Free University of Glastonbury

I’ll performing be at the Free University of Glastonbury at 12:15 this coming Sunday lunchtime. Here is the blurb and a link to information about the excellent line-up, location, times etc:

The Free University of Glastonbury, the Festival’s very own literary tent, returns for a second year after making its debut in 2009. Based in HMS Sweet Charity in the Park it throws opens it doors again for a mind expanding series of lunchtime talks featuring some of the UK’s leading writers and free thinkers.

There’s a Facebook group (as you might expect), and I just saw this great new image on there which could be a banner or a bumper sticker or both :-)

There have been other Free Universities of course. The artist Joseph Beuys founded the Free International University from his studio in 1973 (or 1972), while much more recently London’s Resonance 104.4 FM offered a Free University of the Airwaves through the summer of 2008. Many of the specially commissioned programmes that were part of that Free University of the Airwaves are still available as podcasts.

Chris Dorley-Brown’s excellent 2007 project BBC in the East End (reviewed here for Frieze by Michael Bracewell) uncovered some amazing BBC news footage of the Anti-University that was set up at 49 Rivington Street, London in 1968, by Allen Krebs, David Cooper and others. The Anti-University was located directly over the road from a very dingy-looking but instantly recognisable Bricklayers Arms, and the footage includes John Latham and others.

I can’t offer a Youtube link, but the Anti-University news report is available to watch free on the truly amazing BBC in the East End 2-DVD set that is available for free loan at Whitechapel Idea Store, London E1. I can’t stress highly enough that this is absolutely recommended viewing for anyone looking for ultra rare footage of the capital.

I should declare a two-fold interest in that I collaborated with colleagues at the BBC, the Arts Council and the BFI to set up Chris’s residency in the BBC Archives and, secondly, I don’t know if there are any copies left but when this DVD was launched library users who borrowed it got a free-to-keep copy of an illustrated BBC in the East End booklet to which I had contributed a short work of prose. There’s very much more to say about Chris’s project, but I’ll keep it to a plug for the Anti-University footage for now… See you at Glastonbury.

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