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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Word Festival

Amy Hughes preempts the third installment of the bookish bonanza to discover why east is the word

Written by Amy Hughes

2009 Fashion Futures 1 - Project with teenagers in Newham_012009 Fashion Futures 1 – Project with teenagers in Newham

“FAD” is shorthand for ‘Fashion Awareness Direct, drugs ambulance ’ a registered charity since 2005; although it was successfully managed as a company from 1997. Its ethos focuses on making ‘the person central to design, promoting respect to the wearer and integrating art and culture into fashion’. I think this is a fabulous way of amalgamating fashion and oneself – allowing inner confidence as you wear the outfit, with the pieces representing you as an individual. To produce these designs FAD run a variety of professional fashion workshops, for ages 13 – 25, as well as inspirational industry days and even high profile catwalk events.  These are split into five main schemes: the Fairtrade Fashion Club, Fashion Futures 1, Fashion Futures 2, FAD Competition and FAD volunteering.

2009 FAD Competition - Winner Ana Belen Merono, Nottingham Trent2009 FAD Competition – Winner Ana Belen Merono of Nottingham Trent University

2009 FAD Competition - Winning outfit2009 FAD Competition – Winning outfit

 Every year FAD put on a competition, with the winner getting to show at Vauxhall Fashion Scout as part of London Fashion Week – an amazing achievement! 2009’s winner was Ana Belen Merono, a fashion student from Nottingham Trent University. The brief for the year was ‘Urban Holographic,’ with a suggestion of working on ideas around ‘Retrofuturism’ and ‘space tourism’. Candidates were invited to create ‘fashionable uniforms for galactic hosts/hostesses,’ a very original project I think. Ana’s designs were two outfits, as with all the finalists. One of which featured a structured jacket incorporating an ‘Op-Art’ design, and the other combining a ‘cosmic cloud’ dress with ‘armour’ style layers. Her creations earned her a unanimous vote, with the prize including £2,000 and a work placement with well-respected designer Paul Costelloe – who was also a judge on the panel. 

Fashion Futures 2_2009 FAD Junior Award Winner - Katerina Drury, 18, from New CrossFashion Futures 2_2009 FAD Junior Award Winner – Katerina Drury, 18, from New Cross

Runners up focused on shapes and patterns based on the solar system, as well as ‘space suit’ ideas. The FAD Frontline is the panel of judges that votes on the designs, and it always consists of leading industry personalities – last year it included the editor of Vogue.com, the Director of Vauxhall Fashion Scout, and designer William Tempest.  Throughout FAD students have gained experience in the industry, and have also had their work displayed in exhibitions and even on live catwalks – invaluable experience for those looking for a future in fashion!  Look out for the catwalk final of the 2010 competition on Monday 22nd February at Vauxhall Fashion Scout.

Fashion Futures 2 2009 - Finalist Joel Boyd, 18 from CatfordFashion Futures 2 2009 – Finalist Joel Boyd, 18 from Catford

FAD has its own volunteering scheme – whether you’re a business or individual, you can help out! If you’re an ‘industry volunteer’ perhaps you could donate some materials, or run a workshop. As a ‘young volunteer’ you can learn more about the fashion world whilst mentoring other FAD students in skills you’re well practiced in.  FAD’s records demonstrate that they have worked with as many as 4,000 young people from secondary schools through to university students. These projects are considered a strong link into the industry, even gaining the Chairman’s Award at the London Educational Partnership Awards, so it’s a great chance to get involved with something worthwhile. FAD looks for volunteers in all areas, such as Industry Experiences, Placements, Teaching, Sponsorship and the Media.

