October 12, 2007
A note from the writers of All-Ages Movement Project
In 2007, 14 youth music, arts and activism organizations participated in peer exchanges. The purpose: to spotlight and share tips and tricks of DIY and grassroots youth music organizations.
Though there are hundreds to choose from, we decided on ten organizations that illustrate the spectrum of the burgeoning network of organizations putting cultural creation and access in the hands of young people. These organizations range from 30-year-old veterans of the field to newcomers putting a powerful new spin on the marriage of youth, art and activism. Most importantly, they are making it and coming up with crafty ways of doing it.
All stories are researched and written by members of organizations similarly using independent music–punk, hip-hop, rock, noise, electronic, and more–as a vehicle for change on the personal, music scene and broader community levels.
Be sure to catch these stories on WireTap in the next three months and many more in an upcoming book on the All-Ages Movement to be published in 2008. For more info, visit AllAgesMovementProject.org
SPOTLIGHT ON 924 GILMAN’S PARTICIPATORY STRUCTURE
You Are Responsible for Your Participation
When you first walk into the little warehouse in front of a canning shop on Gilman Street you might, like me, stand in the middle of the room sort of awkwardly and wait for someone to ask if they can help you.
And you will stand there for a while.
The second time I did this, the back door was propped open and the sun backlit people walking in and moving around me as if I were an inanimate object rather than a curious and semi-lost looking person standing in the middle of the concrete space.
As I wondered whom I should talk to about getting on the agenda for the 924 Gilman membership meeting, some guys in clad shirts screaming band names in scratchy fonts moved nasty couches around and disturbed the mice hanging out underneath. I flinched at the sight of the urban wildlife inside and was rewarded with a couple knowing smirks. Strike one.
People meandered in. A whiteboard was slid out and propped up against some chairs with all-caps agenda items like “BOOKING” and “SECURITY.” We were 12 people: mostly male, mostly wearing all-black clothing. One person was putting trucks on a new skate deck.
Ben, the facilitator, pushed his thick black glasses up the bridge of his nose and pulled a pen out of the front pocket of his plaid button up shirt. “OK, let’s get started. First of all, does anyone have anything they would like to add to the agenda?” There were a few retorts back, and then he says, ” OK, well how about you go first then?” I looked up from my notes to find 11 mostly disinterested sets of eyes focused on me, seemingly sizing me up. I passed around a few copies of my case-study proposal. I knew that every major decision at Gilman is passed through membership.