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: http://www.commonhouse.org.uk/event/rad-ed-reading-group-2/

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.


RadEd Film Club: ‘Granito de Arena’ (Grain of Sand), 11 Feb, 7-9pm

Granito de Arena (Grain of Sand), (2005, ca 60 min, Spanish with subtitles)

Trailer: http://www.corrugate.org/trailer.html

For over 20 years, global economic forces have been dismantling public education in Mexico, but always in the constant shadow of popular resistance…

Granito de Arena is the story of that resistance – the story of hundreds of thousands of public schoolteachers whose grassroots, non-violent movement took Mexico by surprise, and who have endured brutal repression in their 25-year struggle for social and economic justice in Mexico’s public schools.Completed in 2005, Granito de Arena provides context and background to the unprecedented popular uprising that exploded in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006.

Award-winning Seattle filmmaker, Jill Freidberg, spent two years in southern Mexico documenting the efforts of over 100,000 teachers, parents, and students fighting to defend the country’s public education system from the devastating impacts of economic globalization.
Freidberg combines footage of strikes and direct actions with 25 years worth of never-before-seen archival images to deliver a compelling and unsettling story of resistance, repression, commitment, and solidarity.

March with us for homes

Plan C organises a pre housing demo meeting point at the common house January 31 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Join us for a pre march tee.

Here you find the route on the march here http://marchforhomes.org/details/

And here an article in the Guardian about the march http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/23/housing-march-lack-affordable-homes-london

All welcome


Feminist Fightback Film Screening: United in Anger

FF_united in anger_A4portraitFor January’s Film Club we will be screening United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, jointly and in solidarity with the group, who will be leading a discussion afterwards.

United In Anger is a unique feature-length documentary that combines startling archival footage which puts the audience on the ground with the activists, and remarkably insightful interviews from the ACT UP Oral History Project, to explore ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) from a grassroots perspective – how a small group of men and women of all races and classes, came together to change the world and save each other’s lives.

ACt UP is an international direct action advocacy group working to impact the lives of people with AIDS (PWAs) and the AIDS pandemic to bring about legislation, medical research and treatment and policies to ultimately bring an end to the disease by mitigating loss of health and lives.

Waged: £5
Unwaged: £2.50

7.30pm @ Unit 5E Pundersons Gardens, Bethnal Green, E2 9QG

Open to all genders and none.