minute-like notes/note-like minutes
DATE 8th July 2013
NB: Also see CP Pot-luck Picnic on the Public Furniture - July 5, 2013.
meeting convening at Ace and Lion
THOSE PRESENT: Scott, Amy, Metod, Neil, Marsha, Kuba, David and Cinzia (via skype)
APOLOGIES: Sharon and Karem
CHAIR: NONE, which helps to explain why the meeting was so chaotic. Though it was also a pleasant departure from the non-experimental ritual of having a chair and minute taker and may be worth trying other formats than chair and secretary.
MINUTES: Marsha with help from others
Item 1: General Catchup
To discuss: post-doc: what might it mean for CP going forward...
- Marsha is pleased to be back. She sketches the post-doc as composed of three aspects (see the job description, posted here:
- (1) continuing to do what she's been doing in CP and researching through the cluster on a project that overlaps with CP's ongoing work on evaluation (previously value);
- (2) actively pursuing ways of resourcing the cluster via a mixed economy of financial resources and support in kind, etc.;
- (3) weaving together research interests at CCW that come under what Neil has termed 'an economy of creativity' though Marsha prefers the phrase 'economy of practice' - Contemporary Marxism Collective and the sustainability/resilience agenda.
- Marsha points out that University used to see post-doc mainly as a fund-raising post, but Neil suggests that it changed, and that in the current climate nobody expects Marsha to bring in a lot of money, and that people at the University realize that there are other values at stake. Kuba refers to the problems of externalization of costs, which are covered by clusters like CP, but not paid by the institutions. Facing austerity institutions manage to sustain their programs by tapping into unpaid resouces / labour. We agree that recognition of intersected values is the first step in their potential reimbursement.
- We discuss resource streams - Marsha shares with CP that she'd like to propose a stock portfolio - David talks about his experience of trying to negotiate with the University to use an 'ethical' bank. We reflect on our institutional context. Powerful forms of authority are concentrated at the top of the University (UAL). We need to be careful about conflating bodies like the Posd-doc Management Group with higher level management in the UAL. How can we create value, and it not be expropriated? How can we explore the value of money? How is the university invested? SOAS (allegedly) was heavily invested in weapons companies (?) How do we get resources redistributed? What are our assets? What are our resources? We decide to take a closer look at CCW's resources.
There's discussion about the Parade Ground. Marsha and Kuba propose that Parade Ground could be used as the resource to be used / commoned as a mean of generating resources. Neil suggests that CP could propose to "take over" the management of Parade Ground, which is currently an untapped resource to help 'fund' future projects. Scott has a problem with that as he does not feel like turning CP into real estate management agency. He suggests that CP should rather tap into its skills. He suggests that CP considers other ways to better use its skills, that may be within other CP members interests. These ideas include the possibilty of a franchise UAL college, or course, in South Korea or Dubai. Another idea could be for CP to run a summer course, which UAL and many institutions have a schedule of and several CP members have experience with. The decision is taken to investigate resources / values and pitch them during longer session. We will use the enthusiasm index to make decisions.
- We discuss the division of labour in CP - the post-doc doesn't mean that Marsha will manage or administrate CP. The cluster's social reproduction is a shared practice. Several concerns are raised, moving us along to the second agenda point (recognised as such in retrospect)...
Action: Marsha to continue what she's been doing in CP in tandem with the post-doc's other areas. She'll evidence development the post-doc on the wiki. You can find a link to this area here.
Item 2; Self-organisation
To discuss:Now that CP is back in action, how are we working together?
- No one is chairing the meeting and it's chaotic/overwhelming. It's noted that CP tends to drift from topic to topic...
