Oxford Indymedia New IMC Application

NOTE: This form is a draft version. Responses to the questions should be seen as the views of individuals, and not of the Oxford Collective.

I've removed blockquote from the answers as I thought it would be useful to have a difference between people's suggest text (normal paras) and comments (which people can now use blockquote for). Hope this OK.

G thinks that throughout the form we need to make it clear that we have been running a de facto IMC collective for a long time.

Have moved ImcUkOxfordMissionStatement and ImcUkOxfordOutreachPlan stuff to separate pages (O).

Basic info

Proposed IMC Name (required):

Oxford
Proposed Indymedia URL (required):

oxford.indymedia.org

Current URL (if any):

oxford.indymedia.org.uk
Country:

United Kingdom
Contact Name (required):

G willing to do this.
Email (required):

to follow
Technical Contact Name:

AS willing to do this.
Email:

adelayde [at] riseup [dot] net
Supporting Groups to contact:
  • HacktionLab (AS)
  • People & Planet (AS)
  • Oxford SOS (P)
  • Network of Oxford Women for Justice & Peace (P)
  • Oxford CND (P)
  • Save Temple Cowley Pools (P)
  • Thames Valley Climate Action (P)
  • Oxford World Development Movement (P)
  • Oxford Permaculture Group (P)
  • Namste (P)
  • Barracks Lane Community Gardens (P)
  • Hammer & tongue (P)
  • P - emailed all (P) of above on 23/05/11
  • Indymedia Barcelona (to confirm) ...
I've been through the newswire, and my head, and here's a list of other groups that I know of but don't have any contact with. Anybody else willing to contact them? -P

Supporting groups confirmed
  • Oxford Keep our NHS Public (P)
  • Pete & Zoe - independent film makers (P)
  • OARC
  • Oxford Food not Bombs
  • Oxford No Borders
  • Oxford Education Campaign
  • Anarchists in Oxford
  • Breach of the Peace radical samba band
  • New Internationalist: "New Internationalist ( http://www.newint.org ) is happy to support Oxford Indymedia's application to be a global IMC. We are an Oxford-based, worker-owned publishing co-operative who have produced New Internationalist magazine since 1973. We believe that grassroots, independent media have a critical role to play in the struggle for global justice and that going through the global IMC process will help Oxford Indymedia continue its important contribution to that struggle."
  • Lashings of Ginger Beer (P)
  • Seeds for Change (P)
  • Dragonfly Housing Co-op (P)
  • Oxford Feminist Network (P)
  • Oxfordshire Reclaim the Night (P)
  • Thames Valley Solitary Federation (SolFed) (P)
  • Art of Activism (P)

I also propose Bristol Indymedia and London Indymedia as being the most active and least polemical IMCs in the UK (AS) --- I'd rather not ask any other local UK IMCs for support unless global suggest it's really necessary, because it may be construed as taking sides (O). I agree with O with the qualification that if we ask one (or more) UK IMC, we ask all of them (P).

I would suggest asking as many IMCs and IMC-type groups (i.e. let's not get into the topic of whether the group is an official IMC) in the UK to support us. So ...

London, Bristol, Mayday, Northern, Birmingham, Sheffield, Scotland, Wales, Nottingham, (are Cambridge & South Coast still going?). OTHERS?

Let's discuss it at the meeting. (O)

Please write an introductory statement about why you want to participate in the Indymedia Network.

This section will need to be updated given recent UK IMC events - not sure it's worth doing until we're closer to submitting since events are still changing pretty quickly. G thinks it's worth including a statement of neutrality.

Oxford Indymedia has been running since March 2003, as part of the UK IMC. We have always intended to go through new-imc, but recent disputes in the UK IMC network (in which we hope to avoid taking sides), have made it more of a priority to increase our autonomy, whilst also maintaining links with other projects in the UK IMC network.

Oxford, despite it's relatively small population (153,000) compared to other cities in the UK, has a large and vibrant activist scene. These include anarchist groups, migrant solidarity groups, feminist groups, environmental groups, economic justice groups, animal rights groups, anti-military groups, anti-cuts groups, social justice groups, and various art-activism collectives within the city.

