Category: Uncategorized

Community wealth building and building a democratic economy – 14th February 2020

About the speaker:

First elected to Preston City Council to represent the Tulketh ward in 2002, Councillor Matthew Brown has since taken on portfolios that include Community Engagement, Inclusion, Social Justice and Policy Initiatives.

Matthew has been widely credited as the driving force behind the ‘Preston model’, an economic model that re-directs procurement from external suppliers to local producers as a response to central government funding cuts that have slashed the city’s budgets since 2011. Recently, Matthew and the Preston model have gained traction with economists searching for alternative economic theory and practice.

About the talk:
For decades it has been the case the current economic model has been less geared toward working in the interests of working people. This failure has been exacerbated by the global financial crisis of over a decade ago and from that deep austerity which has raised a debate about the need for new approaches with this systemic failure.

Community Wealth Building offers a response at a local and regional level which seeks to address issues around ownership and control of local economies. It is a growing international movement looking to create more democratic local communities in which a variety of approaches are adopted including public procurement, worker ownership, municipal enterprise including insourcing, living wage strategies, impact investing from local government and public pension funds and community banking.

Within the U.K. the ‘Preston Model’ has received substantial coverage as one of the first adopters but now over 50 areas in the U.K. are adopting community wealth building strategies ranging from the Scottish and Welsh Governments, Liverpool and Greater Manchester City Regions and a growing number of local authorities including a number now in London. This is a movement likely to grow stronger in coming years so come along to hear more at Headstrong.


The venue:
The Elephant And Castle
White Hill
Lewes
BN7 2DJ

Tickets:
They are £3 and you can purchase them on the door or about a week before at the venue. Please note that the capacity of the venue is limited, we recommend buying the ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

How does Politics affect our health? – 17th January 2019

About Rebecca Cooper:

Dr Rebecca Cooper is a Public Health Consultant who lives just down the Coast in Worthing. Rebecca undertook specialty training in Public Health in the NHS following completion of a Masters of International Public Health in Sydney, Australia. As well as the NHS, Rebecca has also worked in UK Local Authorities, with the World Health Organisation and international NGOs. Her most recent work is in the development of health programmes with BIMA Milvik, an innovative company that seeks to provide health insurance to people on low incomes, in countries where there is very little or no Public Health System.

Alongside her Public Health work, Rebecca has a keen interest in Politics and 2 years ago, became the first Labour Councillor to be elected to Worthing Borough Council in 41 years! She is now the Leader of a group of 10 Labour Councillors, and hopes to increase that number again in next May’s election. Rebecca was the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Worthing West in the last General Election, and has applied to stand again for whenever the next one is called!

About the talk:

How does Politics affect our health? Does it make a difference to our health which Party is running the UK and if so, how? In this presentation and subsequent discussion, Dr Cooper will present several pieces of evidence and perspectives on how politics interacts with key determinants of health, from the level of inequality in our society to the inclination of Governments to enact legislation to keep the population healthy.

The venue:
The Elephant And Castle
White Hill
Lewes
BN7 2DJ

Tickets:
They are £3 and you can purchase them on the door or about a week before in the venue. Please note that the capacity of the venue is limited, we recommend to buy the ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Climate Emergency and the case for Non-Violent Direct Action: A discussion with members of Extinction Rebellion. 6th March 2020

About the talk:
Over the course of a single year, civil disobedience campaigns have shifted the climate and ecological crisis back to where it needs to be – at the centre of public debate. Parliament has declared a Climate Emergency and is establishing a Citizens’ Assembly to discuss the issue. Some media organisations, notably the Guardian and the Mirror, have upped their game, exposing the polluters and connecting the dots between biodiversity loss and human extinction. People are listening to the science. A recent YouGov poll found 56% of people now back the total decarbonisation of the UK economy by 2030. As the world wakes up to the existential threat of a sixth mass extinction event and we head into an election in the UK, the climate crisis is the elephant in the room.
Those who are economically responsible for this situation, along with their political advocates, are growing anxious. The bungled attempt by the Metropolitan Police to deny Extinction Rebellion’s right to peaceful protest has been met with humiliation in the courts. So far so good, but there is still much to do and we have very little time. Extinction Rebellion invite you to discuss with us our strategy of peaceful non-violent direct action and consider what needs to be done to ensure the political establishment listens to the science and acts in time to save the planet.

