Autonomous Geographies was a two year action research project between 2005 and 2007 run jointly by geographers at the University of Leeds and the University of Leicester, and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The project has now officially ended and has been judged ‘Outstanding’ by the ESRC’s evaluation panel. However, the autonomous geographies project and the projects, relationships and interventions it created carry on in different forms and this website will continue to be updated.
We used the term ‘autonomous geographies’ to define
...those spaces where there is a desire to constitute non-capitalist, collective forms of politics, identity and citizenship, which are created through a combination of resistance and creation, and the questioning and challenging of dominant laws and social norms.
The Project looked at how activists make and remake these types of spaces in their everyday lives by exploring their core ideas, beliefs and visions, how they are translated into action, what kinds of spaces for participation and identity are created and what it means to live in-between the overlapping spaces. We participated in three UK-based Case Studies and are guided by an Advisory Group. By engaging in such research, our aim was to critically explore and support autonomous spaces in the UK and the ideas, struggles and practices that bring them to life, as well as help to introduce them to new audiences.
This website is both a living archive of our project and a resource for those interested in or active in autonomous spaces and movements. By clicking on the various sections on the top right of the page, you will find out more about who we are, how our project works, our in-depth case studies, latest news concerning grassroots movements, and various useful resources and guides.
We really welcome your feedback and suggestions, so please use the Contact Us details to get in touch.
On 28-29 August 2009 in Manchester, activist geographers from around the world will share experiences, insights and methods in relation to defending people’s ‘right to stay put’ and resisting gentrification, displacement and privatisation as part of urban regeneration schemes.
‘Third time lucky’ was Lammas’ motto as they resubmitted their planning application in November 2008. Despite being beleaguered by Byzantine bureaucratic bungling the group remain committed to developing nine eco-smallholdings and a community hub building on their first site in Pembs, Wales and the land purchase is going ahead.
A new book on Low Impact Development has just been published. Edited by Jenny Pickerill and Larch Maxey, with contributions from Simon Fairlie, Tony Wrench, Simon Dale and many more, Low Impact Development: The Future in our Hands explores the radical form of sustainable housing and livelihood in tune with the natural environment and offering innovative solutions for the environmental, social and economic challenges of the 21st century.
Engaging Geography is a seminar series (funded by the Economic and Social Research Council) that aims to explore and respond to key challenges facing geography in 2008 and beyond. Our first seminar will be held on Friday and Saturday January 23rd and 24th, 2009 at the Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK (see www.starandshadow.org.uk ): ‘How did that happen?’ The creation of time and space for public geographies.
University of Leeds, Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre, 6-8pm.
The teach-in will examine the origins of the credit crisis and why it has become so severe; the policies now being pursued nationally and internationally; and the long-term economic and political implications, particularly in relation to financial regulation and global governance.
The Permaculture Association (Britain) is a small education and research charity that supports individuals and groups to learn more about the theory and practice of permaculture. It is currently advertising two vacancies for a Project Coordinator and Finance Clerk at its Leeds office. Closing date: 27 June 2008. More information can be downloaded from its website
A former PhD student and current employee Nottingham University faces deportation to Algeria on 1 June following his unjust arrest under the Terrorism Act 2000 after he printed an Al Qaeda manual as a favour for a research student. Read on and see the Free Hicham Yezza campaign.
A new book has been published bringing together the diverse stories about many of the UK’s social centres, along with thoughts on their effectiveness, the problems they encounter, and the political ideas they encapsulate. What’s this place? has been written by activists involved in social centres with support from the Autonomous Geographies project.
Undercurrents have released the latest episode of their video series ‘Living in the Future’ about Lammas and many other ecovillage type projects around the world. Living in the Future highlights how people have come together to build their own homes, grow their own food, and create lively and sustainable communities.