In addition to the Edinburgh space, a "Field Indymedia Centre" was set-up to help cover the G8 protests.

Stirling Indymedia

Some of the background experience for this media centre came from that of Barcelona in 2002 during the European Summit and covered this in BcnHOWTOMediaCenter

FIMC (Field Indymedia Centre)

FIMC Stirling from the front Inside the FIMC Stirling media centre

Requirement

At the Hori-zone eco-village outside Stirling an Indymedia centre was needed for activists to be able to send reports, news, images and video to Indymedia and other alternative media sites as well as to stay in touch with their groups and friends. As the Stirling camp was the nearest site to Glen Eagles and as many ativists were camped there, it was especially important to have a good centre of communications on the site during the 6-8 July during the blockades and summit itself. There was to be open Internet access using, where possible, Free /Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) and also (at the behest of Indymedia UK) some "media machines" for those wishing to download and edit photographs and video and who did not have their own machine to do so. A further initial requirement was that it should run (where possible) on renewable energy sources.

Strengths

Location - being in the Hori-zone meant that we got really up to the minute reports comming in.

Tech - we had some really rocking kit

People - some really fucking fantastic people came forward to help manage and maintain the space as a working indymedia centre. Thanks to y'all..

Diversity - the small core team meant that we ended up with a wider team coaleseing around the space. hailing from: Spain, The US, Germany, Austria, Holland, France, Germany, Austrailia, New Zealand Ireland, Notts, Manchester, Bristol, Brighton.. People who had never even considered doing this type of work came forward and rose to the challenge.

Meetings were short and to the point- focussed on role allocation within the FIMC.

Living alternative the vast majority of the hardware used was re-cycled and mostly running opensource. We ran for approx 70% of the time on completely renewable energy sources.

Weaknesses

Small core team - stress placed on a few core people was considerable.

Communication As a result ofthe small team it was difficult to maintain good links with the Edinburgh team, the IRC machine kept getting used by people for webrowsing. The people who had volunteered to do dispatch kept getting drawn into answering enquires.

Hierarchy - The short snappy meetings did not allow for proper consensus to be built, although it was always attempted.

Paranoia Lack of sleep, arbitary detention, Chinooks - bound to happen really

Energy We were initially to run on renewal energy sources (solar and wind) but unfortunately not all of the renewable power outfits were able to attend. We soon realised that with the network and LTSP suite as well as the myriad of other laptops, video cameras, digital cameras and mobile phones plugged in in the media tent, that we would soon exhaust the abilities of the renewable energy provider. We were forced to move to running from a bio-diesel generator which worked for about 48hrs, we then had a problem with the supply of Biodiesel and ran on red diesel. We then had a problem with the supply of this mostly due to the police blockade of the site and after much running of cable and fitting of c-form connectors, eventually ran from a mains supply down by the main gate.

Opportunites

Empowering Lot's of opportunity for people to take responsibility and be empowered by the process.

Trust because of the 'full on' nature of the space it meant that trust had to be quickly built between IMC volunteers, and it was, which was nice..

Threats

Pissheads The marquee we had arranged to use ended up being used as a bar!

Press despite a clear 'no press' policy on site many people wanted to provide the press with positive images and stories from the site, We were asked to help facilitate this by providing a CD of positive camp images- which we did. In the process we risked being seen as a arbiter between 'mainstream' press and the site inhabitants.

Police There was a constant background awareness that the police could enter the site and seize footage or hardware.


Tech Detail

Network diagram of FIMC Stirling 3-9 July 2005, click to englarge
click to enlarge

Satellite connexion and wireless network - courtesy of Psand.net uses a bi-directional parabolic satellite transceiver operating in the Ku band (~12.5GHz) and connecting to the Astra HH satellite, giving connexion speeds of around 1.5Mbps up and 512Kbps down. The dish used was a 90cm version and its location in Scotland meant that signal strength was not that high (due to being nearer to the edge of the satellite's footprint), thus for improved connexion and/or speed a larger (120cm) dish would need to be employed; as it would should one require connexion even further northwards. More information regarding the basic satellite set-up (albeit on a slightly older Ku/Ka band platform) can be found by reading this article.

The satellite unit was connected to a wireless base-station, which we used as a gateway for the network. The base-station we used was a Buffalo G54-WL1 model that offered 802.11b/g compatability.

