100 years of tear gas: militarisation, protests and the legacies of war – panel discussion
Birmingham City University, Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 from 4pm-6pm
This panel will bring together academics, activists and experts to discuss the military, policing, legal, commercial and medical aspects of tear gas, both in historic and more contemporary contexts. First used in 1914, tear gas is a legacy of WWI, developed as a chemical weapon for military use, then misleadingly rebranded as a “non-lethal” weapon used to repress social protests around the world.
We will also explore how citizens have developed DIY gas mask instructions and home remedies, circulated transnationally in print and online, allowing for new kinds of ad-hoc “amateur practices” to emerge (i.e citizen journalists, citizen scientists, citizen lawyers).
Moderator: Dr. Dima Saber, Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, Birmingham City University
- Neil Corney – Omega Research Foundation
Neil researches and writes on a wide variety of military, security and police issues, including the testing and trade of ‘less lethal’ weapons, and the human rights and health implications of their use.
- John Horne – University of Birmingham / Tear Gas Research Connection
John is a PhD student researching representations of state violence in contemporary visual culture. He is a member of Bahrain Watch and works with Anna as co-coordinator of the Connecting Tear Gas Research initiative.
- Ala’a Shehabi – Bahrain Watch.
Ala’a is an academic and activist who has been a firsthand witness to the often deadly use of tear gas in Bahrain to repress the pro-democracy movement. With Bahrain Watch she’s also worked to document its misue and campaigned to prevent further exports of tear gas to Bahrain.
The Library of Birmingham, Broad Street, B1 2ND.
11.00 AM – 4:00 PM
The Europe Direct Information Centre Birmingham in partnership with The Library of Birmingham would like to invite you to Europe Day on 5th May 2015.
Europe Day commemorates 9 May 1950, when the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organised Europe, to help maintain peaceful relations between European countries. This proposal, known as the ‘Schuman declaration’, is considered to be the act that created what is now the European Union.
Aimed at citizens and businesses within the Midlands, this event will showcase how best to access support and advice on European matters.
Click the flyer below for more information.
Thursday 30 April, 1pm-2pm, MP203, Millennium Point, City Centre Campus
Science, Technology and the Software Industry in India – History & Progress
With Professor Mathai Joseph, Head, Persistent Computing Institute, Pune, India
Since independence, India has had a long history of governments attempting to guide the development of technology and industry. This originated from a combination of several factors: the colonial heritage which endowed the bureaucracy with powers to control the growth of industry, socialism and centralised planning, and the belief that its leaders were wise enough to know what is best for the country. Computing was subject to the same controls, especially because there was an assumption that the spread of computing would displace jobs, rather than create employment.
Technology has its own imperatives and it is not possible to stop it moving ahead. From the 1960s to the 1990s, India was a trivially small player in computing in global terms. Moreover, governments are not best equipped to decide on the ‘right’ technology for a fast-moving industry like computing or how computers should be used in organizations. Yet successive governments insisted on deciding on the technology to be used, the kind of computers organizations should have and how they should be used. Hitching the acquisition and use of computers to poorly conceived decisions about technological choice can help neither industry nor its users. The major changes in computing technology in the 1980s and the rapidly lowering cost of computing and communication made controls impossible to enforce. The software services industry started to grow from the 1990s and today computing is seen as one of the major successes of the Indian economy.
In this talk, Mathai will cover some of the background in which computing grew in India, highlighting the factors that led to the success of the software services industry and how this happened largely independently of the policies of the government. Today, computing has entered almost every part of life in India, urban and rural, and has helped to create millions of jobs. Yet computer science, like other sciences in India, has not grown and shown the same kind of achievements. The talk will be interspersed with his personal experiences from the 1960s to the present.