Fashion Futures 2 2009 - Finalist Kesoon Chance, 17, from HackneyFashion Futures 2 2009 – Finalist Kesoon Chance, 17, from Hackney

Finally a quote from Dolly Jones, editor of Vogue.com, on the benefits of working with FAD:
“I think in these awful times of economic drama, there’s a tendency to think there’s no room for new talent.” She hopes that projects like these will help “weed out the mediocre” and find those “truly talented newcomers”. You can volunteer and sign up to FAD through their website: www.fad.org.uk.
2009 Fashion Futures 1 - Project with teenagers in Newham_012009 Fashion Futures 1 – Project with teenagers in Newham

“FAD” is shorthand for ‘Fashion Awareness Direct, visit this site ’ a registered charity since 2005; although it was successfully managed as a company from 1997. Its ethos focuses on making ‘the person central to design, seek promoting respect to the wearer and integrating art and culture into fashion’. I think this is a fabulous way of amalgamating fashion and oneself – allowing inner confidence as you wear the outfit, this web with the pieces representing you as an individual. To produce these designs FAD run a variety of professional fashion workshops, for ages 13 – 25, as well as inspirational industry days and even high profile catwalk events.  These are split into five main schemes: the Fairtrade Fashion Club, Fashion Futures 1, Fashion Futures 2, FAD Competition and FAD volunteering.

2009 FAD Competition - Winner Ana Belen Merono, Nottingham Trent2009 FAD Competition – Winner Ana Belen Merono of Nottingham Trent University

2009 FAD Competition - Winning outfit2009 FAD Competition – Winning outfit

 Every year FAD put on a competition, with the winner getting to show at Vauxhall Fashion Scout as part of London Fashion Week – an amazing achievement! 2009’s winner was Ana Belen Merono, a fashion student from Nottingham Trent University. The brief for the year was ‘Urban Holographic,’ with a suggestion of working on ideas around ‘Retrofuturism’ and ‘space tourism’. Candidates were invited to create ‘fashionable uniforms for galactic hosts/hostesses,’ a very original project I think. Ana’s designs were two outfits, as with all the finalists. One of which featured a structured jacket incorporating an ‘Op-Art’ design, and the other combining a ‘cosmic cloud’ dress with ‘armour’ style layers. Her creations earned her a unanimous vote, with the prize including £2,000 and a work placement with well-respected designer Paul Costelloe – who was also a judge on the panel. 

Fashion Futures 2_2009 FAD Junior Award Winner - Katerina Drury, 18, from New CrossFashion Futures 2_2009 FAD Junior Award Winner – Katerina Drury, 18, from New Cross

Runners up focused on shapes and patterns based on the solar system, as well as ‘space suit’ ideas. The FAD Frontline is the panel of judges that votes on the designs, and it always consists of leading industry personalities – last year it included the editor of Vogue.com, the Director of Vauxhall Fashion Scout, and designer William Tempest.  Throughout FAD students have gained experience in the industry, and have also had their work displayed in exhibitions and even on live catwalks – invaluable experience for those looking for a future in fashion!  Look out for the catwalk final of the 2010 competition on Monday 22nd February at Vauxhall Fashion Scout.

Fashion Futures 2 2009 - Finalist Joel Boyd, 18 from CatfordFashion Futures 2 2009 – Finalist Joel Boyd, 18 from Catford

FAD has its own volunteering scheme – whether you’re a business or individual, you can help out! If you’re an ‘industry volunteer’ perhaps you could donate some materials, or run a workshop. As a ‘young volunteer’ you can learn more about the fashion world whilst mentoring other FAD students in skills you’re well practiced in.  FAD’s records demonstrate that they have worked with as many as 4,000 young people from secondary schools through to university students. These projects are considered a strong link into the industry, even gaining the Chairman’s Award at the London Educational Partnership Awards, so it’s a great chance to get involved with something worthwhile. FAD looks for volunteers in all areas, such as Industry Experiences, Placements, Teaching, Sponsorship and the Media.

Fashion Futures 2 2009 - Finalist Kesoon Chance, 17, from HackneyFashion Futures 2 2009 – Finalist Kesoon Chance, 17, from Hackney

Finally a quote from Dolly Jones, editor of Vogue.com, on the benefits of working with FAD:
“I think in these awful times of economic drama, there’s a tendency to think there’s no room for new talent.” She hopes that projects like these will help “weed out the mediocre” and find those “truly talented newcomers”. You can volunteer and sign up to FAD through their website: www.fad.org.uk.
Is it just me, buy or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, viagra buy misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first ever to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the socially, politically, environmentally and economically destructive role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which the French later changed to Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonisers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haitians were still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing them from investing it in their own economic development.

