Category Archives: Theory

(Im)possible School with Five Years

A discussion around the open submission project (Im)possible School Book: as found




Pearson Lecture Theatre, Pearson Building, UCL, London

14th and 15th July, 10-5pm

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Manuel Castells at Occupylsx

This a rare opportunity to see Manuel Castells speak in London. I have a feeling this will be seriously well-attended and may be shifted to the Bank of Ideas building on Sun Street. Keep an eye on the Occupylsx site for details. Castells is a Spanish urban sociologist who was the first to systematically map the dominant characteristics of what he called The Information Society. His work has been incredibly influential in analyzing the ways in which information networks shape the society as a whole. He identified a number of key characteristics of the network society, such as the space of flows, timeless time and real virtuality.

Details here:

A Communication from Rasputin’s Severed Penis

I recently received this document, entitled The Politics of Further Education, from an individual working in the FE sector who preferred to remain anonymous.  It gets pretty Kafkaesque in places and would probably be quite funny if it wasn’t true, enjoy!

extract from email conversation:

RSP – ‘I do NOT want this going out under my name as it could go down badly should my employers (current or future) google me. But you can publish it under my pseudonym Rasputin’s Severed Penis’

JT – [reads article] it really is the description of a police state; the laws are so excessive that everyone is compelled to break them continuously, in which case punishment is no longer for failure to obey the ostensible laws but for failing to make the correct gestures of obedience, the crime with which you are initially charged is entirely arbitrary and incidental.

RSP – Completely agree with your description of a police state. Everything seems to be getting more and more bizarre and the symbolic fictions seem to be increasingly detaching from any mooring in reality. As the pendulum of real power swings from West to East the West clings increasingly fervently to its ideological constructs, which are now completely, hopelessly fractured and inconcomitant… and up to now we’ve only had the good bit of capitalism. Oh Fuck.

What We Talked About Then

I thought I would put together a few comments/notes from the series of talks at Five Years the other week, these follow on specifically from Chris Knight’s presentation on the origins of language and why chimps can’t talk.

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After the Car Crash

Here are the texts that the presentations that John Cussans, Andrew Cooper and I made at the ‘It Started With a Car Crash’ event at the Slade on the 18th October were based on.

Andrew Cooper – The Mask of Freedom

John Cussans – The Paradoxes of Protest

Jon Trayner – Not a Manifesto

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A number of free-schoolers will be speaking at this event on Tuesday. John Cussans will be speaking about The Paradoxes of Protest Pedagogy in a ‘Research Culture’, Andrew Cooper will be talking about politically engaged art work drawing on his experiences with the Portman and Communist Galleries, Jon Trayner will be speaking about the uncertainties generated by his ‘This is not a Manifesto’ reading and Dean Kenning will give a short talk about his work for TATE education.

The event is free and open to all. Space is limited however to about 200 people. So if you would like to come along please email David Burrows at

Hope to see you there. Continue reading