Satirical street games, installations and interruptions designed to galvanise debate about the housing sector.
In his 1928 book, England and the Octopus, Clough Williams-Ellis frames The Octopus as the encroaching arms of market forced building.
The book inspired Ferguson’s Gang, a group of young women who created a theatrical gang and vowed to ‘destroy the Octopus’. Giving themselves alter ego’s- Red Biddy, Bill Stickers and The Artichoke, they bought properties and significantly raised the profile fo the National Trust. Dubbed “benevolent Gangsters’ they ambushed the National Trust HQ wearing masks and cloaks with silver pineapples full of money.
We, in turn were inspired by Ferguson’s Gang- their passion, their eccentricity and the playfulness of their campaigning.
In the People vs the Octopus, we are reinventing Fergusons Gang within our 21st Century housing crisis. Our gang will be made up of performers, artists and residents of each community we tour to. Each set of games will be site specific, – the pieces being adapted and tailored to the issues in each locality. We want to work with local authorise and residents groups to galvanise conversations about the issues they are living with on a daily basis. Participation is offered on a sliding scale, from interviews and research trips, to workshops, to a full scale creation period in each place.
The R&D for Ferguson’s Gang vs The Octopus is supported by Pervasive Media Studio and Blueprint: Without Walls R&D Investment Fund. Without Walls is the UK’s largest commissioner of outdoor arts shows, taking inspiring new work to audiences all over the country and beyond. For more information on the work of Without Walls, please visit www.withoutwalls.uk.com
We thought it might be useful to list links to campaign and support groups. This is the beginning of a long list of groups working to support housing and conservation rights. Please add in the comments box below.
- http://www.placeshapers.org A national network of more than 100 community based housing associations
- https://focuse15.org Grass roots campaign group based in Newham, East London
- https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk advice people need for the problems they face and improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.
- https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk Campaigning for Nature, Heritage, Land and Landscape
- http://www.shelter.org.uk Housing and Homeless Charity
- https://acorntheunion.org.uk Tenants union & anti-poverty organising group
- https://radicalhousingnetwork.org Network of groups fighting for housing justice, based in London
- http://museumofhomelessness.org a community exploring the art, history and culture of homelessness to make a difference for homeless people today