Open-access computers - An LTSP thin client solution up to 20 terminals connected to a Laptop based server running Debian. On loan from Bristol wireless proved to be reliable and straightforward for people to use. No crahes over the entire 6 days. System uses a high-end AMD based laptop computer with 2GB of RAM and plenty of disc space to power a suite of old, recycled Pentium I class laptops. For more detail, see this article on its use at the Hes Fes 2005.

IRC Terminal One laptop Running Mepis linux was dedicated to run as a Internet Relay Chat terminal to make use of the Indymedia dispatch system.

Photo desk - We used an Apple Power Book G4 (Titanium) with the iPhoto application running under Mac OS X. This was chosen partly due to advice from Indymedia UK and partly due to the machine's ease of use for novices and compatability with "memory stick" devices and digital cameras. We also got hold of Miniie mouses re-sizing script after a couple of days..

Video desk - We used an Apple Mac Mini with OS X and iMovie again for ease-of-use for novices.

Radio - On Friday we ran a short (1/2 hour) stream of a summary report of the week's events in Spanish, Italian and French (as well as a small amount of catalan and English) for non-native-English-speakers. The stream was simply a microphone connected through a reasonable quality compressor to a sound card (Hammerfall) to a laptop running Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 and then streamed to an Icecast 2 server using the Ices2 utility in OGG/Vorbis format.

Gatehouse terminal - For better communications, we provided the cabin at the gate with a laptop running Linux and ran an Internet connexion to them via a wireless network. To reach them we had to run a long Ethernet cable to another marquee using Power-over-Ethernet to a wireless access point mounted in a waterproof box This requred much testing and head scratching and took almost 48hours to complete.

Wireless network - there was a wireless network throughout at least half of the site using 3 base-stations to provide coverage.

Satellite dish for Internet connexion with Stirling in the background wireless box up a tree


Timeline

March - Proposal at bristol gathering

May - Finance apporoved on uk process list

June - Email co-rodination, then phones, various people meet at Glastonbury festival.

July - Panicking

Saturday 2nd July

Planned to leave bristol 12 noon. Satellite van in fact leaves Worthy Farm, Pilton at around 1.30pm and arrives Bristol about 2.30pm. Discover that front brake pads are worn, spent the afternoon first locating replacements in Bristol and then changing brake pads. Pick up about 200kg of museli (which makes a good bed) and leave Bristol around 7pm. One stop around Preston for refuling about 11pm.

Sunday 3rd July

Arrival on site 3.30 AM

11:00 Discover that the Marquee has become a bar

12:00 Begin to evict medics from the very small marquee they were using as a kitchen

3:00 Saviors turn up with 'spare' marquee

5:00 Marquee Up

6:00 Satelite fails to connect

10:00 show screening of labofii and other...

Monday 4th July

11:00- 4:00 Trying to get satellite to connect

12:00 First Stirling IMC meeting

2:00 source biodiesel drum 'seats' and 'tables'

3:00 begin trying to 'snort' Wifi signal as backup

5:00 Finally get connection smile

6:00 Media centre opens

10:00- 1:00 Cinema of

03:00 media centre closes

Tuesday 5th July

10:00 Tuesday Media centre opens

12:00 IMC Meeting

00:00 More cinema, getting more popular

03:00 Media centre closes

Wednesday 6th July

08:00 - 23:59 Media centre open and stays open all day and night.

00:00 More cinema, getting more popular still

Thursday 7th July

00:00 - 23:59 Media centre open all day and night again.

00:00 - More cinema in bigger marquee, around 300 people watch edited and raw footage from about a week of protest activity - about 2 hours of footage in total. Audience extremely pleased with results, lots of cheering, boos, tears and general emotion. Great uplifter after week's events.

Friday 8th July

00:00 - 02:00 Media centre open all day until 2AM.

02:00 - start packing down.

06:00 - cetain members of team stay up "rather too late"

Saturday 9th July

10:00 - get up and continue to pack down

17:00 - leave site and head for the lakes

21:00 - team installed and chilling by banks of Ullswater, Cumbria, phew!

Lessons Learnt

  • People People People

  • Planning

  • Power

  • Media machines and editing and upload of photos and video

  • No-one ever has the right leads for their machine and digital camera

  • The plague of mobile phone chargers decends on available power sockets: like flies to a cowpat?


Venue/Oxfam article on FIMC Stirling

For completeness and cross-reference, I include here a copy of the text from an article written by a member of Bristol Wireless for the Venue-Oxfam 2005 Global Directory. The original appears on page 31 of the document available here.

