UK Social Centre Network
The UK Social Centre Network is a grass roots initiative to establish a network between self identified radical independent community social centres in the United Kingdom. There is no single policy statement but a general desire to improve communication and co-operation between the growing number of autonomous spaces "to share resources, ideas and information".
Self selected participants draw a clear distinction between their radical autonomous spaces on one side and the state or large NGO sponsored community centres on the other. While there has been something of a tradition of social spaces in occupied buildings (also known as squatting), recent years have seen an upsurge in the creation of social centres in rented or purchased buildings. The network of social centres in the UK is very much in its infancy compared to some other places in Europe such as Holland, Italy and Spain, although it can trace its roots back to the autonomy clubs of the 1980s such as Centro Iberico, Wapping Autonomy Centre and the still extant 1 in 12 Club in Bradford.
Paul Chatterton and Stuart Hodkinson view social centres as part of the "broader 'autonomous movement,'" playing an "important role in the re-thinking and re-making 'citizenship' by bringing people together in spaces whose very raison d'etre is to question and confront the rampant individualism of everyday life."
|1 in 12 Club||Bradford||21 Albion Street||http://www.1in12.com/|
|56a||London||56a Crampton Street||http://www.56a.org.uk/|
|Autonomous Centre||Edinburgh||17 West Montgomery Place||http://www.autonomous.org.uk/|
|Black Rose||Sheffield||268 Verdon Street||http://sheffieldsocialcentre.org.uk/the-black-rose-centre/|
|Blackcurrent||Northampton||24 St. Michaels Avenue||http://www.blackcurrentcentre.org.uk|
|Bradford Centre for Nonviolence||Bradford||2 Ashgrove||http://www.treehousecafe.org|
|Casa / Initiative Factory||Liverpool||29 Hope Street||http://www.initfactory.gn.apc.org/|
|Cowley Club||Brighton||12 London Road||http://www.cowleyclub.org.uk|
|Freedom Press||London||84b Whitechapel High Street (Angel Alley)||http://www.freedompress.org.uk/|
|Kebele Cultural Project||Bristol||14 Robertson Road||http://www.kebelecoop.org|
|Lancaster Resource Centre||Lancaster||The Basement, 78a Penny St, Lancaster||http://www.eco-action.org/lancaster/|
|London Action Resource Centre||London||62 Fieldgate Street||http://www.londonarc.org/|
|Next To Nowhere||Liverpool||http://www.liverpoolsocialcentre.org|
|Oxford Action Resource Centre||Oxford||Upstairs in the East Oxford Community Centre, Princes St (junction with Cowley Rd), Oxford OX4 1DD||http://theoarc.org.uk/|
|Black Cat Cafe||London||76 Clarence Road||http://blackcatcafe.co.uk/|
|Red and Black Umbrella||Cardiff||Clifton Street||http://redandblackumbrella.squat.net/|
|Star and Shadow||Newcastle upon Tyne||Stepney Bank||http://www.starandshadow.org.uk/|
|Sumac Centre||Nottingham||245 Gladstone Street, Forest Fields||http://www.sumac.org.uk|
|Wharf Chambers||Leeds||23-25 Wharf Street||http://www.wharfchambers.org|
Evicted Social Centres
Examples of long-term squatted and now evicted projects would include the Spike Surplus Scheme and the 491 Gallery. Other past squatted centres in London have included the Bank of Ideas, RampART, Peckham, Our Bohemia, House of Brag, 195 Mare Street (twice), Offmarket, Ratstar and the Really Free School
Elsewhere in the UK, a list of social centres would include the Free Factory in Bristol, Pleb's College in Oxford, Cwtch Community Centre in Swansea, the Peoples Autonomous Destination (PAD) and Gremlin Alley in Cardiff, the George’s X Chalkboard in Glasgow, Matilda in Sheffield, the Mill Road Social Centre in Cambridge, Sabotaj in Brighton, Justice not Crisis and the Birmingham social centre.
There are groups which choose to do temporary squatted events lasting a fixed time. Such groups may exist for years, such as A-Spire (Leeds), Temporary Autonomous Arts (London, Sheffield, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff), Anarchist Teapot (Brighton), Wildcats (Brighton) or the OKasional Cafe (Manchester).
- LARC website on Social Centre Network
- 'Autonomy Centres, Riots and the Big Rammy' in SMILE Magazine issue 12, 1994
- Stories from radical social centres in the UK and Ireland
- Hodkinson, S. and Chatterton, P. (2006). "‘Autonomy in the city? Reflections on the social centres movement in the UK’". City 10 (3): 305–315. doi:10.1080/13604810600982222.
- 'NEWS UPDATE - a longer closure than expected'
- Advisory Service for Squatters
- Autonomous London
- Social Centres Network
- Social Centre Network E-list
- Indymedia UK - Free Spaces section