Come and join the cleaners’ protest at the Barbican Centre, today Saturday 25th April at 5:30pm

The cleaners of the Barbican Centre are protesting today against MITIE’s disgusting threats to dismiss them if they protest. The cleaners are also demanding the London Living Wage of £9.15 per hour and proper contractual sick pay.

The cleaners at the Barbican Centre are members of the United Voices of the World (UVW) trade union which is a grassroots, member-led union with no paid officials and almost entirely comprised of low paid migrant workers in London’s service sector. After a hard fought for successful campaign for the London Living Wage (LLW) back in 2012/13 (which is the subject of a film called Waging a Living in London) the cleaners are still being paid the old rate of £8.80 per hour.

See more here:

Come along in solidarity. 4pm at the Common House to have a coffee with us and go together to the Barbican or meet us directly at 5.30pm at the Barbican.

Flyer BC front at 4pm at the Common House to have a coffee and go to the Barbican

Rock the Casbah April 18 @ 7:00 pm – 11:55 pm

Oxford’s Balkan/Klesma themed night of music and fun -Rock the Casbah – is in town. London Town.

We’ll be putting on a party for friends of Common House.


Balkan and Klezmer tunes from Benny and the Cheesegrinder (

Music from East London to East Jerusalem from the Rock the Casbah DJs and friends

Collecting donations for Common House.

Introduction to Libre Graphics (by autonomous tech fetish)

April 11 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Whether you are new to image editing software or want to make the transition to non-commercial tools, this session will give you what you need to get started.

Libre Graphics programs are free software tools built by and for communities of artists and designers. They can be used for designing leaflets and booklets, editing photos, image creation and much more besides. They include free to use, non-propriety alternatives to commonly used (but expensive!) software such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

This hands-on workshop will give you a practical introduction to the basics of graphic design and some core Libre Graphics tools, such as GIMP (image editing), Scribus (desktop publishing) and Inkscape (vector graphics). All levels welcome.

Please bring along your laptop (if you have one) so you can install the software. There are also desktop computers in the space if you need them. The venue is wheelchair accessible but the toilet isn’t (yet!)
Kids are welcome!

Autonomous Tech Fetish probes how digital technology is fetishised and how it can be re-configured to different needs and desires. We work with activist groups to affirm their technological autonomy and are committed to co-education exploring the pitfalls and potentials of technologies without assumptions.

Film screening with discussion: Chilean Director Cecilia Barriga presents her new documentary Tres Instantes Un Grito

An informal evening of film and discussion, hosted by the Radical Education Forum.


RadEd Filmclub is excited to host Cecilia Barriga, who will screen her film Tres Instantes Un Grito -Three moments one Shout – [Spanish and English].

6pm: Food & refreshments available, by donation, PIZZA limited availability – arrive early. Informal discussion & director’s introduction of the film.
7pm: FILM starts
Cecilia’s Synopsis

A descriptive, spontaneous trip following the course of three moments of indignation. In Madrid, “Taking Over The Square” in La Puerta de Sol, with the shouts of “No, they don’t, they don’t represent us, No!. I n New York “Occupy Wall Street”, with the chant, “We are the 99%”, and in Santiago de Chile, “Taking Over The Schools”, the students, after occupying the schools for over seven months, give them back to the authorities, shouting, “Chilean Education must not be sold, but defended”.

A documentary born out of a fascination for the spontaneous global movements of angry citizens, that unite together with the desire and the strength of a single shout against Capitalism:

“We are going to change the system!”

Click through to read the dossier as pdf in English  o Espanol


8.30pm: Director’s Q & A/ discussion of the film & issues arising. We’re excited to talk about the occupation of schools in Chile, which lasted 7 months – what made it possible for there to be such a strength of movement – and what can we learn from it?


This event is FREE. We are able to do this thanks to the generosity of The Common House and Cecilia Barriga, but will ask for donations for food, film-maker and venue.


WHO is organising this?
The *Radical Education Forum* is a group of people working in a wide range of educational settings who meet monthly to discuss radical pedagogical theories and techniques, and contemporary issues of interest to those involved in education. We are interested in how these theories and questions can inform our practice. The Forum supports social justice in education, linking practitioners within mainstream educational institutions, community education initiatives, social movements, arts organisations and self-organised groups.

Meetings are held on the last Monday of every month at the Common House from 7.15-9.15pm and are open to all. The Common House, Unit 5E Pundersons Gardens, Bethnal Green, London E2 9QG,

RadEd Reading Group in March: “Hannah Arendt & the Pedagogy of Politics”, 23/3/15

Monday, 23rd March, 7.15-9.15 PM

“The rule by nobody is not necessarily no-rule; it may indeed … even turn out to be one of its cruelest and most tyrannical versions.” – Hannah Arendt

This month’s reading group is not only a follow-up to our conversations about the state’s new counter terrorism strategies and the expectations placed on teachers to cooperate with law enforcement, but also an introduction to the life and work of Hannah Arendt (1906-1975). Arendt was an unparalleled political thinker who wrote extensively about bureaucracy, administrative rule, and the wholly statistical outlook of modern society.

Arendt’s thought is not only helpful for understanding the banality through which power operates, but also lends itself to numerous radical ideas about education.

I have selected two excerpts that define numerous key concepts from her work. While you are reading, try to keep these terms in mind and make note of them in the text:

* the political

* the social

* the private & the public

The main question for our reading group will be:

How does *difference* (or diversity) constitute the political?

