This page is a place to dump ideas about producing some kind of regular infousurpa style newsletter/listings for print distribution in London.
Background / History
In (other bits of) Europe
Various cities around Europe have these radical print listings so that the events in autonomous spaces are well publicised and there is a much greater sense of activity and community. In Barcelona they have infousurpa which is stuck onto the doors of squats all over the city so everyone knew what was going on where and when, in Berlin they have strasfactor which can tell you a month in advance what films are showing in what squat and which peoples kitchen is serving on what day, and in amsterdam they have a bilingual guide which I think it might be called kraken.
In london we had our own infosurpa for several years. The printing costs were paid for by indymedia london however the small number of people producing it meant it proved to be unsustainable. Additionally people were very very slow in sending in submissions for the listing which made it very difficult to produce. More importantly, distribution was poor and it eventually shrunk down to an internet only version.
- Very small group left to keep it going.
- Contributors found it difficult to work to infousurpas deadlines.
- Mistakes crept in as editors often had to compile and edit info themselves.
- Distribution was very poor and sporadic.
Where We Are Now
- There is currently no print version of infousurpa being produced, the website just points at the events listing on indymedia london.
- The online diary / events section of indymedia london is now failry well used and great for demos, protests and talks etc. It generates ical and rss feeds.
- Currently, the rampART collective do a weekly online newsletter which acts as a pretty comprehensive (but wordy) listing of social centre activities.
- Over the last eight months there has been some talk of working towards establishing an anarchist district in London and one of the important bits of 'infrastructure' to have in place would be a regular printing listings/newsletter - a resurrection of infousurpa.
- Recently there was talk at rAtstar (the new camberwell space), about producing a printed newsletter for the social centre. One idea was that it could have usurpa style listings on one side and more wordy or graphic events descriptions and news etc from the rAtstar on the other so that different events/working groups didn't have to produce and distribute their own flyers.
It seems perhaps that the time is right and that it is conceivable that a new collaboration could produce something more sustainable than the previous infousurpa.
A Possible Vision
My own personal vision would be for a fairly automatically produced ready to print events listings to be available directly from the london indymedia site. that would be combined with feature summaries from the indymedia site (pointing to the site itself for the full articles) and that would be printed on one side of a piece of A4 (or A3) paper ready to post on noticeboards each week. There would also be versions printed which where two sided, with social centres producing their own content comprising of location/contact details , descriptions of their space, their events, plus mini graphical poster/ads for their coming events/parties etc. variations on the theme might include event reviews, having indymedia news on the front, including graphic adverts on the listings side etc. It would probably be a print on demand thing mostly, with each social centre print their own for distribution and taking on sticking up the poster version in their area.
Automation & Workflows
So how easy would it be to semi automate production to avoid the tedious and time consuming work of layout?
The london indymedia events section now produces ical feeds which means you can pull them into other programs with ease. For example, my iphone displays all the coming events direct from my calender without me having to do a thing. I've looked up ical printing and found loads of webpages talking about ways to make this easy, printing day planners etc. Basically it should be possible to produce a template which is automatically populated with the events from london indymedia. it should also be possible to arrange to filter out crap manually (or to some degree, automatically) before populating the print template.
This page is automatically generated every week... https://london.indymedia.org/newsletters
Ideally the new publication would be designed to have very flexible timescales. Since the events diary can be automatically generated for any given period, start and end point, there is no need to have specific 'issues' or publishing rounds. Instead it is possible that groups could print out their 'issues' when it suites them (perhaps just after their own organising meetings). If they get delayed by a few days they still print out the up-to-date list of the next seven days events and the latest news off indymedia.
A meeting was arrange to talk about this at rAtstar but didn't really happen. There is now an idea to talk about this as an agenda item at an indymedia London meeting and invite any possibly interested parties along to that meeting.
here is some of the current correspondence....
Subject: Re: [Imc-london] Collaborating on a print new 'usurpa' for From: "Mara" Date: Tue, July 13, 2010 3:10 pm To: firstname.lastname@example.org
it may be worth looking at the hyperactive feature for newsletters for this: https://london.indymedia.org/newsletters
This gives an overview of the events in a format that can easily be copied and pasted into an email or text document. I'm sure the function could be tweaked if there were any concrete proposals. For discussing this, the hyperactive forum would be the right place:
maybe that's useful? would be great to see some printed thing happening again.
Subject: [Imc-london] Collaborating on a print new 'usurpa' for From: "ben" To: email@example.com
rather than repeat myself, please read the email below.
basically there is a meeting wedneaday at rAtstar about producing a print newseltter for rAtstar but it is conceivable that a wider collaboration could emerge that would see a new infousupa style publication being printed regularly. i think this is something that indymedia london could very usefully input into so I'd like to extend the invite to anyone who'd like to see a regular london indymedia presence on paper.
From: "ben" Date: Tue, July 13, 2010 2:23 pm To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com
There was talk last night about putting together a weekly or niweekly rAtstar newsletter and I suggested that one side be rAtstar events/news and the other be the infousurpa. However I then learnt that the usurpa is no longer being produced, even the online only version.
Later I talked to one of the people who used to do the usurpa and she told me how much work it was to put together so i suggested a new model could be found - perhaps involving different spaces taking on an issue in rotation.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel or duplicate work here. Already the rampART newsletter is an amazing asset and acts as a pretty comprehensive events listing for spaces in London. I think it would be fairly easy to also produce a for print version with little additional work. Additionally the improved london indymedia site now makes it pretty easy to pull together diary dates for actions etc.
There will be a meeting about this on wednesday at rAtstar before the cafe/cinema and it would be great if whoever is currently doing the rampART emails could come along. With any luck we'll be able to resurrect so kind of regular for print listings for radical spaces and activities around london and do it in such a way that all current and future spaces can feel ownership, perhaps with 'peronsalised' version for each space if they wish.