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As part of my bursary activity, I spent a lot of my summer weekends in London; visiting libraries and archives, attending meetups and discussions. I found myself in the capital again in early June, on my way to a workshop advertised on the Antiuniversity’s website, titled ‘Woodwork as we want it’ and convened by Jonathan Hoskins.

The Antiuniversity is an experimental learning platform which, in their own words ‘reimagines the 1968 Antiuniversity of London in an ongoing programme of self-organised radical learning and mutual education events. Antiuniversity challenges academic and class hierarchy through an open invitation to teach and learn any subject, in any form, anywhere.’ Chiming with this self-description, the workshop took place at Jonathan’s house on a sunny Sunday, with myself and Sophie Risner, the other participant.

As Jonathan explains in the event text, the session is for ‘people who feel unwanted expectation to behave differently when they pick up hand tools and power tools’. These ‘unwanted expectations’ were something I had tried to unpick myself, and it was a revelation to read it put so distinctly. The session itself was structured in a way that the practical making element was embedded into a discussion. We talked about many things including the hierarchy within workshops, the temporary workspaces of exhibition installs and the dynamics of the workforce in general.

One of the main questions that emerged from our discussion on that day, were centred around generational and class differences of the workforce and how this might affect our ability to create a safe and mutually rewarding workspace. This was a refreshing angle for me as the gender segregation of the workplace has been my starting point. I finally felt like a wider discourse was shaping in my head, thanks to the stimulating conversation I had with Jonathan and Sophie.

Documentation of the event is available on request in the form of co-authored notes by Jonathan Hoskins, Sophie Risner and Effy Harle. Please message me for details.