I have purposefully kept the readings short because I wanted to make sure that everyone would have an opportunity to read them. If anyone does not have enough time before our meeting, please have a quick look over the first text (“Introduction into Politics”) as it is less than four pages!

Readings here:

Arendt, Hannah. “Introduction into Politics.” The Promise of Politics. New York: Schocken, 2005.

Arendt, Hannah. “The Rise of the Social.” The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1958.

Autonomous Tech Fetish – fundraiser party

atf party flyerThis is ATF’s first fundraiser party at the Common House. Come, enjoy music, drinks, and celebrate the fight against data surveillance and for autonomous technical futures. Bring your electrical fetishes, your technical turn-ons and your most machine-like dance moves. Proceeds go towards supporting the Common House’s rent and ATF’s co-educational workshops.

Autonomous Tech Fetish probes how digital technology is fetishised and how it can be reconfigured to different needs and desires. We work with activist groups to affirm their technological autonomy and are committed to co-education exploring the pitfalls and potentials of technologies without assumptions.

Buy tickets in advance:
Waged £5:

Low waged £3:

Venue is wheelchair accessible, but the toilet isn’t (yet). Nearest tube is Bethnal Green.

PLUS: We will be having a machine fetish making workshop in the afternoon before. Come along, 2pm-5pm. Details here.

RadEd Reading Group meets ATF: Reading on Hack culture and Data gathering in schools, 23 Feb, 7.15 – 9.15pm

For our next RadEd Reading group, we will be a collaborating with the Common House’s own Autonomous Tech Fetish (ATF), to explore where Hack culture and analysis meet with radical pedagogies and analysis.

When: Monday, 23rd of February, 7.15-9.15pm

The first aspect we want to discuss is the relation between hacking and pedagogy. Hacking is a practice widely regarded in the digital world as both non-normative, even deviant computing and is commonly practiced, as for instance when someone cracks a phone’s software to install programs or an operating that would otherwise not be possible. The term has been more generally applied to everyday life—as in “lifehack.” Its aim is to work around a variety of obstacles to achieve a specific goal or to produce a significant difference in the material organisation of things. People hack websites, computers, code, interfaces, and increasingly this is done for specifically political (not always of course emancipatory) projects. It is a broad term whose orientation is perhaps best understood through the DIY (or DIcollectively!) ethos of famous hackers like Aaron Swartz and Anonymous. Its aim is to empower people to question the often hidden codes and protocols that govern algorithmic capital. In terms of radical pedagogy, the question is perhaps not how to teach hacking but how to engage with this ethos while co-learning capacities and strategies for politicised and collective workarounds. There is for instance scope to consider teaching practices that engage and empower students and teachers to consider information technology from a non-technical perspective, as a set of protocols and interfaces that can be reverse engineered, modulated, mutated, and thus potentially tied to political projects for social and economic emancipation.

Part of this from ATF’s perspective is to address the perceptual norms that computing today enforce, and how to queer those interfaces and technologies (both perceptually and technically) to the point of their complete reimagining as free and open source technologies that can and must be changed.

The second area, is the role of data gathering, information tracking, tagging, metadata coding, student assessment, and performance evaluation in primary and secondary schooling in the UK (and the global North more generally). This area of enquiry and action is to understand first of all how data is generated from the coded behaviour of students, and how these protocols, interfaces, and surveillance and control techniques affect how teachers teach, and how students learn today.

For more info and links to the readings, see here:

If you are interested in these topics, we also have a more extensive reading list, email us!


Cleaners and porters protest at Sotheby’s for backdated Living Wage, proper sick pay and respect!


We have officially resolved our collective dispute with CCML, the cleaning contractor at Sotheby’s and there will be no protest tomorrow. 

We have won every single demand we made. This is an inspiring victory and a true David v Goliath triumph! On the eve of our protest and the serving of notice to ballot for industrial action, Sotheby’s instructed CCML to bring an end to this dispute to make sure we didn’t go ahead with the protest tomorrow. In other words, they were told to eat humble pie.

This is what we have won:
1. The London Living Wage (LLW) of £9.15 per hour
2. The backdating of the LLW to 1st November 2014 when the current rate of £9.15 p/hour was first introduced.
3. A change in the chemicals the cleaners use (which previously caused them chest pains and rashes) to eco-friendly and completely natural products.
4. The provision of proper “dust masks” to wear when cleaning
5. The reinstatement of our shop steward who was recently suspended for his trade union activities.
6. The reinstatement of our trade union member who was dismissed 4 months ago. He will also receive backdated pay.
7. The return of all the hours which were cut from the cleaners and porters over 6 months ago. Their pay will also be backdated.
8. A rota will be introduced now to ensure that all the cleaners and porters can work at Sotheby’s events at which they are paid an enhanced rate.
9. They will now be able to take all their annual leave in one go. Previously they were forbidden from doing so which meant they were unable to visit their families in Latin America due to time and cost constraints.
10. All wages which were unlawfully deducted will be returned.
11. Management will write a formal written apology to all the cleaners and porters for the way they have been treated.
12. Before the 6th March 2015 Sotheby’s will make us an offer of proper contractual sick pay, a full framework for which will be put in place once agreed.

Thank you so much for all your support! We couldn’t have done it without you and if any of the points we have agreed are reneged upon we will immediately call for another protest and ballot our members for industrial action which we hope you will support us in.