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to migrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to send back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Is it just me, dosage or did anyone else find the mainstream media coverage of Haiti’s earthquake confusing, page misleading, inconclusive and, quite frankly, infuriating?  OK, so that’s what I should expect from mainstream media sources, I hear you cry.  But when all the countries now so involved in aid have been so recently implicated in the de-stabilisation of Haiti’s government and economy, not talking about it in over two weeks of constant prime time broadcasts constitutes pure misinformation. 
darkergreen
Illustrations by Anieszka Banks

There was perhaps a fraction of an abstract half-mention about previous US intervention somewhere…but basically nothing.  Instead, we heard vague statements about Haiti’s ‘history of violence’ and ‘bloody revolutions’ rolled out like a broken record as if this was actually meant to tell us something.  It could easily lead us to conclude that Haitians’ poverty was down to themselves, their culture and their inability to sort their country out.  Haitians are being represented as savage looters to justify the need for foreign military presence.

So how about the country that was the first ever to revolt against slavery and emancipate itself from centuries of barbaric colonial rule?  And how about the socially, politically, environmentally and economically destructive role of France, the US and other Western nations in Haiti?  I resolved to get back to BA French books, essays and notes for some intense history revision.  This week I looked at Haiti’s colonial history and debt.

Haiti, now 98% deforested, was a rich and beautiful island before colonisation and debt.  Haiti’s name comes from the native language, which described the island as ‘Ayti’ (mountainous), until the Spanish changed it to ‘Hispaniola’ (little Spain), which the French later changed to Saint Dominique.   Columbus found it in 1492, tried to form a settlement, found the natives hostile to his ideas, and returned in 1493.  Hispaniola was the first European settlement in the ‘New World’.
Anieszka_illus1blue

The Spanish colonisers gradually eradicated the native population with diseases and inhumane treatment, so hundreds of thousands of Africans were enslaved and transported to Haiti to meet the rising need for labour.  The French started getting interested in the booming economy, and gradually gained possession of the island by 1659.  By 1750 Haiti was Europe’s most important exporter of sugar, making it the main source of economic growth for the French government.

By 1791 the slaves had started organising themselves in revolt and what followed was a long battle for emancipation.  Led by figures like Toussaint L’Ouverture , they freed themselves from their European masters and gained independence in 1804, the first colonised country ever to do so.  They had managed to defeat the last-ditch attempts of the huge armies of three empires to recapture Haiti:  Britain, who sent 50 000 troops in 1796, France in 1803 (the Haitians defeated 35 000 troops led by Napoleon Bonaparte), and numerous Spanish armies between 1791 and 1804.   The US, another nation dependant on slavery, only recognised Haiti’s independence almost 60 years later, in 1862. 

But by 1825, Haiti was again trapped by extreme debt.  The French government, defeated and humiliated by the loss of its most prized colony, ordered Haiti to pay the ex-colonisers compensation for the property they had lost, and the estimated economic loss to the French government.  This totalled $150 million: $150 million that ex-slaves had to pay back to their ex-masters.  France and other Western powers, fearing that their other colonies would also start revolting, threatened Haiti with an economic embargo if they refused to pay the compensation, so Haitians had no choice.  It was a sum that left the island crippled with debt to French, US and German banks, and one that it was only able to finish repaying about $90 million of in 1947.  So until so recently, Haitians were still repaying this sum to the wealthy French government, preventing them from investing it in their own economic development.

