situated the conversation,
beyond the city centre towards the boundary
between Sheffield and Rotherham, at the site
itself of the stories that were told. McCloskey
and Vardy were subsequently invited in 2020
by the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign
to engage in and present at an online event
Music, Art and Activism event September,
2020, the video for which has had over 3200
views (view live recording: https://www.
facebook.com/120820591409802/
videos/635011967205130

Keywordsa place of their own; geopower; site-responsive performance; Orgreave; Fracking; extraction; climate change
Year2019
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/625478
hdl:10545/625478
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Publication dates19 Dec 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Dec 2020, 17:25
Accepted19 Dec 2020
ContributorsUniversity of Derby and Sheffield Hallam University
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https://repository.derby.ac.uk/item/948zv/geopower-spatial-self-organisation-against-injustice-in-sheffield

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