CIVIL SOCIETY : expanding AND constricted ?

DEFINITION : ” Society considered as a community of citizens linked by common interests and collective activity ”


The List below encourages us to read, at leisure, a range of views about CIVIL SOCIETY ….. Government, established Third Sector, commentators, critics, ‘out-of-the-box’ creators, activists.


  • HMG 2018 ‘ Building A Strategy that Works For Everyone’  – SEE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • Initial thoughts on (HMG) Civil Society Strategy – SEE CAF’S COMMENTS
  • ”The Corporate Takeover of Everyday Life” by Peter Bloom and Carl Rhodes –  HERE
  • Insitutute for Public Policy Research – IPPR Report on Economic Justice –  HERE
  • ‘Closing Space for Civil Society’ – by Opendemocracy – HERE
  • Maina Kiai, UN Special Reporter on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association 2011-17 :- noted business given more favourable treatment than voluntary associations.
  • Clickivist – (Collective actions with new tools) challenges existing institutions by eroding the monopoly of large scale coordination. Here comes Everybody – HERE
  • Grenfell United – HERE
  • Ian Hislop – ‘Objecting Objects’ exhibition at British Museum to January 2019 – HERE 



Noam Chomsky – HERE

”Not only is the rabble excluded, they don’t influence policy, but they don’t know what’s in policy. And finally ,they don’t know that they don’t know..Virtually no- body ? That they don’t know what’s going on.  Well, you know, now we’ve reached the ultimate. That the ultimate possibility is the destruction of democracy.”









Ivan Illich – Deschooling Society

  • “School has become the world religion of a modernized proletariat, and makes futile promises of salvation to the poor of the technological age.”
  • “A second major illusion on which the school system rests is that most learning is the result of teaching. Teaching, it is true, may contribute to certain kinds of learning under certain circumstances. But most people acquire most of their knowledge outside school, and in school only insofar as school, in a few rich countries, has become their place of confinement during an increasing part of their lives.”
  • The public is indoctrinated to believe that skills are valuable and reliable only if they are the result of formal schooling.”


Paulo Friere – HERE








Ezio Manzini – 

”People and communities should have the opportunity to design their lives and to do this in collaboration with others”



PROJECT COBRA: community-owned solutions for the marginalised indigenous communities of the Guiana Shield, South America

Project COBRA is an EU project which advocates the position that local communities have the capacity to identify their own “best practices” and share them with others.  SEE HERE

Given the challenges, Project COBRA is demonstrating that it is possible to mobilise significant funding sources for participatory public engagement, and for this to begin to have an impact at national and international policy-making. For more info – visit Projectcobra.org and watch the Video



Watch her TED TALK –


ANTI – FRACKING PROTESTS OCTOBER 2018  – Three men who were imprisoned after blocking access to a fracking site in Lancashire have been released after an appeal, a decision met with joyous relief by campaigners. These anti-fracking activists initially received lengthy prison sentences for “causing a public nuisance” – prompting 1,500 academics to sign a critical open letter in response. Their sentences were quashed as “excessive” by the Court of Appeal on October 17.  But it’s wrong to frame this case as an aberration followed by a simple victory for common sense. In fact, the harsh treatment of these activists fits into a larger pattern through which non-violent protest has been criminalised in the UK.  According to a 2017 government survey, only 16% of the public support fracking – the fracturing of underground rocks, to access oil and gas. Many view it as a high-risk, low-reward practice – and scientific research suggests a link between fracking and earthquakes, as well as risks of water shortages and damage to the countryside. Environmentalists highlight the bigger issues of climate change and the desperate need to adopt alternatives to fossil fuels.

For these reasons, the protesters peacefully blocked a convoy in July 2017 bringing equipment into Preston New Road fracking site in Lancashire. They did this by sitting on top of lorries – READ MORE HERE


Frack Free 4 – In their own words

“This won’t break us, we will come out stronger. Some may view us as victims, but we refuse to be victimised by this. The real victims will be future generations suffering preventable disasters caused by climate change. Our friends and fellow campaigners outside will continue to fight for a ban on fracking and for a just transition to a renewable and democratically owned energy system” – Roscoe, one of the Frack Free Four.We were sent this video by the Frack Free Four support crew who asked us to share it. Today four brave protesters have been sentenced to prison for their part in stopping the fracking industry. They are the first anti-fracking protesters to be jailed in the UK in nearly twenty years.Today's outcome is a disproportionate use of an archaic law and is a blow to our democratic right to protest, but the fight against fracking will continue. More info on how to donate or send messages of support to the four at: www.frackfreefoursupporters.org

Posted by Reclaim The Power on Wednesday, 26 September 2018





Examples of Civil Society community action in an affluent area SE England:-

  • SHH Save Heatherwood Hospital for 25 years.Today, watching & waiting new hospital build.
  • LIGHTHOUSE PEACE EDUCATION PROJECT following invasion of Iraq 2003
  • DOCS Defend Our Community Services, monitoring and attempting to awaken local people to severe austerity cuts / privatisation of local services e.g. Libraries, Sports facilities.
  • WINDSOR HOMELESS PROJECT provides help and shelter for local homeless individuals. Surge in public response after local Council threat to clear streets at wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle – SEE HERE
  • BLACKNEST PARK tree replanting judgement by Court of Appeal . Local campaign against tree destruction and mansion build, by property Developers – SEE HERE
  • ASCENT : Ascot & Sunningdale Community Environment Network 11 year project linking small local groups. Mounted first Community Environment Festival . Key focus – educating about threat of CLIMATE CHANGE


  • TAKE TWO : local writer’s play around the Palestinian Israeli conflict commissioned by ASCENT ..100 audience
  • ASCOT RACE COURSE local campaign to ensure historic access by community to race- course.
  • WILDLIFE IN ASCOT Community Environment Group. Influential in Local development plan , particularly about green corridors enabling animal mobility
  • KINGFISHER FLYWAY WAY Heritage Lottery funded , instigated and effected by W in A . Clearing & replanting small local stream & pond to encourage Kingfishers – SEE HERE
  • INSECT SOS Community research project in response to disturbing decline in Insect populations.Interviewing Managers of local grass & woodlands about their policy and practice as its affects Insect wellbeing.


This month’s GALLERY displays art work from ‘Unlimited’

Unlimited is an arts commissioning programme delivered by Shape and Artsadmin that enables new work by disabled artists to reach UK and international audiences.

Take a look at the work by exceptional disabled artists that Unlimited has commissioned since 2014 – SEE  HERE

From poetry, photography and live performance to painting, music, film and beyond, you can explore projects of all scales that have been shown across the UK and worldwide.