BOOMTOWN – SPEAKER’S CORNER 2017

Although I can’t complain about having to watch bands all day and night at Boomtown, it does mean I miss so much of the other great stuff happening around the site. One of the most exciting non musical offerings this year is the line up for our talks tent ‘Speaker’s Corner’ up in Whistler’s Green.

There’s a whole host of inspiring talks and discussions on subjects that range from hunt saboteurs and fracking resistance to understanding economics, or more to the point, knowing when you’re getting screwed.

It’s well worth having a look at the whole programme when you get to site, I would literally go and see every single one if I was able to but here’s a handful of choice talks and their official descriptions to give you a better idea of what’s on offer.

Dan Glass – Rave as Rebellion, how we can party our way towards a better world

Some people think campaigning on issues like climate change, LGBTQI rights and anti fascism is all hard earnest work, but it doesn’t have to be. Partying can be a force for change, festivals can be the breeding ground for plans and action to a fairer world. With over a decade of wild antics that have blurred the boundaries between activism and art Dan brings the party into politics.

Kerry-Anne Mendoza – How do we build a world that works for everyone?

Founder of The Canary news group examines her passions of politics, economics and current affairs, with the basic question: “How do we build a world that works for everyone?”

Growing up in a working class suburb of Bristol, UK, Kerry-Anne had no idea of the groundbreaking work her West Indian grandfather had done for racial integration in the city. Finding out the full story at his funeral, when she was 18, she could suddenly make sense of the pull she felt to tell the stories that raise and tackle the world’s inequalities. Kerry-Anne will tell her story, from a first visit to Palestine in 2002, through a career in the banking industry, before breaking out into the Occupy movement and never looking back.

Hassan Akkad – A Syrian Refugee’s Journey

Hassaan tells the story of his long and harrowing journey from war-torn Syria to the UK, how he went from nearly drowning in the sea crossing from Turkey to featuring in the acclaimed BBC documentary “Exodus”. He talks about the continuing crisis from a personal perspective and about the role organisations such as Help Refugees played in helping him and many others along the way.

Help Refugees – We do things differently

From 3 friends and a # tag to the largest supporter of grassroots aid in Europe in under 2 years. Find out who Help Refugees are and the you can get involved. Remember, you don’t need permission to make a difference!

Jess Thom (Tourettes Hero) – Bring On The Biscuits

Writer, artist and part-time superhero Jess Thom is ‘changing the world one tic at a time’. Jess will talk about Tourettes Syndrome, the often-misunderstood neurological condition that makes her say ‘biscuit’ up to 16,000 times a day.

Through her organisation Touretteshero, Jess has recast her tics as her power not her problem. Expect biscuits, laughter and surreal tics as she discusses how humour can catalyse change.

Ren Aldridge (Petrol Girls) – Touch Me Again And I Will Fucking Kill You

Focussing on the main points of her essay ‘Touch Me Again And I Will Fucking Kill You: Cultural Resistance to Gendered (/ sexual) Violence in the Punk Rock Community’ published recently in Nasty Women, Ren will discuss some of the ways sexual violence operates in the scene and the ways people are fighting back, including the Petrol Girls’ work with TMAAIWFKY.

Rowan Sawday (Dizraeli) – The Unmaster (A Guide to Falling Apart)

Some talking, some lyrics and some actual conversation about having a breakdown while the world has a breakdown; because men don’t talk about this sort of shit enough.

Dr Simon Rushton – Threats to the nomadic way of life

In August 2015 the government brought in a policy that limits the rights of Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers who are too sick or old to travel. This is just one of many little known tactics that have been deployed by the government to make a nomadic lifestyle increasingly impossible. This talk will raise awareness about the current threats to the travelling way of life and how this could affect the travelling community.

There’s also 2 panel discussions from Momentum, the grassroots campaigning network, which evolved out of Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 Labour leadership bid. They will be bringing together experts, campaigners and activists to speak on ‘A peaceful UK foreign policy’ and ‘Welfare for a Creative Society’.

Props have to go out to Jody and my life partner in crime Kate for pulling this incredible selection of people together. If you know anyone heading to Boomtown who might be interested in any of these (or the whole host of other subjects on offer) then make sure you let them now.

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