These groups are often ignored by the mainstream media or, worse, vilified and misrepresented. As part of these movements we want to counter this by providing local, open publishing, and a sympathetic outlet for their news whilst at the same time acting as a portal to alternative culture and politics in Oxford and the surrounding areas and counties - this is what we intend an independent Oxford IMC to be.

As well as going through the new-imc process, we also intend to increase our autonomy by moving to another CMS. At present, we share a Mir site with several other UK IMC collectives. This creates two issues:
  • None of the technologically minded people in Oxford understand the code base of Mir - so we are not easily able to make our own enhancements to the site (although we are very grateful for the support we have received from other collectives who do have Mir programmers amongst their midst)
  • The nature of Mir means that if a post is hidden by one collective, the post is hidden to all other collectives that use Mir. This makes it harder for the Oxford collective to act autonomously when it wants to either hide or show a post.
As a collective, we have made the decision to move to a new CMS - most likely Drupal - to overcome these issues.

AS: I'd say: We are currently using the legacy Mir CMS system and have a desire to increase the ability for our site to syndicate and include content from the web sites of the local projects that we work with. To this end as a collective we have made the decision to move to a new CMS, most likely Drupal.


The Oxford collective actively supports the Indymedia Principles of Unity and the PGA Hallmarks, and our mission statement explains in more detail what our aims are.

NEED TO GET CONSENSUS ON PGA ?????

-- was agreed when OxIMC was formed, but can re-visit if people want(O)

need to reword our mission statement

What kind of resources can you contribute, in terms of server/bandwidth/technical and organizing skills?

With respect to hardware, we wouldn't currently be able to offer any resources, but we do already have server space for our current site, and have had several offers from with the Indymedia and tech-activist network to host our new CMS, so we do not currently envision making any extra demands on the network either.

In software terms. Our current collective (which we hope to grow) includes several people professionally employed as sys admins and web developers, or who do similar work in their spare time. This includes people with knowledge of perl, php, CSS, javascript, HTML [more?]. At the moment we intend to build a site using either Drupal 6 or 7 - we would expect to learn from and contribute to other IMCs using the same CMS. We are committed to free, libre & open source software (FLOSS). We will use FLOSS for our site, and make any software that we develop available to others under GPL or similar free software licenses.

The technical skills of our collective also include citizen journalism skills such as audio & visual reporting, running grassroots / community radio stations, writing, proof-reading and translation skills, and organising events, such as workshops, hackspaces and skills-sharing days. We would be very happy to share these skills within the IMC network, and already do share these skills in our own communities.

Organisationally, we have been using non-hierarchical decision making in our meetings (and in other groups that we are involved with) for many years. Several of us are experienced consensus facilitators. We would be very happy to share these skills and use them within the IMC network as appropriate.

What kind of outreach have you done to bring together a diverse group of people?

The Oxford collective has been running since 2003. Over this time, a diverse group of people have been involved in the collective. A few years ago the collective shrank, due to members gradually moving out of the area at a time when a decrease in local activism meant they weren't replaced. This resulted in a very small collective who only had the time to keep the website running. About two years ago several new people joined the collective, bringing fresh energy and impetus. Despite still being a fairly small group, our recent outreach has included:
  • Producing promotional materials - leaflets and stickers - that have been distributed to a wide range of local groups and events.
  • Promoting collective meetings in a wider range of outlets
  • Direct contact - by email and face to face - with other activist and community groups in Oxford.
  • Organising workshops as part of local events.
  • Covering local protests at a grassroots media-activist level.
  • Providing reviews of events in Oxford.
  • Working with local groups to help them contribute features, articles, and event announcements.

any more ???

How does the makeup of your collective reflect the diversity of the local community (e.g. in relation to gender-, sexual-, spiritual-, and/or cultural-identity)?

