Tate Exchange – The Future of Living

2nd – 3rd November 2019

Tate Exchange, 5th Floor, Tate Modern, 53 Bankside, London SE1 9TG


Explore the future of living and the role socially-engaged artists might play in it.


What is the future of living in times of great uncertainty? As the ecological emergency deepens and with our democracy in crisis, this timely programme of events considers ‘power’ in terms of energy and resources as well as asking: What is our role as citizens and artists to hold power to account? How can we contribute to systemic change, find and employ our own power, and create collaborative solutions? Or in other words, how can we think about the future of making in order to survive and thrive?


Peoples’ Bureau in partnership with 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning are co-organising a two-day event in collaboration with Land in Our Names (LION), Lancashire’s Anti-Fracking Nanas, and artists Alexis Calvas, Helen Brewer, Catherine Long, and Jane Lawson. Over the weekend, we will gather as artists, environmental protesters, land reparation activists, decolonial community organisers and academics to activate the space. We will take a practical, conceptual and theoretical look at re-skilling, sustainable and collaborative practice, material use, ancestral knowledge, and system changes. Through building, crafting, workshopping and conversing together, we will consider what are the materials and skills needed for resilient future of living.


Event Schedule



The campaigning ‘UK Nanas’ came into existence in the summer of 2014 as fracking sites began to appear across the UK. From a first act of ‘taking a field’ and staying for three weeks to alert neighbours of the location for another fracking site, they then went on to deliver public meetings, attend protests, take part in non-violent direct actions and encourage residents to self-empower and join in actions to defend their own communities. Delivering the unwelcome truth about the threat that continued fossil fuel extraction brings – is made more palatable by doing it with tea, cake and warm humanity. The worldwide and UK anti-fracking movement is hugely diverse with strong representation from older people and women. The Nanas continue to evolve as the campaign to protect our natural environment grows more urgent.
12.30 – 14:00: Building Community with the Anti-Fracking Nanas.

Join the Nanas in a workshop exploring how we pull together as communities beyond our differences and make the most of all in the community who together bring a wealth of experience and knowledge.
14:00 – 17:00: Making Protest*

With a 3pm tea and cake session at the ‘Gate Camp’

Join artists and activists in making furniture, banners and bunting for the on-going protest site at Preston New Road. There will be multiple activities to take part in over the course of the day, including:

‘Build a Bench’: Help build a bench to be decorated and assembled from recycled material. The previous (stolen) bench had been donated by locals to the camp and was an iconic piece of furniture used by politicians, activists and visitors to the site. At one point the bench was used to block the entrance to the fracking site and arrested!

‘Knitting, ribboning and bunting’: Bring out your inner ‘Nana’ as we create streams of fabric and colour used to reclaim community and tie messages of solidarity together.

‘Banner-making’: Paint, sew or glue your slogans, and help to visualise the DIY community that continues to fight against fracking and support communities in resistance.

Materials will be provided.

18:30 – 20:30: Dinner with La Bolina Global Eco-village Network in Spain.

A conversation about community-making, hearing about their experience (closed event by invitation only)



Land In Our Names (LION) is a new grassroots, black-led collective that organises around environmental and land justice issues, particularly as they relate to black people in England. We research, campaign, and educate for the development of black-led inclusive farms, gardens, and public green spaces, using a reparative land justice framework. Who are our elders that have farmed the land in this country? The insidious thing about british colonialism is it’s so violently indirect. When this country was an empire the sun never set on…we literally fed this country. Just because it wasn’t directly on this land, doesn’t mean we don’t have a right to this land. This day takes place in the protest structure made by the anti-fracking Nanas the previous day. As well as a programme led by LION, we will hold workshops and events by the London Alternative Photography Collective and artists Catherine Long and Jane Lawson.

12:00 – 13:00: Welcome by LION

12.00 – 17:00: Re-skilling workshop on spinning wool.

Artist Catherine Long will show you the ancient skill of carding and spinning fleece into woollen yarn. This activity enacts sociologist Richard Sennett’s concept in Together: the Ritual and Pleasures of Cooperation (2012) that in our current competitive society we need to re-learn skills in cooperation and how using the model of the workshop and traditional crafting can help us regain the art of being together.

12:30 – 13:30: This is Not a Solution book launch.

By The London Alternative Photography Collective

13:30 – 14:30: Opening of the space by Dee Woods – Ancestral blessing
LION Introduction – Presentation, Q&A

13:30 – 15:00: Detoxifying Your Art Practice
Peer-to-peer mapping session sharing the dirt on the way we currently work with toxic practices and noxious ideas, before collectively problem solving towards sustainable ways of making.

14:00 – 14:30: Film Screening

Two Film screenings followed by discussion- ‘Zaree’a’, ‘Seeds Share – In Memory of Esiah Levy’

14:45 – 15:20: Seed Swap/Seed Bank demonstration and discussion.

Facilitated by Hallie Debebe-Dessalegne (Public are encouraged to bring their seeds if they wish).

15:30 – 16:00: Tea Meditation led by LION

15:30 – 17:00 Radical Mycology workshop with artist and grower Jane Lawson.
An introduction to Radical Mycology, a social movement based on working with mushrooms and other fungi for personal, societal and ecological resilience.


About 198, People’s Bureau, Anti-Fracking Nanas and LION

People’s Bureau is an artist led space (and network) of exchange in skills and needs, It was set up in 2014 and run from a dedicated shopping cart in the Elephant & Castle shopping centre.

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning is a visual arts organisation based in Brixton which boldly pushes the boundaries of creative practice while giving voice to under-represented creative individuals, communities and cultures.

Anti-Fracking Nanas are a group of compassionate individuals from all walks of life, fighting to protect our communities from the harmful effects of fracking.

Land In Our Names (LION) addresses access to land as instrumental to the various oppressions faced by black communities in England. They believe a reparative land justice is fundamental in solving issues around food insecurity, wellbeing, and widespread disconnection from nature.


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