- The post-doc has proved a bit of a lightening rod for questions about CP's self-organisation. And the terms of the cluster's self-organisation seem core to its body of research on evaluation. It's suggested that we may think of ourselves as a social enterprise or a cooperative. But is 'the answer' new and different organisation? Neil says that we have practices in place but fail to practise them, pointing out that there are only two members of CP doing administrative labour, not especially, but also in relation to managing the wiki (without naming names, but everyone shares an understanding who he means). Cinzia points out that historically administrative tasks have not been given a lot value within CP, and that these proposals are very intensive in terms of administrative tasks. Kuba's concern is that current practices (basically wiking, working groups, scheduling meetings) are not sufficient to deal with division of labour and distribution of resources. Though CP tries to deal with that, it is an ongoing and never resolved problem. Metod mentions that as he is unpaid for working at CP he has limited capacity for this kind of duties, trying to contribute in other ways. Metod and Scott suggest that there should be a difference between 'paid' and 'unpaid' members of the cluster in terms of expectations regarding admin work, which provokes a heated discussion and voices of dissent. One view (expanded here after the heated discussion) is that the wiki is not the easiest tool to work on. In the past several years it has been more manageable for some than others, which has been repeatedly pointed out, and those who navigate it easiest are the ones taking minutes most while those who are more comfortable lifting crates, drafting an e-mail, and doing other tasks have perhaps organically trended towards those tasks. The decision is taken that we need to spend some time on this; it's more than an agenda point, it's a meeting in its own right. It would be good to refresh our structure as dispersed across properties, working groups and functional elements We agree to dedicate a meeting to this in the fall..
Item 3: Current/ongoing research - from 'value' to 'evaluation'
To discuss: Where are we and where are we going?
- We check in to be sure what we're still interested in pursing value as a research focus and decide that 'evaluation' is more effective way to think about what we're doing. If 'valuation/valorisation' is bestowing value on something, 'evaluation' refers to a process of determining value.
- We also agree that we'll continue moving towards a large event - we're thinking about May of 2015 - something like The Market of Values - though perhaps a 'Market of Evaluation' is more appropriate, given our shift from 'value/valorisation' to 'evaluation'. David's concern is if it is not too late to organize an event in two years time. There is an emphasis on the process and we can organize several events which will lead to the larger project, like it was in the case of Parade.
Cinzia speaking by Skype proxy
- There's recognition that late capitalism functions via an externalisation of costs - so these costs are assumed by 'workers' (?) in ways that render it largely invisible. But then again, not everything we do is labour, is it? How do we make things like affective relations part of the organisational equation? But there's a difference between resourcing and the payment for labour/recompense, isn't there? These are issues to take forward...
- We review the brokers events and acknowledge that part of their value resides in their structural capacity to explore knowledge as situated and embodied. This is to acknowledge the evaluative difference between, for instance, learning about the law courts in a lecture hall and encountering them bodily. A shared/physical encounter can be powerful!
- There's a suggestion that we should think about reverse engineering our event - the point is made that when there's not a project to hand, there's a tendency for interpersonal conflict to erupt. One view is it's useful to come up with a goal (vs. meeting and working without a goal) and then if it changes or evolves in the process, which it likely would, that's ok. There's rough consensus that it would be a mistake to determine exactly what we're going to do and then go about doing it - but it's useful to have a rough date, a rough scale and a broad theme.
Item 3: Letter in support of Trenton Oldfield
To discuss: Should CP write a reference letter in support of Trenton? His visa has not been renewed by UKBA on the grounds that his actions are not in the public good.
- Neil, David, Cinzia and Amy depart and Marsha serves the curry
- The discussion heats up - there are various perspectives on the pros/cons of CP writing in support of Trenton.
- Ideological differences come to the fore and we all take a breath, but first we have a heated and emotional discussion related to varied understanding of justice, responsibility, political action, moral integrity, migration laws. Eventually we agree to disagree on certain matters. Kuba believes that it is a condition of possibility of CP as a cluster.
- It's agreed that we'll write a reference letter on behalf of Trenton that states the facts of our interaction with Trenton. We also recognised this won't be signed by the UAL, but that we'll use our official blurb of research cluster related to UAL...
Item 4: The CP wiki and archiving
- Talk about the wiki - two levels - administrative level (internal to the cluster) and the archiving mode (externally facing) - different functions...discuss PDFs, calendars, etc.
This was tabled.
- Meet in the fall to discuss/workshop our self-organisation - this includes identifying working groups (?); functional elements, etc.
- Meet in the fall to identify CP resources and opportunities to generate them, pitch in ways of their economization / utilization. Enthusiasm index will be created to constitute working groups.
- Meet in the fall to discuss where we want to go next with our research into value - further consolidation of our broker's series seems useful
- Write a reference letter for Trenton Oldfield. Find out more about this--and the issues that it raised--here.
- Marsha to evidence the post-doc's evolution on the wiki. You can find a link to this area here
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