About the speakers:

Dr Mark Slater: Mark is a retired university academic and the regional training coordinator for Extinction Rebellion.

Helen Frederick: Helen works in children’s services and joined the Rebellion in April, after the London uprising.

The venue:
The Elephant And Castle
White Hill
Lewes
BN7 2DJ

Tickets:
They are £3 and you can purchase them on the door or about a week before in the venue. Please note that the capacity of the venue is limited, we recommend to buy the ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Victorian (Com)modification of the Female Body and its current consequences – 25th November 2019

About Catherine Pope:

In 2014, Catherine was awarded a PhD by the University of Sussex for her research on how trashy Victorian fiction was used to promote radical feminist ideas. Since then, she has written a monograph on the novelist Florence Marryat and contributed chapters to several edited collections.

A decade ago, she established Victorian Secrets, an independent press dedicated to publishing books from and about the nineteenth century. Popular titles include the biography of a Prussian strongman and a novel about a bisexual psychic vampire.

Catherine Pope has enjoyed a diverse career as a web developer, academic, and workshop facilitator. She now works as a financial coach, helping clients to understand their relationship with money and achieve financial wellbeing.

Catherine loves Victorian novels, technology, and big books about pensions. You can find out more at www.catherinepope.com.

About the talk:

Victorian women are often perceived as paragons of virtue. However, to nineteenth-century doctors, their unruly, problematic bodies required control – often in extreme ways. While we might think of FGM as a recent problem for the UK, this type of mutilation was practised in the era of our great-grandparents. In this talk, Catherine Pope argues that the commodification of women’s bodies 150 years ago has profound consequences for how female sexuality is viewed in the 21st century.

The venue:
The Elephant And Castle
White Hill
Lewes
BN7 2DJ

Tickets:
They are £3 and you can purchase them on the door or about a week before in the venue. Please note that the capacity of the venue is limited, we recommend to buy the ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Case for a Real Living Wage Friday – Dr Sonya Baksi – 11th October 2019

About Dr Sonya Baksi:

Sonya Baksi worked over a 40 period in the NHS and was a consultant community paediatrician. Her early work was in inner London during a period of urban regeneration and service development. This was followed by retrenchment and the introduction of the business ethics into the NHS with cutbacks in support services for families. Sonya has served on national committees and served a year on secondment at the Department of Health when guidance was being drawn up for the Children Act of 1989. She has lectured widely in her professional field. Sonya is a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health and a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health.

About the talk:

Sonya has long been concerned about the effects of poverty on family life. Her first substantive post was in a multi-deprived area of inner London. Later she worked in Sussex and profiled child deprivation here. The significance of child poverty will be discussed. The National Minimum Wage was introduced in 1998 and the National Living Wage in 2016. Sonya will discuss the background to this legislation and the work of the Living Wage Foundation. We are currently seeing an upsurge in family poverty with 70% of the four million children currently in poverty having working parents. Local action by Lewes for a Living Wage will be reviewed and ways forward adopted by other countries will be explored.

The venue:
The Elephant And Castle
White Hill
Lewes
BN7 2DJ

Tickets:
They are £3 and you can purchase them on the door or about a week before in the venue. Please note that the capacity of the venue is limited, we recommend to buy the ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

Raphie Kaplinsky – The Crisis in Capitalism and the rise of Populism – 5th of July 2019

About the speaker:
Raphie Kaplinsky is a development economist and an Honorary Professor at the Science Policy Research Unit and an Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University. He has published extensively on the related themes of globalisation and equalization. He has also assisted governments, the United Nations, firms and local authorities in developing policies to promote industrial and technological restructuring. More recently he has been working on urban regeneration in Newhaven. He is currently writing a book on the Crisis in Capitalism.

