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Sheffield Free School - 8th - 10th October

Chris | 08.10.2010 16:12 | Education | Free Spaces | Sheffield

The Sheffield Free school is now open and running till Sunday night at 7 Smithfield, S3 7AR. Attached is a brief interview about what is happening at this event this weekend.

Feature article:


Come on down – 7 Smithfield, S3 7AR it’s a short walk from the city centre (behind the cathedral, and keep going, it’s 3rd right off Scotland Street, then left.)

A pick of what’s going on …

Free shop all weekend! Bring and share clothes, books, anything …

Hot food!


FRIDAY 8th OCTOBER: Opening Night

4.30pm Urban Scrumping competition

Meet at the free school with a bike to provide food for the weekend and discover for yourself the sources of free food around our city!

8pm Samba

Witness and participate in the frantic joy of a samba band.


10am-6pm Drop-in bicycle counselling

Turn up with your rusting piece of metal with two wheels attached/cherished means of ecologically-sound transport and get advice from people with a bit of mechanical know-how on how to keep your bike on the road.

10am An introduction to non-hierarchical decision-making

Discuss the reasons you might want to pursue consensus-based models of group decision-making, and learn some of the techniques that enable us to do so effectively.

11am Yoga

If your brain needs some lead-in time before intellectual engagement, learn some relaxing ways to take your mind off the doom and gloom of our growth-obsessed economic system.

11am Sharpen your tools

Come and grind some life into old rusty chisels or bring a tool of your own to get sharp – basically, skill up for an oil-free future.

12midday Organising in the modern workplace

Discover and share experiences of forwarding radical politics through our workplaces. Work is becoming increasingly casualised with union membership at an all-time low. Activists share their experiences of both unionising and forming rank-and-file support groups in the service and care work sectors. Discuss ways to resist pay cuts, bad bosses and poor conditions in an increasingly hostile environment.

1pm Film showing: Psywar

This is the UK premiere of a new film by a Canadian director, a deep, richly illustrated history of the nature and history of propaganda. If it you want to understand how we are manipulated into believing the things we do, watch this film.

2pm Environmental craft for kids and adults

A chance for radical children (and grownups) to get messy and creative making things.

2pm A (brief) introduction to permaculture

Permaculture – a design system for creating beautiful edible landscapes; a map showing the route to a sustainable future. Find out what all this means by coming to this workshop.

3pm More yoga

In case you missed it earlier, or just want to decentralise your mind a bit more.

3pm What is a social centre?

Share your views on what an autonomous social centre could be, what purposes it could serve, and why (or whether) it’s something worth putting a lot of energy into making happen.

4.15pm How can we bring about radical change in our society?

Discover the approaches of different groups operating in Sheffield with a broadly common aim of creating more communal, fulfilling and sustainable ways of living, and discuss how we can help support each other by focusing on our shared objectives.

6pm How to light a Vapalux (or similar brand) … paraffin lamps for beginners!

Evening Get-together


10am-6pm Drop-in bicycle counselling

As on Saturday.

11am Non-violent direct action against the coal industry

Taking the example of the rampantly destructive coal industry, find out about the merits of taking non-violent direct action, why it is an effective means of resisting many forms of corporate misbehaviour, and how you can do it yourself.

11am Sharpen your tools

Come and grind some life into old rusty chisels or bring a tool of your own to get sharp – basically, skill up for an oil-free future.

11am Anarcha-feminism – the ins and outs thereof

A conversational workshop on the dovetailing of feminist and anarchist political thought, and the relevance of such a combination in our persistently patriarchal society.

11am Online security for activists

A tutorial on the basics of keeping your online ongoings secret from the prying eyes of the modern ’security’-obsessed state.

1.15pm A lunchtime chat about GM food

Although what we’ll be eating for won’t be genetically modified, some people’s Sunday lunches will consist of food that’s undergone that exact process. “Why’s that so bad?” I hear you wonder. Well, come and join in with this informal discussion to find out.

2pm Collaborative artwork

Recycling found objects and natural materials to create something beautiful.

2pm Environmental craft for kids and adults

As on Saturday.

2pm Open-source bootcamp: Installing Linux on your laptop

Open source programmes are communally-created and free for everyone. Find out how to install them on your computer and enjoy a life beyond Microsoft (or Apple).

2pm Queer theory

A chance to discuss the relevance of queer politics and how it is an intrinsic part of the fight against discrimination.

3pm Community organising: A Sheffield Community Union? – lessons from SeaSol

A group discussion about how we can forward an anti-capitalist, equality-based future by building our local communities. Seattle Solidarity (”SeaSol”) is a volunteer network of working people who believe in standing up for people’s rights. Through direct action tactics it supports strikes and struggles, builds solidarity, and organizes to deal with specific job, housing, and other problems caused by the greed of the rich and powerful. Session to discuss the lessons of SeaSol and the possibility of setting up a similar initiative in Sheffield.

5pm A closing plenary: How can we create and maintain an anti-capitalist social centre in Sheffield?

Together we’ll reflect on a weekend of skill-sharing and idea-exchanging, and try to work out where we go from here…

7pm Film showing: Winstanley

The Diggers were a bunch of 17th century radicals who stridently retook common land from greedy lords and blew a raspberry at authority that has echoed through the ages. This film depicts the life and philosophy one of the most prominent Diggers, Gerard Winstanley, and provides a worthwhile reminder that their are plenty of people around who see the accumulation of money for money’s sake as a useful endeavour.

Evening A bit more fun to unwind

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Some photos from the opening Friday night

14.10.2010 21:56

The photos in the above article were taken before the space was fully cleaned up.

On the first night of the Free School the Sheffield Samba Band came along to get things going.