What next for “The Birmingham social centre”?

The Birmingham Social Centre Part I

On the 8th of November 2011, we left the Whitmarley, which has been the first home of “the Birmingham social centre project”. The project through is much more than the building, it is the concept, community and people that have formed around it.

In easter, months before we started the project we set out these as the reasons “we”, then a bunch of students who had been organising on campus should create a squatted social space.

“Squats or free spaces have great history many have gone on host a wealth of unique exchanges and become centres of local and national activism by becoming centres for travelling plays, parties, music, cinema, talks, debate and workshops.

The spaces by their nature attract local residents, local activists and often create exchanges and meeting points that result in strong communities actively pursuing their civil power and asserting control over their own lives.

These communities that can grow can attract people growing up in the city and studying as students and activists to stay in the city after graduation and contribute positively too many causes…rather than as they become more involved just move to places were these communities exist like Oxford, Bristol, Brighton or London.

Birmingham is Britain’s youngest city, it also the city with the highest youth unemployment, the largest council cuts, and the most abandoned buildings and the highest rate of homelessness. Basically I think Birmingham is exactly where we should be.This city should be hotbed of alternative discourse, social empowerment and people forcing of change.”

These reasons hold as true now as they ever did, we are no longer an isolated, student campaign, stuck in bubble. We have built links with a wider community that will allow our movement and ideals that we are fighting for to become more entrenched and permanent. However in future I think we must think bigger, the social centre was to small, we couldn’t cater for all. Homelessness is spiralling out of control in Birmingham as is unemployment; we must take a space that is not limited by its size. For when skyscrapers are sitting empty and when 1/3 young people in the UK’s youngest city the city are stuck in unemployment the possibility for a creative radical politicizing space is endless.

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What next for the Birmingham Social Centre? meeting this Friday 7pm.

In April, we wrote this as our reasons to why we should set up a squat social centre.

The community garden at the social centre


“Squats or free spaces have great history many have gone on host a wealth of unique exchanges and become centres of local and national activism by becoming centres for travelling plays, parties, music, cinema, talks, debate and workshops.

The spaces by their nature attract local residents, local activists and often create exchanges and meeting points that result in strong communities actively pursuing their civil power and asserting control over their own lives.

These communities that can grow can attract people growing up in the city and studying as students and activists to stay in the city after graduation and contribute positively too many causes…rather than as they become more involved just move to places were these communities exist like Oxford, Bristol, Brighton or London.

The cafe and libary at the social centre

Birmingham is Britain’s youngest city, it also the city with the highest youth unemployment, the largest council cuts, and the most abandoned buildings and the highest rate of homelessness. Basically I think Birmingham is exactly where we should be.This city should be hotbed of alternative discourse, social empowerment and people forcing of change.”

open mic night

In these goals we have achieved some measure of success, the question is now what next for the Birmingham social centre, although we are leaving the current location, the concept and the community built up around lives on.

So where do we go from here? do you want to be involved in what we do next, what should we do differently next time?

please come along this friday at 7pm

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Food not bombs this Sunday.


This Sunday, we will be giving out free food in Victoria square,meet us at 1pm with food in Victoria square. We will also hopefully help feed Occupy Birmingham.

We are going to be handing out bowls of free hot food and tea for anyone who is hungry. Please come along and eat it!
Food Not Bombs shares free vegan and vegetarian meals with the hungry in over 1,000 cities around the world to protest war, poverty and the destruction of the environment.

With over a billion people going hungry each day how can we spend another penny on war?

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November Book Group – Wednesday 2 November 2011, 19:30

Come along and share your Hallowe’en ghostly tales for the November bookgroup! There is no set book so choose your own suitably themed reading to share with us by candlelight! If want to take this as an opportunity to read the brilliant classic, Dracula, by Bram Stoker, it comes highly recommended! I’m reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, a bit of a weighty read but an interesting one, on the trail of Vlad through various 20th century libraries – he is a librarian himself it seems… Look forward to seeing you all soon!

Get reading, we'll be diccussing Bram Stokers Dracula on Nov 2nd

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Spooky Squat: Family Halloween day

 

Come down to the Birmingham social centre for another day of fun and games.

This time Halloween themed with games including Bobbing apples, Grab the ghost, Skeleton Scavenger Hunt and Ghostly Islands. Not to mention for those who dare a haunted maze of horror awaits!

Food, served from 1pm, hot tea and coffee at afternoon.

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The Real Social Network, film première, 7pm November 1st

7pm November 1st we will be taking part in the nationwide première of “the Real Social network”

Filmed Last winter, when the coalition government in the UK announced sweeping changes to university tuition fees that set higher education in Britain to be the most expensive in Europe.

The film show a group of students at UCL voicing their discontent taking part and organising widespread protests that brought news footage into our homes reminiscent of the 70s and 80s; from horses charging marchers, to the windows of Conservative Party office being kicked in.

There will be also be few shorts included from actions by the University of Birmingham and introductions by Birmingham student activists, including a shameless plug of november 9thand November 2nd by Edd Bauer.

The Film showing is taking place at the birmingham social centre in stirchley, get directions here

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Pictures from the open mic night

this was amazing night! althrough sadly we where absent some friends thanks to the police and crown prosecution services. Thanks to everyone who came down, we will be doing another one soon probably a ceilidh, watch this space for details soon.

photos courtsey of http://h-afblog.blogspot.com/

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