Haiti also still owes the International Monetary Fund $165 million.  IMF and World Bank loans came with strict conditions called Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs).  SAPs aim to reorganise a country’s government and economy so it can repay debt as rapidly as possible.  Requirements include cuts in public spending, making more money available for debt repayment but meaning health care and education become inaccessible for the majority of the population.  Cheap, intensive, trade-union-free labour needs to be made readily available for easy foreign investment.  The economy needs to become export-led. Imported products become cheaper than domestic goods.  Farmers and manufacturers within the country can no longer compete and lose their livelihoods meaning domestic agriculture industry and trade are stifled.  The best land is used for intensive, large-scale, export-bound production, leading to soil erosion and deforestation. 

Deforestation in Haiti
deforestation

Food production was so badly managed as a result of the structural adjustment free-market policies, that Haiti, once a huge exporter of rice, became a net importer of it.  Growing starvation in the once self-sufficient rural regions meant that people had to migrate en masse to cities, forming slums on its outskirts.  This is also why the devastation in Port au Prince was particularly severe.  

Haiti continues to owe about $891million to international banks and governments and NGOs worldwide are calling for people to sign petitions for it to be dropped.  So next time you see appeals for aid, remember how much of it Haiti will have to send back in debt repayment.  

“It is one of the poorest countries in the world and yet the International Monetary Fund (IMF) response to the earthquake was to offer a $100 million loan. This loan would increase Haiti’s debt burden at this time of crisis. If  Haiti’s debts aren’t cancelled, the country will be sending tens of millions to the IMF and other international bodies even as it struggles to rescue and rebuild” say Oxfam

There are various petitions you can sign to pressure the IMF to drop Haiti’s debt, whether they help or not is another question.  Haiti should, in fact be repaid every last penny of what it paid in compensation to ex-colonisers.  But what certainly is needed is a rapid growth of consciousness about how sustainable development and democracy continue to be stifled by the economic policies of our governments and financial institutions.

For two petitions calling Haiti’s debt to be canceled see:
Oxfam International
Christian Aid

Next week I’ll be looking at a Haiti’s more recent history, as well as the very creative ways in which people are raising awareness and money.
Banks, look bonuses, pilule unethical investment…it’s all so sickening and frustrating!  But yesterday evening I went to a talk by a lending society with a difference.  While a lot of the focus of my research recently has been on community groups and organisations, cost it is also good to hear about initiatives working to change our current economic system from within.    The talk was at the Howies Carnaby Street shop, as part of their regular programme of their Wee-do talks on sustainability.
alice
(Alice Mwelu shows off a bag that the women at Bega Kwa Bega have weaved. Korogocho slum, Nairobi.  All photos courtesy of Shared Interest)

Shared Interest, Sally explained, work along strict ethical principles, lending money to community-based businesses that have attained fair trade certification, allowing them to purchase raw materials, tools, develop their businesses and work their way out of poverty.  The businesses they are approached by for finance range from design and printing companies to tea-growers and arts and craft cooperatives, like the Nairobi-based handicraft cooperative Bega Kwa Bega whose photos are included here.

sewing

Individuals, businesses or organisations (at the moment only from the UK) can invest money into Shared Interest.  They currently have 8,700 members who have invested more than £24million in total.  A member can withdraw his or her investment at any time, meaning it is almost like a bank account, but there is no interest paid on your investment.  “The huge returns on your investment are social, rather than financial”, Sally said, and this is what most drove her to work for the cooperative.  Sally explained that it is almost a no-brainer for companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility programmes, as all they have to do is invest money (that they are actually free to withdraw at any time if they wish).  Most investors at the moment are individuals however.  Even though the investing part is so easy, the effect it has is very direct.
women weaving

(Women weave baskets at Bega Kwa Bega in Korogocho slum, Nairobi)

Shared Interest works through fair trade offices around the world, allowing them to get more immediate contact with people who apply for a loan.  They also have their own offices in Kenya, Costa Rica and one recently opened in Lima, Peru.  They have found a huge rise in the number of people applying for loans since they opened their international offices.
 
sisal

(Women weave baskets while freshly dyed sisal dries in the sun (which will be weaved into baskets) at Bega Kwa Bega, in Korogocho slum, Nairobi.  Photo courtesy of Shared Interest)

