The inaugural Rosemary Bechler memorial lecture

The first ever Rosemary Bechler memorial lecture will take place on January 21 at 18:00 CET at the Marylebone Theatre in London.

The lecture will be delivered by Neal Lawson, who will address the following questions:

In all the bleakness of our age where is and what is hope? Not hope as wishful thinking but realistic hope, grounded in ideas and in practice. And if we find it, what do we then do with it? If the human condition is ground down, that condition can do nothing but fight back, finding the cracks and the spaces in which to be as human as possible. Shafts of hope can suddenly go off like fireworks that momentarily and beautifully illuminate the darkness. They show us what might be possible – but all too often they fade just as fast, and leave us back in the dark and without direction. How can a new politics reorientate us, galvanise us and energise us in the search for a good society, which by definition is a society which knows it’s not yet good enough?

After an interval, Activism as Art will be presented, a new lecture presentation created by Gus Mitchell.

The drive of the artistic imagination and the ‘art of the possible’ – also known as politics – are considered opposites. Now that everything about how we think about and practice politics seems to be failing our present and our future, it might be time to reconsider their affinity. Those pressing for true change can find, in the various approaches and viewpoints of artists, a different way of thinking about the ongoing struggle. Mould-breaking political leaders and passionate everyday activists, past and present, have much more of the ‘artistic’ in them than we often realise. Activism as Art will explore what art-making and political action have in common, and how we can reimagine ourselves as actors, in a world in crisis.


Who was Rosemary Bechler?

Rosemary Bechler was an editor for openDemocracy, specifically Can Europe Make It? and founder member of DiEM25. She also edited several books of essays for the British Council and coordinated the partnership network of the Convention on Modern Liberty.

She was a beloved member of DiEM25, uncompromising in her own political values and beliefs, with a talent to lead us in the reflection, reassessment and critical examination of political processes.

Although uncompromising in her own political values and beliefs, she also had a talent to lead others in the reflection, reassessment and critical examination of political processes. Deliberative interaction was her bi-word.

Rosemary held a doctorate in English Literature from Cambridge University, remained passionate about literature and music in particular and was a strong advocate of creative commons. Her considerable intellect was equalled by her activist credentials and she exploited both these qualities to influence, motivate and provide weight to the room – peace and progress towards social justice were her twin drivers.


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