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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  March 2010

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING March 2010

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Subject:

The Power of Nightmares

From:

Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Simon Biggs <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 29 Mar 2010 22:10:44 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (133 lines)

Please see the thread below. It is incredibly disturbing. This government
official hasn¹t a clue how artists think and operate ­ and yet they are
Deputy Director of Culture for the Scottish government! It is like having
Dick Cheney running Amnesty! They are seeking to co-opt artists into their
illegal war of aggression. In the best of times artists are obliged to rip
up the rule book and turn over the furniture but in this context are we
obliged to do more? What artistic interventions might be appropriate? Since
Creative Scotland replaced the Scottish Arts Council this person is now part
of the oversight of arts funding in Scotland. This request could be
persuasive amongst some artists seeking state support for their work. It is
a form of blackmail.

The second section of the thread documents an earlier example of
anthropologists responding to similar attempts to co-opt their discipline.
The url it points to offers more detailed documentation and background.

Simon Biggs
[log in to unmask]  http://www.littlepig.org.uk/


Militarisation of 'creativity' in Scotland : moral and ethical dilemmas
concerning the integrity of creative practitioners
 
"how creativity can help in the study of terrorism and forensic science and
in how the outcome or story from that is told"

...Firstly, let me introduce myself: I'm Wendy Wilkinson and I head up the
Culture Division in the Scottish Government. As well as all things culture,
my remit also includes the creative industries...

However, I'm emailing about a quite separate matter. And it may appear
rather bizarre, but bear with me. I'd like to invite you to an informal
meeting I'm arranging on 8 April, at my office in Victoria Quay, Edinburgh.
And it's to brainstorm/discuss how creativity can help in the study of
terrorism and forensic science and in how the outcome or story from that is
told. This stems from work that Brian Lang, former principal of St Andrews
University, is doing to arrange a conference joining up the centre for study
of terrorism at St Andrews university, with the forensic science centre at
Strathclyde university and the centre for terrorism at the  University of
Central Oklahoma. Brian and I are both keen to explore how creativity can
contribute and we recognised the first step would be to consult our own
creative talent here in Scotland. hence my invite. I am planning to invite a
couple of people from the computer gaming industry and perhaps a writer or
artistic director, so a small group and it would be attended by Brian and
the President of the University of Central Oklahoma who is over here for a
visit then.  

I do hope that you can attend and would be grateful if you could let me know
what time you may be available on the 8th.

kind regards  

Wendy Wilkinson  
Deputy Director: Culture
Scottish Government
Victoria Quay  
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ 


Anthropologists' Resistance to Militarisation

The project [OCombating Terrorism by Countering Radicalisation¹] ³provoked a
furious response from academics², mainly anthropologists, ³who claimed it
was tantamount to asking researchers to act as spies for British
intelligence² (Baty 2006). James Fairhead, who works for the ESRC¹s
Strategic Research Board and on its International Committee, declared it is
appalling that these proposals were not discussed in any of these committees
(quoted in Houtman 2006). Opposition to the project grew significantly after
the plans were published in the Times Higher Educational Supplement. As a
result, it was withdrawn before its closing date on November 8th 2006.
http://www.sussex.ac.uk/anthropology/documents/marrades.doc

The eleven originators of the Pledge are deeply concerned that the "war on
terror" threatens to militarize anthropology in a way that undermines the
integrity of the discipline and returns anthropology to its sad roots as a
tool of colonial occupation, oppression, and violence.  We felt compelled to
draft the Pledge to say that there are certain kinds of work<for example,
covert work, work contributing to the harm and death of other human beings,
work that breaches trust with our research participants, and work that calls
other anthropologists into suspicion<that anthropologists should not
undertake.  In many ways we are restating the position that Franz Boas
famously articulated in 1919.  We encourage you to sign the Pledge as a way
to support this position on ethical work in the discipline and as a way to
make a statement to government and military officials, the social science
and other scientific communities, and the broader public that that
anthropologists will not participate in such work or support wars of
occupation. 
http://sites.google.com/site/concernedanthropologists/faq

"A soldier whose business is murder as a fine art, a diplomat whose calling
is based on deception and secretiveness, a politician whose very life
consists in compromises with his conscience, a business man whose aim is
personal profit within the limits allowed by a lenient law -- such may be
excused if they set patriotic deception above common everyday decency and
perform services as spies. They merely accept the code of morality to which
modern society still conforms. Not so the scientist. The very essence of his
life is the service of truth. We all know scientists who in private life do
not come up to the standard of truthfulness, but who, nevertheless, would
not consciously falsify the results of their researches. It is bad enough if
we have to put up with these, because they reveal a lack of strength of
character that is liable to distort the results of their work. A person,
however, who uses science as a cover for political spying, who demeans
himself to pose before a foreign government as an investigator and asks for
assistance in his alleged researches in order to carry on, under this cloak,
his political machinations, prostitutes science in an unpardonable way and
forfeits the right to be classed as a scientist." (Franz Boas, in a letter
to The Nation, 1919)

Workshop of Military Anthropology in the UK
We find other, smaller-scale examples of universities and their academics
seeking to cash in on ³terror research² by offering their knowledge as a
source of ³protection.² One example involves the ³Culture in Conflict
Symposium² at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, on 16 ­ 17 June
2010 <http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/cds/symposia/cic10.jsp>. It includes a
Workshop on ³Spatial Sociocultural Knowledge² (read human terrain) and
followed by a one-day Military Anthropology Workshop. There is no clearer
expression of the way academics have become comfortable players in the
pyramid scheme of war corporatism than when they call themselves ³military
anthropologists.² 
http://zeroanthropology.net/

Protests against British research council: "Recruits anthropologists for
spying on muslims" 
A few weeks ago the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and
Commonwealth (ASA) passed a resolution that criticized a huge British
research program that recruits anthropologists for ³anti-terror² spying
activities, and anthropologist Susan Wright (Danish University of Education)
called for global coordination on this issue.
http://www.antropologi.info/blog/anthropology/2007/protests_against_british_
research_counci 


Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

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