About the talk:
Since the Industrial Revolution, Capitalism has experienced a series of growth surges, each of which has been accompanied by an ensemble of complementary and supportive social relations which include patterns of governance, lifestyles and value systems. Each of these growth surges has degraded and run its course and, and after a period of turmoil, been replaced by a new “socio-technical system”. We are currently witnessing the exhaustion of the post-WW2 growth surge which is proving to be economically, socially and environmentally unsustainable. Although we can envisage what a more sustainable future might look like, we struggle to imagine and manage a peaceful transition between paradigms. This talk will focus on the social unsustainability of the current growth surge, arguing that one of the forms which it is taking is a rise in populism.

The venue:
The Elephant And Castle
White Hill
Lewes
BN7 2DJ

Tickets:
They are £3 and you can purchase them on the door or about a week before in the venue. Please note that the capacity of the venue is limited, we recommend to buy the ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

7th June 2019 – Suryamayi Clarence-Smith – Alternative Communities

Headstrong Club

“Auroville: a 50-years old experiment in Alternative Society”

About Suryamayi

Suryamayi was born and raised in Auroville, India, the largest and among the longest-standing intentional communities in the world. She is currently a doctoral researcher in Development Studies at the University of Sussex, focussing on how the Auroville experiment furthers our understanding of the practice and potential of shaping conscious, alternative societies. Her work engages with several aspects of community – notably socio-economy, governance, education, and cultural life – exploring how these are shaped within Auroville, and by its spiritual ideals.

Suryamayi previously wrote an award-winning bachelor’s thesis on the community at the University of California, Berkeley, with which she graduated with highest honours. She regularly lectures on her research and experience of Auroville, of which she is an on-going member, at international conferences in India, Europe and North America. In Auroville, Suryamayi is active in facilitating research related to the community, community administration, and conscious embodiment practices.

About the Talk

“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias.” Oscar Wilde

Throughout human history, we have aspired for progress in human society. For centuries philosophers, economists, writers and political scientists have theorized and envisioned how ideal societies may be construed, and intentional communities have often acted as laboratories for the implementation of these ideas. Most such utopian communal experiments were short-lived, although not unsuccessful in pioneering change in the mainstream societies in which they were embedded.

Auroville, an international, spiritual township founded in 1968 in southern India, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year as the largest and most diverse intentional community in the world, with approximately 3000 people of over 50 nationalities, half of which are Indian citizens. Inspired by an experimental ethos and an applied spiritualism that seeks to engage with and transform all aspects of individual and collective life towards a more conscious and sustainable society, over the last 50 years, Auroville has been a focal point for the development of myriad alternative practices, in the realms of governance, economics, education, environmentalism, and others – some of them award-winning, inspiring people and projects worldwide.

It is endorsed by both the Government of India and by UNESCO; these (and other) national and international bodies have chosen to do so because Auroville represents a viable attempt at realizing a ‘model’ society. However, unlike previous utopian communities, which often sought to enact predetermined, theoretically perfect, societies – and invariably failed to do so – Auroville was conceived without a blueprint, as a “laboratory for evolution.” Its process of development is a fascinating, applied quest and experiment in holistically prefiguring an ever-evolving, spiritualised society.

“Communities are also laboratories for social change, and a new generation is being socialized within the community culture,” observes intentional community movement scholar Marguerite Bouvard. A born and raised Aurovilian, I am a voice of that socialization, I speak to and from my personal experience of growing up in Auroville – as well as of my cosmopolitan experience of having lived, worked and studied in both Europe and the United States – in discussing how the Auroville experiment can inform progress in broader social contexts, while careful consideration of the transferability of its endemic practices and spiritual culture.

