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Occupy Forum

Part 2 Project 2012
Andrew Richards
Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Public political expression is a fundamental element of democratic society. As an activity forming and manipulating civic space, it dates back to the Greek Agora and the Roman Forum. The precise nature of the expression varies with political system and degrees of power, impact and success, but all have the same aim; to portray the ideals, values and opinions of the individual, group, or organisation.

In 2011 the formation of the global protest movement Occupy expanded from its origins in New York to the rest of the world, receiving vast levels of media attention, and engulfing local and global communities simultaneously.

Aiming to eradicate global, social, and economic inequality, lessen the disjunction felt by general population and underclasses (the 99%), and achieve a greater balance in political, social and economic power, Occupy became one of the most influential activist movements of all time.

A statement in its own right, the OccupyForum procures a public heart for political expression and mediation.

Growing across the Thames, close to Blackfriars Station and the original location of OccupyLSX, St Paul’s, the OccupyForum presents an opportunity to elevate the profile of the movement and its ideologies, allowing the public to become a greater part of the movement, and thus reduce this global economic and political alienation felt by so many.

The forum contains four main components: A social place to air views and concerns, aimed to help with and solve issues through informal discussion rather than formal appointment; A place of assembly for protest teams to support preparations for urban political expression or defence; A public debating and performance space to allow for free expression of opinions or thoughts along with social performance and debate; and the public ‘front’, increasing understanding and resource collections. Each component develops and operates individually but simultaneously, aiming to increase both the programmatic features presented by the movement and public requirements, and the forums urban presence and public integration.

Andrew Richards

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