"A handful of members from Bristol Wireless and Bristol Indymedia joined together to set out on the nine-hour journey from Bristol to the Hori-zone eco-village on the outskirts of Stirling. We arrived at 3.30am in a van packed with all sorts of weird and wonderful equipment. We had come to provide a media centre - a space that independent journalists and video activists could use to edit video, write articles and upload photos of the coverage of the G8 summit protests taking place throughout Scotland.

We used a satellite dish for the internet connection and a suite of 20 recycled 10-year-old laptops donated to the Bristol Wireless project to set up an open-access Internet and media suite for the entire week of actions. We used the \x93free\x94 GNU/Linux operating system, a licence-free system enabling us to \x93regenerate\x94 those \x93useless\x94 old laptops. The suite was operational for five days during the summit and offered people from all over the world a base from which to communicate to the international community an alternative version of events from that broadcast by the mainstream media. Complementing other centres in Edinburgh and Glasgow, \x93Field Indymedia Centre Stirling\x94 was born. Indymedia and other volunteers came from across the globe to help transform a simple tent into a cornerstone of the Indymedia network for coverage of the G8 protests.

Indymedia is a global network of local centres, which allow independent news and social and political comment relevant to the local community to be published by the people of that region. The network also functions globally, collaborating in projects such as the Indymedia Documentation Project and the Indymedia European Newsreal. Local Indymedia groups are run by volunteers and there is constant interaction with other local collectives and pressure groups. Many of the volunteers who help maintain their local Indymedia are often associated with other organisations. It is truly a network of networks within a network, giving a voice to those who are so routinely ignored by the mainstream media. Since 1999, Indymedia has grown enormously, with now over 150 local collectives across all five continents.

The Bristol Wireless project was established in 2002 with the aim of building a local network on which people could exchange information, discuss issues and build projects. It is built on the two tenets of the \x93reuse\x94 of unwanted equipment and the use of Free Software. Free (or Libre) Software has come about in a similar vein to Indymedia, with people all over the world working together to produce suites of free software for computers, enabling them to liberate themselves from dependency on large corporations and the everpresent need to spend more money on upgrades.

To find out what\x92s going on locally and get involved, check out www.bristolwireless.net and www.bristol.indymedia.org"


Selection of reports and images from the IMC

on-line announcement! http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/316488.html

timeline- thurs https://www4.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/317025.html

nantes http://nantes.indymedia.org/article.php3?id_article=6148

greek http://athens.indymedia.org/display.php?articleId=2357&fullscreen

oost Vlaanderen http://ovl.indymedia.org/news/2005/07/6361.php

Radio stream- picked up by paris http://paris.indymedia.org/article.php3?id_article=39137

more radio http://radio.indymedia.org/news/2005/07/5681.php

pervasive helicopters https://www4.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/316727.html

08/07 timeline http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/317481.html

condolonce book http://www3.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/317020.html

nice images of the camp https://www4.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/317441.html

film show at the gate https://www1.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/317390.html

the toliets! https://www4.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/316711.html

report from stirling wed morning http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/317500.html

08/07 'confused coppers' http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/317391.html

g8 video page- some of which came through the FIMC http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/07/315987.html

-- MayleR - 22 Jul 2005 -- MikeHarris - 07 Dec 2005
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
04072005.jpgjpg 04072005.jpg manage 85 K 07 Dec 2005 - 19:25 UnknownUser Satellite dish with Stirling in the distance
1_satellite_imc.jpegjpeg 1_satellite_imc.jpeg manage 22 K 24 Jul 2005 - 18:31 UnknownUser  
imcstirling.figfig imcstirling.fig manage 256 K 26 Jul 2005 - 13:00 UnknownUser  
imcstirling.pngpng imcstirling.png manage 23 K 26 Jul 2005 - 12:59 UnknownUser  
insidefimc.jpgjpg insidefimc.jpg manage 103 K 24 Jul 2005 - 19:02 UnknownUser  
uber.oggogg uber.ogg manage 4 MB 29 Jul 2005 - 14:40 UnknownUser comment
wirelessbox.jpgjpg wirelessbox.jpg manage 78 K 07 Dec 2005 - 19:38 UnknownUser Wireless box mounted in tree for extension of network.
Topic revision: r56 - 19 Jun 2008, MikeHarris
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