My name is Sam. I’m a PhD researcher at Loughborough University and I’m doing a project about how the pandemic has shaped grassroots political organising. I was put in touch with Sergio who suggested that I post on here introducing the project and to see if you’d be happy to participate, as individuals and/or a collective. I am an activist myself in Brighton and the type of research I’m doing is something like ‘militant ethnography’ – research which is with (and for) the groups who participate, creating knowledge and reflections together collaboratively. As we go through the project we will explore lots of things that I hope will feed back into the way CB operates and understands itself, helped by the fact that I’ll be able to put our ideas, challenges and dynamics into dialogue with the other groups I’m working with.
I want to find out how the current crisis is transforming organising – how are new political and shared identities created through what we do and the context we do it in? Part of this means looking at our goals, how we understand and deal with problems, how we look after ourselves and what practices and ideas keep us working together effectively. The project will look at several organisations that have jumped into action during the crisis and use interviews and literature that you give me to answer, among others, these questions:
What made what you do now possible: how does the state of CB’s component parts before the crisis explain what is happening now?
How has the crisis transformed the way you organise and what practices keep you effective, resilient and dynamic?
My intention is to find answers to these questions that will be useful to you and interesting to other grassroots groups more broadly. The research is overseen by the University’s ethics committee and, if you are happy to participate, I will send you a consent form to fill in and a more detailed information sheet about it. Everything we talk about or share would be completely confidential and will be securely encrypted. Anything I record or store will be with your permission and you can withdraw from the project whenever you like.
I would be really excited to work with CB as you seem to be concerned with many of the things that I think are really interesting about the current explosion of mutual aid organising – openness, considering the relationship with the social world you’re part of, warding off co-optation by the state, reconfiguring what labour, social reproduction and care means, among other things. Please do drop me an email for a chat and for more info. I’m hoping to get started with interviews in the next month or so, but it’d be good to be in contact generally before that so I can get a sense of what’s been happening so far. Thanks!
This is my researcher profile: www.lboro.ac.uk/subjects/politics-international-studies/staff/samuel-garrett/