Sound and Community Organizing [uk London]

red.jpgULTRA-RED: Raven Row Sessions in Spitalfields, London seeks applicants for Sessions: Saturdays 4, 18 April, 2, 16 and 30 May 2009; and a Concluding Public Event: 11 June 2009, 18:00PM.

What is the sound of community organising? A five-session practice-based workshop on activism and sound art open to UK-based artists, social movement activists, community organisers, and students. The artist activist collective Ultra-red will present a workshop in five daylong sessions at Raven Row, a new contemporary art exhibition centre in Spitalfields, London. The workshop introduces participants to the art of sound and learning from what we hear in the methods and politics of community organising. For fifteen years Ultra-red has used sound to investigate anti-racist organising, the struggles of migration, social housing mobilisation, and AIDS activism. This history informs the approach to sound art and activism presented in the Raven Row Sessions.

Drawing on the experiences and investments of workshop participants, each of the five sessions will examine our understanding and practice of community organising. Workshops will include walking tours of the city; making site-specific audio recordings; an analytical listening to recorded sounds; generating new strategies for collective action; investigations into the crucial concepts of political process, participation, and political action; and a final public event held at Raven Row featuring the collaborations of participants.

Fifteen participants in the Raven Row Sessions will be selected through an application process. Ultra-red is seeking participants who have experience in community organising, social movement activism, or radical research and/or who work in sound art. Individuals do not need to be an artist or a musician in order to apply. Applicants must be 16 years or older. Given the cumulative nature of the workshop, participants must commit to attending all five sessions. Participants should be prepared to conduct site-visits in the city and listen intensively. Bring your experiences, open mind, open ears, and an eagerness to collaborate. Equipment, materials, travel stipend, and meals will be provided.

Application: Raven Row Sessions is limited to fifteen participants. Applicants must submit a 350 to 400-word description of their artistic and/or community-based work. Students are welcome to apply. Submissions must include applicant’s name, home address, email and contact telephone number. Deadline for application is Sunday 15 March. Email application to Or send application by mail to: RAVEN ROW SESSIONS, c/o Raven Row, 56 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LS.

About Ultra-red: Founded fifteen years ago in Los Angeles, Ultra-red conduct Militant Sound Investigations alongside social justice movements where sound is both the medium and the site of the investigation. While the image serves as the foundation for much of our understanding of activist art, Ultra-red turn the focus to the ear: the sound of communities organising themselves, the acoustics of spaces of dissent, the demands and desires in our voices and in our silences, and the echoes of historical memories of struggle. These investigations take the form of audio recordings, art exhibitions, performances, or simple walking tours. The nine members of Ultra-red work with organisations such as Rural Racism Project (Devon, UK), the autonomous community development organisation Union de Vecinos (Los Angeles), the German anti-racist network Kanak Attak, Community HIV/AIDS Mobilisation Project (New York/Los Angeles), and Woodcraft Rangers which facilitates education programmes in sixty-one schools in Los Angeles County.


Ultra-red members facilitating Raven Row Sessions include:

Elizabeth Blaney (Ultra-red member since 1997) is an organizer with the autonomous community development organisation Union de Vecinos in East Los Angeles.

Manuela Bojad?ijev (2001) co-founded the German anti-racist migratory network Kanak Attak and participates in various
anti-racist movements in Germany and across Europe.

Pablo Garcia (1999) organises inquiry-based education projects in Los Angeles County schools with the organisation Woodcraft Rangers.

Janna Graham (2005) initiated radical arts education initiatives with artists, youth, indigenous and migrant groups
in Toronto and is currently Education Projects Curator at the Serpentine Gallery.

Taisha Paggett (2006) performs extensively as a professional dancer. She also teaches dance in Los Angeles.

Elliot Perkins (2005) is a community organiser for Rural Racism Project in the southwest of England.

Dont Rhine (co-founded Ultra-red in 1994) is an activist in Los Angeles with Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project and teaches in the low-residency MFA Visual Art Progamme at Vermont College of Fine Art.

Robert Sember (2005) has taught art and public health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University New
York, UCLA, and NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Leonardo Vilchis (1997) is executive director of Union de Vecinos in East Los Angeles coordinating initiatives around
fair housing, urban planning, and participatory local government.

This workshop is presented as part of Ultra-red’s residency at Raven Row, a new contemporary art exhibition centre run by Alex Sainsbury. While in the UK, members of the group will support Ultra-red’s ongoing anti-racist work in the rural Southwest of England and early sound investigations with students and teachers in the Edgware Road neighbourhood, the latter undertaken in partnership with Serpentine Gallery.

Feb 22, 2009
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