PLATFORM (London, England)

PLATFORM promotes creative processes of democratic engagement to advance social and ecological justice. The group seeks to harness the power of art, the commitment of campaigning, and the energy of education to unleash citizens’ creative and democratic potential.

Platform’s core principles include:

Individuals not Representatives

Creating unique spaces – communities of interest – where people from different backgrounds and perspectives come together in an atmosphere of trust to discuss complex issues.

Practical and Poetic

Using a variety of strategies from research to performances, from walks to renewable energy systems, from publications to discussion– feasts.

Interdisciplinary Creativity

Developing distinctive projects by consistently combining the skills and experience of people from many different disciplines–economists to artists, psychologists to environmentalists.

Here & Elsewhere

Evolving long-term initiatives that embody a deep commitment to London’s ecology and peoples while at the same time exploring the city’s impacts on the wider world.

PLATFORM has been described as many things—an arts group, a forum for political dialogue, an environmental campaign—but, in essence, it is an idea, a vision of using creativity to transform the society we live in; a belief in every individual’s innate power to contribute to this process. We are a deliberately small group, concerned with long term working and building a depth of relationships to people, issues, and place over time. We take a very long time to work a subject out, and strive to take an extremely long view, disciplining our thinking by imagining and researching both backwards in history, and forwards to the time of our generation’s great-grandchildren and beyond: the communities of the dead and the unborn.
Our working method is grounded in bringing together individuals from different disciplines, who then work collectively, developing an open space for dialogue and ideas. Since its conception in 1983 PLATFORM has combined the creativity of, among many others, economists, visual artists, psychotherapists, community activists and teachers. This method of interdisciplinary creativity encourages participatory audiences from equally diverse backgrounds, ranging from fishermen to commuters, environmental groups to schools.

A shared expression of feeling is the foundation of any change. PLATFORM provokes desire for a democratic and ecological society. We create an imagined reality that is different from the present reality. For example, we have held up the image of a city with its lost rivers returned, or anticipated a very near future where an oil-based global economy is commonly seen as a bad dream, an act of suicidal and ecocidal folly. Seemingly impossible visions, but as people discuss them, write about them, dream them, believe in them, they gradually take shape and pass from the space of imagination and desire into reality. We use art as a catalyst. This art is not primarily about an aesthetic – it is creativity applied to real situations: initiating a 168 hour forum of international dialogue; setting up a support fund for striking hospital workers; creating a 10-week performance in a tent that crossed the city; installing a turbine in a river to generate light for a local school; cooking a fair-trade feast for 70 people coming together to discuss the ethics and problematics of engaging —even critically—with the corporate sector. All these acts we see as art–the process of molding form–all focus on physical and meta-physical change, change both in the tangible space of the material world and the intangible space of people’s hearts and imaginations.
Platform includes Dan Gretton, James Marriot, Jane Trowel, Greg Muttit and Emma Sanger.