it's time to get above ourselves

Active Response

c4e89suweaubz-uWatertight compartments are useful only in sinking ships’ – Hugh MacDiarmid

Active Response in Times of Crisis is a two-year process taking a pre-emptive approach to the post-Brexit future of Scotland. It comprises of a number of distinct but interrelated phases. Some aspects occur at specific times, other elements are present throughout the entire process. It is our desire to collaborate in:

• Imagining post-Brexit futures in Scotland
• Building solidarity and finding new strategies, via both conceptual and practical active responses
• Collaborate with communities living in precarity and austerity
• Opening spaces for new perspectives and ways of resisting

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Commission Context

The UK referendum of June 23, 2016 delivered a leave vote, at a British level, by a margin of 52% to 48%. Whilst in polar opposite, the result in Scotland was 62% to 38% (with all 32 Council areas backing) remain.

Additionally, this vote and after shock unfolds in the lingering shadow of the financial collapse and banking crisis of 2007/8; the ongoing assault of austerity; the constitutional instability of Britain; and the far-right nationalist movement on the rise in continental Europe and USA…
Brexit brought dislocation and disruption to the status quo. The result has, in part rewritten, divisions of class, age, ethnicity, race and locality, within the UK political landscape.

Scotland, through a combination and variety of self-mobilisation processes which emerged during the Referendum, had already experienced mass political education and consciousness raising. This stood in stark contrast to the pre-Brexit resignation, apathy or indifference found in many post-industiral areas of the remaining UK. Ironically, Brexit triggered a level of engagement outside of Scotland, but heading in a very different direction.
Anderson, B. (post-Brexit Futures – Unpublished) suggest this has left the UK in two distinctive positions:

• the exhilaration and joy of the return of something lost and the possibility of unspecified better futures to come (‘sovereignty’, ‘control’, ‘Britishness’); and
• the despair and worry of an unsettled present foreshadowed by future losses (of ‘influence’ or ‘economic well-being’, or a ‘tolerant Britishness’ (see, Wilson 2016)).

He continues (ibid.) Brexit is many things:

• The accepted name for a decision taken that marks an event to come
• A state project of disentangling and separating the United Kingdom from the European Union
• A proliferating set of impacts and effects felt across multiple dimensions of life.
• Brexit becomes the expression of a fragmented nation as the vote to stay or leave is correlated with various indices of social difference and position.
• Brexit becomes a revolt or protest on behalf of those ‘left behind’ by forces of neoliberal globalisation.
• Brexit becomes one more case of a resurgence of populist nationalism after the financial crisis of 2008 onwards and, as such, a symptom of a European-wide ‘crisis of liberalism’, to give but some of many explanations.

We recognise that the political energy in Scotland has centred around constitutional power and sovereignty, and while resisting the British state remains potent, and arguably primary, this mustn’t be allowed to exclude other forms of resistance and response that may in fact feed-in to and energise the ‘national’ question.’

Post-Brexit Scotland – Commissions

We intend to support 5 commissions (£3000 per commission) exploring the context set out above. We would love to hear from (communities, artists, activists, academics, networks, organisations etc.) interested in joining us on this exploration. At this stage, we are looking for a one page proposal, setting out ideas of how to explore the Post-Brexit Scotland landscape(s). We start from a place of Brexit as a process not an outcome and so welcome submissions from anyone who wants to explore what Brexit means for Scotland, regardless of how you voted.
We imagine these responses could come in many different forms: artworks (installations, live events, music, written work, photography, graffiti etc); community action; capturing stories of hopes and fears and lived-experience. We leave it open to your creative imagination, but if you are not sure please get in touch to discus your ideas.

We want to inspire stories of possibility and opportunity as well as resistance and opposition. We are only as good as the futures we dream possible.

We are extremely open to any suggestion, but it may help to prompt imaginations with a few examples:

• A feminist perspective of Post-Brexit Scotland
• Land use and Post-Brexit Scotland
• Post Brexit Scotland, asylum, refugees and hospitality
• Issues of class and economic justice in Post-Brexit Scotland
• Under 18’s and Post-Brexit Scotland
• Climate change and a Post-Brexit Scotland
• New political patterns in a Post-Brexit Scotland
• Post-Brexit Scotland in global context(s)
• Basic Income in a Post-Brexit Scotland

The deadline for proposals is the Wednesday 5 April 2017.

Successful applicants will hear back by 10 April 2017.

There will then be a collaborative process including:
• A research and development day

The delivery period is May 2017 – August 2017

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