On the weekend of 13 and 14 April 2019 the conference under the title ‘No Time To Waste’ took place in Athens. The conference was organized by collectives and individuals active in environmental issues in the country and was concerned with the current predicament of waste management in Greece.
The conference organizers explained that this is a particularly critical period for waste management in Greece. The country has one of the lowest recycling rates in EU and its highly dependent on land-filling as a method of municipal waste disposal. At the same time, while the only legal landfill that has been serving for decades the needs of Athens and the wider region of Attica has by far exceeded its capacity, there are currently no other waste infrastructures ready to accommodate the capital’s garbage. By pointing out the imminent threat of a waste crisis, the organizers also noticed the need for societal participation in finding answers to this problem.
The conference aimed at bringing together a variety of people and collectives to discuss possible alternatives practices and processes that would contribute towards a public decentralized model of waste management. Hence, the conference hosted contributions by workers, activists, academics, researchers, and institutional representatives as a way of creating an interdisciplinary dialogue to highlight diverse political practices, collective actions, community struggles, and local initiatives that have emerged around issues of waste. Infra-demos participated with a presentation by Yannis Kallianos which discussed critical interconnections between infrastructure and waste in relation to the Attica waste management paradigm but also within the context of the wider capitalist industrial system.
Over the two days of the conference more than 30 presentations, which composed the conference programme, discussed issues touching upon a variety of thematics. The current situation of waste management in Greece and Attica was discussed and examined in relation to its historical development. Other presentations focused on processes of waste reduction and practices of reuse. Contributions also discussed the role of institutional frameworks at state and local government level within the context of waste management. Another important discussion that took place concerned the emergence of diverse participatory processes and community struggles around waste and wider environmental issues throughout Greece. In addition, during the two-day conference an art exhibition was organized featuring installations and art pieces based on various recycling, upcycling and reuse practices by artists, academics, and students.
The conference is, yet another, important indication of the proliferation of collective struggles, initiatives, and contestation around infrastructures in Greece, and waste infrastructures in particular, in times of crisis.
For infra-demos research on urban waste see:
Dalakoglou, D., & Kallianos, Y. (2018). ‘Eating mountains’ and ‘eating each other’: Disjunctive modernization, infrastructural imaginaries and crisis in Greece. Political Geography, 67, 76-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2018.08.009
One of the results of the Infra-demos’ collaboration with the Solidarity Schools Network has been the development of an interactive platform which will visualize the ecosystem of the solidarity schools. This implies not only a presentation of quantitative and qualitative information about each school, but also other actors and agents which facilitate the solidarity schools’ operation, or, the later mobilize.
The development of the platform (still ongoing) follows a participation action research and co-design methodology. The initial discussion of the proposal for such mapping in the coordinating assemblies of the solidarity schools was followed by a first round of data collection. During these interviews the issue that arose was ‘what is the best way’ to represent the solidarity schools network according to its decentralized logic and principles? The deliberation, comments and suggestions that made informed the platform’s design and layout.
The resulted interactive map shows thus the span of the schools social relations and the reach of their transformative practices. It also provides an initial glimpse into their social infrastructural capacities which transcends a net pedagogical perspective as the network expands in various scales and fields; from the local to the international and from meeting educational needs to nurturing structures and processes of education communities (and education) as ‘expanding commons’ (Stavrides, 2017).
On Saturday 16/03/2019 a ‘draft’ version of the platform was presented for first time (photos) and for deliberation to the teachers, students, parents and volunteers who participated in the assembly of the ‘Mesopotamia’ Solidarity School, in Moschato - Athens. The event initiated a new round of co-design meetings for feedback towards the final formation of the platform.
The public launch of the platform, in both Greek and English, will take place in the first public event that the Solidarity Schools’ Network organize for this year next Friday, 12 April 2019, in Thessaloniki. It forms part of the presentation of the expanded Solidarity Schools’ Network which organizes a round of public events and meetings until the end of the current academic year, starting from two-day events in Thessaloniki on 12 & 13 of April, which will be followed by two more public events, in Corfu and Athens in June.
Stavrides St. (2016) Common Space: The City as Commons. London. Zed Books
infra-demos PI just published a new article on Airbnbization of Europe, Mobility and Property.
Dimitris Dalakoglou, PI of infra-demos and Professor of Anthropology at VU, participates in the big debate on free-spaces in the city of Amsterdam organised by ADM free-space. The current city council coalition agreement was based on the idea that Amsterdam is unique because of its long counterculture tradition. Now that ADM, one of its largest free-spaces is likely to be evicted around Christmas, the city of Amsterdam is at risk of losing a crucial part of its character. What is the future of Amsterdam under the current urban growth pattern?
Tuesday 4-12 at 19:30.
in Parkhuis De Zwijger*
More details available in this link.
infra-demos is presented on Nov 9th in the international workshop on infrastructures and mobility organised by the Catalan Institute of Anthropology and the University of Barcelona in Barcelona.
For more information follow the link
'Eating Mountains' and 'Eating each Other': New article by infra-demos.net in the journal Political Geography
A new article by Dimitris Dalakoglou and Yannis Kallianos of infra-demos team was published in the journal Political Geography. The article titled: 'Eating mountains' and 'eating each other'' and it talks about the relationship between political imaginary and infrastructures in Greece since the 1990s.
The article is available to be downloaded for free for 50 days following this link
Professor Dimitris Dalakoglou, infra-demos' PI, just got published an op-ed in the Dutch daily newspaper het Parool on the commercialization of urban real estate and its impact infrastructures and public interest.
The full article is available here
The Solidarity Schools in Greece were create in the context of the crisis to counter the acute increase of inequalities in education. At the same time, they have been laboratories of self-organised educational structures and practices integrated in the broader solidarity networks as autonomous learning communities. By putting democracy and mutualism at the core of their organizational function and educational practices they renegotiate the ways in which communities of education and knowledge production and sharing liaise with their communities.
This weekend they convene for first time in a two-day meeting in order to “further our democratic way of operating… to deconstruct the teacher-centered way of understanding education and learning and to construct the visionary frame of decentralized, autonomous and non-hierarchical educational communities”, as they state. In that way they aim “to cultivate a cohesive visionary frame for our role, to better describe our goals, to highlight and empower «good» practices on the educational spectrum… to defend education as a common good, to continue to reclaim by creating!
The program of the meeting includes sessions and workshops on solidarity schools as communities of participatory action and democracy, on their relation with the social and solidarity economy and the commons, on social pedagogy and communities of learning, on interculturalism and the education of immigrants and refugees, on gender identity in/and education. It must also be noted that the meeting aspires to connect with analogous experiences from outside Greece. To this aim collectives, educationalists and researchers from Italy, Switzerland, France, UK, Turkey and Germany will also take part in the meetings.
Infra-demos, has been part of the organizing group of the two-day meeting and facilitates the session on the relation between the solidarity schools the solidarity economies and the commons. The session will develop in two axes. Firstly, drawing by the experience of the solidarity schools will attempt to show the different perception that they cultivate for economic relations and transactions, which are based on use value through practices of mutualism and free exchange. The second focus will be on the relationship of the solidarity school with their local communities and the existing municipal framework, in order to work out institutional formats and changes that need to be achieved in order autonomous educational communities to be feasible.
For those interested you can find more in the following address: http://meeting.solidarityschools.gr/en/