I asked Sally what the criteria for receiving a loan were and she explained “Shared interest isn’t a microfinance company, so we do actually lend to business that have existed for three years and have gained the fair trade certification.  Once they have applied for a loan we work out a business plan with them.  Once this is done, we work out together what interest rate the business can afford in their repayments.”  Sally stressed that this part of Shared Interest is important to her personally.  They work in partnership with the people they lend money to.  If there is difficulty or delay with repayments, the people from Shared Interest will work with the business to see what they can do to help. 

material

(Lucy Nyambura measures out material with which to make a bag at Bega Kwa Bega, in Korogocho slum, Nairobi)

As for future plans, Sally hopes more people will find out about Shared Interest, and that they can build up more partnerships with schools, thus teaching children more about trade, economics and Fair Trade.  Some schools have already participated in Shared Interest by investing the profit they make from their Fair Trade tuck shops.
bags

(A display of the bags and dolls that are made by the women at Bega Kwa Bega)

The Shared Interest Foundation also funds training and education on Fair Trade and many community-led schemes.  I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about them this year….and also seeing Sally in her banana costume as she promotes Fair Trade throughout the UK…!
3238269817_3bc7024140

The M/V Steve Irwin looks for a way out of a dense field of icebergs (Photo: Eric Cheng / Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

As a young kid, approved I was always fascinated by the idea that the Blue Whale, the biggest animal ever to have lived on this planet, was still out there roaming the oceans. I prized a giant mural of a whale above my bed and every couple of months I sent some of my pocket money off to organisations who worked to keep my whale friends safe. Although whales and the whaling issue were kept in the back of my mind, it wasn’t until I reached my mid-twenties that I started realizing that these wonderful creatures were still actively being hunted, despite all the protection they are supposed to enjoy under international treaties. The more I read up on it, the crazier the whole situation seemed. For example, Fin whales are listed as an endangered (and thus protected) species on the IUCN Red List since 1996. They are illegaly hunted down and killed every year in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, a protected area for whales put in place by the United Nations in the mid 90′s. A whaling fleet from Japan enters these Antarctic waters around mid December to kill nearly 1000 whales (Piked whales and Fin whales) for ‘scientific research’.

Minke whaleIllustrations by Kerry Lemon

One night, after reading some news articles about whaling, I just got so angry. Here are these beautiful creatures, hunted down and killed for a bit of quick money. Scientific research? Yeah, right! It makes me mad when I think about some ignorant businessmen down the line, filling their pockets with total disregard for the animals, the environment and the future generations that I hope will live to see these majestic creatures live freely like they deserve to, just as much as we humans do.

My anger quickly translated into action and within weeks I signed up to join the Sea Shepherd ship’s crew for their annual anti-whaling campaign in the Southern Ocean. Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson is known for his direct action tactics and the fact that he won’t back down from opposition or controversy and is more willing than anyone to put up a fight to defend ocean wildlife. Since 1979, Sea Shepherd has scuttled and sunk 10 illegal whaling ships at dockside, rammed and boarded ships at sea and confiscated many miles of illegal longline and driftnet. All this in the last 32 years in a war that has put the lives of whales, seals, dolphins, sharks, fish and sea birds first. Most importantly, a war in which Sea Shepherd has never sustained or caused injury to anyone as a result of its actions.

3239108510_1131036cd6

A whale surfaces at the edge of the sea ice in Antarctica. (Photo by Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

As a trained violin maker I had no ship skills whatsoever but the ship’s carpenter role was one I was able to fill. Sometimes people ask me what carpentry work there is to do on a ship. ‘Surely it’s all steel?’ Honestly, I have never made so many cabinets, bunks, cupboards, boxes, holders, storage racks, tables, benches, toilet roll holders and other wooden contraptions as in the last 18 months. The ship is always a hive of activity with deckhands, engineers, quartermasters, officers and cooks working hard to get the ship in top shape for the job at hand. Having been involved in activism for over 10 years, I don’t think I’ve ever worked with such a dedicated, hard working and committed bunch of people.

