Soup Seminars #4 – Building an alternative (continued)

plan c without care victory is not possible

Tie-dye banner made at the Plan C creche for the Anti-Austerity demonstration, June 20th.

The Free University of Sheffield are pleased to announce our 4th soup seminar, hosted by the amazing Union St again!

We’ll be having our fourth ever soup seminar on Thursday, August 6th at 6.30pm. The cooking will start at 4pm for those who want to join in.

In the soup seminars we come together to cook and eat food, and discuss how we can act to change society’s problems. We are creating a community of thinkers and activists to come together and work out constructive solutions to the problems we face today. (All food is vegan).

Last week we discussed the importance of activists providing alternatives for oppressed groups, using Plan C and the Black Panther Party as talking points.

We discussed the alternatives that already exist in Sheffield — such as Timebuilders — and how we might support them or bring students into them. After all, we don’t want to simply replicate what’s already being done in our communities. On the basis of this, we decided that it would be good if we could begin to build a directory of alternative Sheffield services and projects which could bring students into their communities, and could help students in times of need.

A similar project is already being done by Alt Sheff. However, our idea is that this could go towards making the Free University a reality, by including all aspects of University life: housing, transport, education, study space, libraries, entertainment and so on. This way we can begin to build an infrastructure for a free university which is informal, decentralised and brings lots of people in their communities together.

We also discussed how it would be good to host skills workshops, and set up “alerts” for lectures, so members of the public can attend lectures at Sheffield Hallam and the University of Sheffield without paying extortionate tuition fees.

This time around we will be creating a map of these alternative projects, and we will also discuss how we can continue to build on these alternatives. There will also be a short workshop on consensus decision-making. For the “Seeds for Change” briefing on consensus, click here.  You can find a PDF of the full book in our Library.

In the meantime we’ve created a blank Google Doc for people to add the projects they already know are happening, in preparation for mapping them next week. It might be good to organise them under the headings “Housing”, “Entertainment”, “Study Space”, “Education” and so on, so that we can start to see what a real Free University of Sheffield might look like! Click here for the Google Doc.

We also have some articles to read before next time, which will hopefully give some food for thought about building on our alternatives and what we might be building towards! These are:

Kate Aronoff, ‘Have Reports of the Death of Capitalism Been Greatly Exaggerated?‘; and

Jonathan Blitzer, ‘In Spain, Politics via Reddit‘.

As ever, if you want to suggest a reading for the group, just email it to us (freeunisheff[at] and we’ll send it straight back out.

If you want to join the mailing list, just send us an email asking to be added.

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