The venue:
The Elephant And Castle
White Hill
Lewes
BN7 2DJ

Tickets:
They are £3 and you can purchase them on the door or about a week before in the venue. Please note that the capacity of the venue is limited, we recommend to buy the ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

Foil Vedanta – Samarendra Das – 17th May 2019

About the speaker and the talk:

Samarendra Das an activist and London based documentary filmmaker. Founder of Foil Vedanta, Das team research unraveled the complex workings of mining multinational Vedanta Resources Ltd., exposed illegal breaches of national and international labour, human rights and environmental law, and financial irregularities while registered in London Stock Exchange (LSE). Recent ‘Vedanta’s Billions’ report by Foil Vedanta ( http://www.foilvedanta.org/news/vedantas-billions-regulatory-failure-environment-and-human-rights-report-released/ ) was submitted to the Financial Conduct Authrority (FCA). In October 2018 Vedanta’s was delisted from the LSE. Foil Vedanta Das played an important part protecting Niyamgiri, the Dongria Khond’s sacred mountain, in 2013, and in bringing recently the environmental liability of River Kafue ongoing pollution in Zambian Copperbelt to London courts of justice.

Foil Vedanta is currently monitoring Vedanta’s copper smelter operation in Tamil Nadu, India, following its shutdown after the 22 May 2018 police shooting that killed 14 protestors against the three decades long polluting copper industry there. While Das is sometimes presented as anti-development bogey, with separatist agenda and who does not want India to be developed, his campaign aims at defending all of India’s communities, including Dalits and Adivasis, and preventing further degradation of the natural environment.

Das is an expert on impacts of mining on environment and indigenous people, and lectures nationally and internationally about the financial structures of the extractive industries. His coming book is about the history of Iron Ore mining.

Samarendra Das an activist and documentary filmmaker based in London who founded Foil Vedanta and successfully lead the campaign to delisting of Vedanta from London Stock Exchange and played an important part in protecting the Dongria Kond’s sacred mountain Niyamgiri and bringing the environmental liability of Kafue river tributary affected communities ongoing pollution legacy to international fora is now under target by the Vedanta as a foreign hand behind the protest against their copper smelter and reason behind the riot that killed 14 people including 2 women and a child in 22 May 2018. It is often presented by the right-wing press as a separatist agenda and anti-development bogey who does not want India to be developed. This is one of the many reasons why we need to highlight why India is becoming one of the top five dangerous places for women, environmental mining and human rights defenders.

DSCF1183

The venue:
The Elephant And Castle
White Hill
Lewes
BN7 2DJ

Tickets:
They are £3 and you can purchase them on the door or about a week before in the venue. Please note that the capacity of the venue is limited, we recommend to buy the ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

Robot Farming – Ben Scott-Robinson – 26th April 2019

About the talk:

Big tractors are neither efficient nor environmentally friendly. Currently, 95% of energy is used ploughing. Ploughing is only necessary because of heavy machinery crushing soil.

But there is a deceptively simple idea: small robots not big tractors.

Ben from the Small Robot Company will come to talk about how they are building robots that will seed and care for each individual plant in a crop. They will only feed and spray the plants that need it, giving them the perfect levels of nutrients and support, with no waste.

These robots are being designed and built by farmers, for farmers. They can be leased through a Farming as a Service (FaaS) model. So our Farmers can take back control of their cashflow and their time.

The Small Robot Company is an agri-tech startup consisting of farmers, engineers, scientists and service designers with a deep knowledge of farming, robotics, AI and service design. The company is headquartered in Shropshire with the robotics development team based in Portsmouth.

About the speaker: Ben Scott-Robinson – Co-Founder: Small Robot Company

Ben Scott-Robinson is a digital innovator of 20 years.

Currently one of two co-founders of The Small Robot Company, in addition, Ben is also the tutor on mobile and social strategy for Google’s Squared Online Digital Innovator course, running live remote classes for up to 120 people.

As well as this, Ben has founded two agencies, two consultancies, an app start-up and a phone for blind people. He has held the role of Creative Director, Experience Director, Head of Innovation, and Head of Brilliant.

The venue:
The Elephant And Castle
White Hill
Lewes
BN7 2DJ

Tickets:
They are £3 and you can purchase them on the door or about a week before in the venue. Please note that the capacity of the venue is limited, we recommend to buy the ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.