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. Looking for modern day Gangs, we met Focus East 15, a group of young women from Stratford who were evicted from their mother and baby unit and displaced across the county. Their playfulness is of the same leaf, but more direct and their fight is an urgent one, fighting forced homelessness, evictions and displacement.
We have created a set of games that serve as on-street ‘interruptions’, inviting the public to engage in problems with our modern day housing issues in a playful way.
We thought it might be useful to list links to campaign and support groups that work within housing today below.
is an R&D supported by Blueprint: Without Walls R&D Investment Fund and
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
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