At present the Oxford collective is (visually) largely white and male, although from different socio-economic backgrounds - hence we do not currently reflect the diversity of the local community.

took out: although Oxford is a city that is approximately 75% white british in demographic, so our representation is not as disproportionate as it may at first appear.. because it seems like making excuses to me (O).

We already have several mechanisms to help people from different backgrounds and identities to get involved. These include personal commitments from collective members not to stereotype or discriminate in how we treat people and the language we use, as well as making the welcoming of new members a priority.

However, we aware that these measures alone are not enough to overcome the cultural barriers involved. Please see answer to next question for our plans to engage more people from diverse identities & backgrounds.

If your group currently does not represent the diversity of the local community, particularly in relation to groups who are underrepresented in mainstream society and denied access to vehicles of expression, what steps will be taken to address this on an ongoing basis?

We do not consider diversity to be an end in itself. We do not intend to represent the diversity of the local community. If we were to do so, we would likely be an organisation that reflects the neo-liberal capitalist majority (i.e. the 'mainstream'). Likewise, we do not intend to offer a voice to groups purely because they are under-represented in mainstream society and denied access to vehicles of expression. This is especially true for groups that seek to oppress others.

Rather, we will focus on groups that are oppressed by mainstream society, and therefore do not have a vehicle of expression. So, for example, we will offer a platform for asylum seekers and refugees to express themselves, but we will not off a platform for English Nationalists. Both are under-represented and have limited ways of expressing their views, but only the former experiences oppression whilst the latter might be oppressed, but seeks to oppress others to overcome this..

Pedantically, I can't resist pointing out that nationalism often occurs as a response to oppression, particularly class-based oppression, and in that sense I'm sure many English Nationalists do experience oppression, but I agree wholeheartedly with the gist and can't think of a better wording right now (O).

Valid, up to a point I suspect. Perhaps the issue is how a 'group' plans to resist oppression. Perhaps we need to look at it from different angles as well - something along the lines of "groups that experience oppression, and who's solution to that oppression does not include oppressing others"? I've tried to work this in to the above 2 paragraphs.(P)

We are currently working on an in-depth Outreach Plan, early ideas include:
  • Running skills-based workshops (one of us has experience of using this strategy successfully in Bristol to engage with oppressed groups).
  • Using the monthly film screenings that already happen at Oxford Action Resource Centre as a platform for indymedia outreach.
  • Attending meetings of grassroots organisations within oppressed communities to start dialogues about how we can work together.
  • Encouraging honest feedback from groups not represented in Oxford Indymedia about what the barriers are.

What steps will be taken to involve individuals in workfields new to them? What measures will be taken to overcome a gendered work division?

We see the running of an IMC to involve several workfields including creating feature articles, site moderation, programming, outreach & promotion, and groups engagement & facilitation. Current members of the collective already have skills to do these tasks (but also have room to improve!).

Current and new members of the collective will be actively encouraged to both develop new skills and share the skills they already have. This will be done using a range of methods, including:
  • Running workshops.
  • One-to-one coaching, mentoring, and work shadowing (this can help overcome a gender divide where men may dominate groups, and women be less willing to engage).
  • Writing documentation, and directing people to documentation written by others.
  • Organising film screenings and debating nights (in collaboration with OARC)
  • Organising events.


Additional information

Parking Lot

Stuff that came up during the drafting of this application that doesn't actually need to go in the application, but which we should keep a note of:

Need to sort out redirects to/from old URLs: oxford.indymedia.org.uk & www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/oxford/

P also has these (which he intends to donate to the Oxford collective):
  • oxfordindymedia.org
  • oxfordindymedia.org.uk
  • oxford-indymedia.org
  • oxford-indymedia.org.uk
We also have oximc.org.uk which we may use as a short-form address. (this statement isn't quite correct - oximc.org.uk points to the content on ox4.org - the calendar, rss feeds, and the live page)oximc.org.uk

I think we should also ask for at least 1 email address - suggest oxford at indymedia dot org
Topic revision: r29 - 19 Jun 2011, PenGuin
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