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Posts from February 2007

Save the Workhouse!


Most of the time I tend to indulge my interest in theory here on TIGS.

But this is something different - I've got a live brief for you all and we need your help.

The above beautiful building is the only preserved Workhouse in the UK. It's in Wales and a couple of years ago the building was saved from being turned into flats when the ‘Llanfyllin Building Preservation Trust’ bought the property, using a loan from the Architectural Heritage Fund,  in the hope of preserving and restoring it.

Last summer a group of volunteers formed the "The Workhouse Project" group in the hope of helping to turn the building into a community, entertainment, arts and education centre. My friend is one of them and, having toiled for months with no funding purely as volunteers, setting up The Workhouse Festival to raise funds, they are about to run out of time.

The trust's loan period with the AHF is about to run out and payments of £350,000 need to be made:

If our project does not go ahead then the Workhouse will be developed for private housing which is a solution that none of the parties involved or the community favour. Preparations are being made for that at the moment so we are running somewhat towards a deadline. Luckily the festival will take place once more on the same site and we are hoping that the building will not be sold by then. This gives us ample opportunity for campaigning and rallying for support in the run up to the summer and through the festival connection hitting the right target groups easily. 

These guys are trying to turn this place into something special - they even have a business plan.

Download project_plan.doc

They are approaching banks with it, but the concern is that payments during the first couple of years of the restoration might cripple them. Donations, membership schemes and corporate investment would allow a more friendly development.  Any contribution would be greatly appreciated.

So there you are. A real live brief. Who's got an idea? Relevant corporate sponsor? Cash heavy CSR programme? Welsh National Assembly contact? Art's Council relationship?

All comments, thoughts, ideas, suggestions, obvious or otherwise, gratefully received.

If you have a brainwave - please drop Nina a line. Otherwise, spread the word.

We are the machine

A long time ago, I wanted to do a post grad in hypertextual literary theory. Digital text is different to written text - being malleable, interactive, dynamic and so forth. Hypertext not only means that all texts are connected to all other texts creating a non-linear corpus that can be navigated however you choose, but that the idea of an author and a reader make less and less sense, everyone being both.

All these of these odd effects of digital and hyper text were in many ways foreshadowed by the ideas of Derrida and Barthes, and this intersection seemed to be a fascinating area of study. Well, to me at least.

In the end I didn't do it - the course I wanted to do was on hiatus for a few years and by the time it had come around again my life had moved on and into commercial communications.

Fortunately for me, Amelia has just pointed me in the direction of the above film, which pretty much covers it and brings the analysis bang up to web 2.0.

Back then the cutting edge of hyper text theory was all to do with MOOs. 

This time, we really will have to change the way we think about text.

And most other things.



On the 1st of February the French are organising a citizen mobilisation to draw attention to climate change by asking everyone to turn the lights out for five minutes between 18.55 and 19.00 GMT.

Why the 1st February? Because that is the day on which the latest report of the United Nations Panel of Experts is to be released in Paris. Although this event is scheduled to take place in France, we should not miss this opportunity of drawing attention to the global climatic situation.

Can't hurt.