Bryde's whale

With a samba band, Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin and many local people waving us off at dockside, we left Fremantle on 7th December with a course set for Antarctica. As soon as we left the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone we were trailed by a Japanese surveillance vessel, which has been following us ever since. We will reach the whaling grounds within the next few days and more that ever before we have the ability to shut them down. We have more resources at our disposal, more public support than ever before and the people of Japan are increasingly questioning the ongoing spending of millions of their tax payers money on this useless and cruel industry.
091214_Shonan_Maru_No_2_02_(BV1187)

Close up of the Japanese harpoon ship. (Photo: Barbara Veiga / Sea Shepherd)

As the world leaders gathered in Copenhagen last month, failing to come to an agreement on tackling climate change and make emission cuts mandatory by international law, we were forced to set sail for thousands of miles to uphold another bit of major legislation they had agreed upon, but which they chose to ignore to enforce. What was it again, this thing agreed upon in the 80′s and at the time hailed as a massive victory for conservation? Something to do with whales?

If the nations of the world can so blatantly ignore an international treaty that is supposed to protect an endangered species in an established whale sanctuary, than what hope is there for the international community to enforce any type of legislation that is to fight climate change? The ongoing illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean is a slap in the face to conservation efforts around the world. A set back for environmental activists the world over. A stab in the back to those people who worked so hard to get the legislation agreed upon in the first place. For the sake of the whales, the international community and future generations we will sail into the Antarctic, find the whalers and give them what they deserve.

For latest updates and news, please see the Sea Shepherd website: www.seashepherd.org
Matthew_robins_death_of_flyAll Photographs courtesy of the London Word festival


What does the term ‘literary event’ say to you? A raised eyebrow here, buy information pills a bashful shuffle there, treatment a stifling silence rarely fractured by the sparse chorus of self-congratulatory applause? Well praise be the London Word Festival, decease which promises to beat the priggishness out of literature’s dust jacket and send it back-flipping and high-kicking from behind the curtain of perceived inaccessibility.

LWF_2010_Logo_col_1024px

corita2Photograph of Sister Corita The Screen Printing Nun

corita

Not that the month-long festival is overtly conscious of swimming against cultural tides; as is the case with all truly brilliant things, it just does, thanks to the headstrong conviction of the brains behind it to have a damn good time – and inspire others while they’re at it. Now in its third year, the London Word Festival – which will be taking over café/stage/pew/departure lounge spaces across east London from 7th March to 1st April – will count shadow-puppetry, DIY print workshops and multimedia hymnals in its ranks, from big names, new names and, well, made-up names.

Henninghams_David

Henninghams_PingPhotographs above of Henningham Family Press

Dates to ear-mark include the Henningham Family Press kicking off proceedings with its ‘Chip Shop’ screen-printing workshop at Tonybee Studios on Sunday 7th March, and its return later in the month to head up the celebration of Great British printing eccentricities in ‘Keep Printing and Carry On’ at Stoke Newington International Airport – with Darren Hayman, Murray Macauley and ‘Sister Corita The Screen Printing Nun’ in tow. Comedian Josie Long will be putting her own stamp on an as-yet-unnamed east London location with her ‘One Hundred Days to Make Me a Better Person’ show on 10th March, and stand-up Terry Saunders will be joining animator-cum-harmonium-wizard Matthew Robins and others to wade into ‘The Art of Storytelling’ at St Leonard’s Church on 31st March.

FoundInTranslation2

DarrenHayman_med

The festival closes on 1st April with a face-off between John Hegley’s brand of post-modern perplexed poetry and the Found in Translation poets’ exercise in satire-tipped multimedia performance lecture. So, though literature wasn’t for you? There’s never been a better excuse to eat your words.

danweir_100days

JOSIE-LONGPhotograph of Josie Long

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One Response to “London Word Festival”

  1. [...] More details to follow in our March Newsletter, but meanwhile we point you to the festival website and coverage at Amelia’s Magazine. [...]

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