“To Know How You Stand 2.0: 50 Years of Protest at Warwick University”
Week One Blog by Anna Himali Howard
we spent sunday thinking about protests, their form, content and meaning. the rhythms and sounds of a protest as well as the texts. how they’re viewed from the outside and the inside. how they’re branded and marketed.
when we get into the room, we get to know each other.
we decide on some ground rules. what are the ethics of this room? what are we for and against when we’re working and making?
we have fascinating discussions – theoretical, anecdotal, angry, sad, passionate discussions. they feed what we do, but they mustn’t replace the act of doing: at a certain point we decide on less talking and more action.
talk, listen, act, repeat.
in the middle of the room is the soapbox. we move with purpose, righteousness and determination about tiny and giant problems. anyone can jump up and say their piece and be listened to. be alert to the crack in your voice, the slight tremor as you realise you don’t know where this sentence might go, the cadence and speed of the words. you’re allowed to end with a bang, not an apology. you can be a master rhetorician addressing the crowd. you can be an angry teenager writing in your diary. you don’t have the solution.
it feels like we’re learning to make a show, but also learning to make a protest. we’re learning how to get in a room with a bunch of people who are mad as hell about many different things, how to contain that plurality and maintain a strength of purpose, how to look after each other, create a safe space for discussion and listening, and how to translate that discussion into action.