11th Annual Communication and Culture Graduate Conference, York University/Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario

Abstracts due: December 23, 2011; notification by January 23, 2012

Conference date: March 23–25, 2012

Please email submissions and questions to:

Occupare: (Latin.) To seize, capture

Occupy but better yet, self manage…. The former option is basically passive—the latter is active and yields tasks and opportunities to contribute.… To occupy buildings, especially institutions like universities or media, isn’t just a matter of call it, or tweet it, and they will come. It is a matter of go get them, inform them, inspire them, enlist them, empower them, and they will come.
– Michael Albert, “Occupy to Self Manage” (

I think that our political structures are corrupt and we need to really think about what a democratic society would be like. People are learning how to do it now…. This is more than a protest, it’s a camp to debate an alternative civilization.
– David Graeber, “The Man Behind Occupy Wall Street,” interviewed by Seth Fiegerman (

This is a critical moment, as “Occupy everywheres” present possibilities for new politics, and new forms of learning, engaging and living with each other. From the recurring occupations of the squares in Greece and Italy to the UK’s winter of discontent and the Arab Spring, to the summer of protest in Spain and the North American autumn—at general assemblies around the globe, people are running their own lives, influencing the media and discussing what is to be done without politicians. The recent occupations are an education in direct democracy and the solidarity necessary for action.

Occupy Wall Street, and the occupations around the world, are attempts to build the social compositions that are the precondition for action. They are the working-through of a problem that ‘politics-as-usual’ works to suppress—the massive exploitation that is capitalism, and the emergence of politics adequate to address it. At this stage, the occupations are the connection of people, ideas and machines—the cumulation of assemblages that might build something. What happens next depends on what is being built now.

As it was written upon the recent expulsion of OWS from Zuccotti Park: “You can’t evict an idea whose time has come.” We invite graduate students from all related disciplines to submit proposals for academic, artistic and activist presentations and workshops that explore, celebrate, analyze and otherwise critically engage with the ideas emerging from occupations. Possible areas of engagement include: politics and aesthetics, movement research and performance studies, humanities and digital humanities, critical disability studies, labour studies, social theory, social movement theory, policy, political economy, communications studies, media, culture, pedagogy, technology, artistic practice and activism.

Please send a 250-word abstract, as well as a brief biographical note (100 words) to by December 23, 2011. Proposals should list paper/panel title, name, institutional affiliation and contact details.

Workshop facilitators: Please provide a tentative timeline highlighting the duration and one or two general learning objectives of your session, along with a clear indication of space and technical requirements.

Artists: If sending creative works by email, please limit attachment size to 5 MB or less, or direct us to a URL. Include viewing instructions, comments and titles in your email if applicable. If submitting creative works by post, please mail the proposal, a non-original copy of the work, and viewing instructions to the following address (well before the submission deadline):

Intersections 2012 Conference
c/o Graduate Program in Communication and Culture
3013 TEL Building, York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON   M3J 1P3
Intersections / Cross Sections 2012: Occupations is presented by and for graduate student scholars, artists and activists through the organizing efforts of the Communication and Culture Graduate Students Association (GSA):
For more information about the Joint Graduate Program in Communication and Culture at York and Ryerson Universities: and

The Housing Crisis: Experience, Analysis and Response

18th November

Friday 18th November    9.30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m.
Room 101, 30 Russell Square, Birkbeck, London

Refreshments are available in the morning and afternoon breaks.
Please bring your own lunch to eat during the lunchtime film.

This event is free but register here

The colloquium will provide an analysis of the social, economic and political nature of the current housing crisis as it is being lived out within the homes, streets and estates of the UK. This crisis illustrates the contradictory nature of housing within capitalist relations of production, contradictions which have been dramatically illustrated by the US sub-prime mortgage market meltdown and its UK and Irish equivalents; in each country, housing finance has been centrally implicated in the wider turmoil. In the UK, the social after-shocks of such crises are currently being felt by the unwitting victims of the Coalition Government’s radical policy changes in relation to Housing Benefit and social housing as part of its ‘Big Society’ vision. The colloquium examines the nature of the UK housing crisis including how the growing problems of housing unaffordability and insecurity are being lived out with, for example, five million people on council housing waiting lists in England. The colloquium also highlights various responses to the housing crisis and the Coalition Government’s policies that have emerged from civil society and local government.

Provisional programme

9.30 – 10.00 Coffee and Welcome

10.00 – 11.40 ‘The financial crisis and housing in the UK’ – Graham Turner (GFC Economics)

Title to be confirmed – Dr. Michael Edwards (University College London)

‘Understanding the Con-Dem’s assault on housing’ – Dr. Stuart Hodkinson (University of Leeds)

11.40 – 12.00   Tea/coffee

12.00 – 1.15 ‘Mobility and security in mixed housing tenure: findings from an audio-visual ethnographic study of housing and class in an inner London

locality’ – Debbie Humphry (University of Sussex)

‘Gypsies and Travellers in housing: adaptation, resistance and the reformulation of communities’ – Dr. David Smith (University of Greenwich) and Dr. Margaret Greenfields (Buckingham New University)

1.15 – 2.30  Lunch

Film screening: Chocolate City (Ellie Walton and Sam Wild, 2007)  – public housing and gentrification in Washington DC

2.30 – 3.20  ‘Tower Hamlets response to the housing crisis’ – Cllr. Rabina Khan (Cabinet Member for Housing, London Borough of Tower Hamlets)

‘The London housing crisis and the Pro-Housing Alliance’ – Professor Peter Ambrose (University of Brighton)

3.20 – 3.40 Tea/coffee

3.40 – 5.00 ‘Towards a new strategy for housing: there is an alternative’ – Duncan Bowie (University of Westminster)

‘Good homes: lessons in successful public housing’ – Dr. Sarah Glynn (Independent Researcher)

Launching a new online intellectual resource for resistance: ‘The Housing Question’ web project

5.00 – 5.30 Final discussion and close

If you have any queries, please contact Dr. Paul Watt, Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies, Birkbeck

Organising Committee:

• Dr. Paul Watt
Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies
Birkbeck, University of London

• Dr. Isabelle Fremeaux
Department of Media and Cultural Studies
Birkbeck, University of London

• Glyn Robbins
Department of Social Policy and Education,
Birkbeck, University of London

• Dr. Stuart Hodkinson
Department of Geography
University of Leeds